Thursday, November 19, 2015

Refugees and our debates

There is a troubling debate growing in the United States about admitting 10, 000 refugees from Syria. All of the concerns that have plagued our country throughout its history are surfacing. But the biggest concern has to do with terrorism. Perhaps there will be terrorist hiding among the refugees. There are the kinds of stories that some Facebook patrons link to; Sweden is in chaos because of the refugees and according to some reports all of them are young men; no families, no women and children. Even the burning down of some migrant centers in Sweden by rightwing extremist is seen as the fault of the refugees. But of course there is, rightly, concern about terrorism.

Today I asked a pastor I greatly respect about his views on the refugees. The pastor works in several risky areas of the world. His answer was, perhaps, the only right answer. He was conflicted. As an American, he said, he was concerned about security, he would have our borders closed for the sake of the American people. But as a Christian he didn’t see how we could turn away needy people who were fleeing war, persecution and terror. He added that one of the problems was that Christians were not given any priority although they are badly persecuted.

I have read several good articles on the situation and posted them on Facebook. I will link to them here: an article by student, Kliton Silvey, “Something Christian Millennials “Don’t get,”” Silvey ends her article with this:

“Maybe I’m just wound up. I suppose it’s possible to be too wound up or emotionally stirred at something like this. But if you want to curb my youthful enthusiasm, here’s all you need to do:

Open up a Bible and make a convincing argument that Jesus wants us all to be safe more than he wants us to reach the lost and help the hurting. I was taught, after all, that Jesus trumps all — even those teaching me that Jesus trumps all. Am I supposed to believe that or not?

It’s not like I’m declaring all of us must quit our jobs and go. But not only will we not go, we don’t even want them to come to us? I am genuinely confused. Somebody help me out here.”

One is by Dave Bier writing for the Niskenen Center a libertarian  organization, and while I am not a libertarian I believe this article answers a lot of questions. “Six Reasons to Welcome Syrian Refugees After Paris,”

One is by Presbyterian teaching elder and artist, John Stuart, “ Christian devotion: Rescuing Refugees - Exodus 22:21” and there is even a small article about Condoleezza Rice’s views, “Condoleezza Rice: I Get The Security Concerns, But The US Should Accept Refugees.”

And finally, dispelling many myths is one at a conservative news site, Bearingdrift. The article is “Myths vs. Facts in the Syrian Refugee issue.” (Hat tip Phil Moran)

About the need to make Christians as well as Yazidis a priority because of genocide, a friend shared this link, “For Christians and Yazidis Fleeing Genocide, the Obama Administration Has No Room at the Inn.” I hope a lot more information on this problem gets published. Matthew 25 has a lot to say about standing with brothers and sisters when they are suffering. We do it for and to Jesus!

Please watch the video below; it is filled with good reasons why, as Christians, we must care for the refugees. (Hat tip Dave Moody.)

Introduction to the Refugee Highway - 2014 from IAFR on Vimeo.


Andy Vloedman said...

Viola I just finished reading your post and all of the articles you linked. Thank you for your voice and the service you provide. Grace and Peace Andy

Viola Larson said...

Thanks Andy.

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Jodie said...

Wow Viola, we are two for two. I completely agree.

Our Lord was once a child refugee, fleeing for his life with his Mom and Dad into Egypt.

In the 30s, America turned her back on tens of thousands of European Jews and most of them ended up in gas chambers. Now there are hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, running for their lives from these new monsters, and there are governors all across the US closing their borders to these families, for fear that hidden among them there might be some crazed terrorist wanting to mow down movie goers, or children in a school, with automatic weapons.

Ironic, isn’t it?

And it appears that at least some of them are doing so only to oppose Obama. Literally playing political football with the decapitated heads of innocent children. What is wrong with us?

Makes me sick to my stomach.

My own church is seeking to sponsor a family. I am very happy about that.

Jodie Gallo
Los Angeles, CA

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