All over social media people are taking sides. Friends and family are lining up on opposite sides of the fence. Some are preaching love. Others are speaking in fear. Some have melting hearts. Others have thrown down the gauntlet. Some have compassion. Others are showing none.
It’s a tough subject. The borders? Open or close them. Governor Abbott from Texas and Governor Bentley both, within one day of each other made the statement that no refugees were welcome in their state. These decisions have caused fist bumps from some and outrage from others.
My friend (I’ve met her, partied at her house, gave her a bottle of Coppola Claret wine and hugged her so I’m going with “friend”) Jen Hatmaker is taking a beating on her Facebook page. She posted this:
Embarrassed and ashamed at Governor Greg Abbott’s response to Syrian refugees written to President Obama: “As governor of Texas, I write to inform you that the State of Texas will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Paris.”
This position is supported by fear-mongering that doesn’t just fly in the face of Christianity but of basic humanity. How dare he speak for our state like this. And as cited in The Economist:
“Refugee resettlement is the least likely route for potential terrorists, says Kathleen Newland at the Migration Policy Institute, a think-tank. Of the 745,000 refugees resettled since September 11th, only two Iraqis in Kentucky have been arrested on terrorist charges, for aiding al-Qaeda in Iraq.”
Fortunately, state governors cannot refuse to accept refugees by virtue of our own Constitution, but the message Abbott (and 22 other governors) delivered is clear: You are unwanted and your lives do not matter to us.
My friend Rachel Held Evans put it well:
“Turning them away not only violates the U.S. constitution and international laws concerning refugees, it also runs totally contrary to the posture toward strangers & immigrants advocated throughout Scripture and in the teachings of Jesus.
– “You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” — Deuteronomy 10:19
– “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
– “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27
– “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” – Matthew 25:41-45
The greatest act of defiance against terrorism is to refuse to be afraid, to refuse to be so ruled by our fear that we compromise our most important values. The brother of Jesus wrote that “there is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.” Regardless of the geopolitical fallout, my prayer is that in the wake of these attacks Christians will be people of love, not fear.
And I would hope that these politicians who like to claim that this is a “Christian nation” based on “biblical values” would refrain from using such language until they are more willing to critically examine their own selectivity.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.”
There were almost 3500 comments and many of them….too many were negative.
“I see you bought the kool-aid.”
“It’s sad that you have a platform and yet are so ignorant.”
“You’re just a mouthy lib that spouts s*** but doesn’t want to back your s***.”
“You’re smarter than this, Jen.”
This is only a very, very small sampling.
Yesterday on another article (wish I had saved it so I could reference it), I saw the expression “Goat humping terrorist” so many times.
Here’s the deal, friends. No matter your stance on the topic, WHY DOES IT HAVE TO GET SO UGLY?? Why are we calling one another names? Telling one or another that they aren’t “christian enough”? It just drives me absolutely insane that we can’t be kind to one another even though we disagree.
For the record, I agree with Jen Hatmaker and Rachel Held Evans and those who hold their viewpoints. There is a risk to everything. The terrorists want us to think that there is no safe place and perhaps there isn’t. But God…my God is well aware of all of this. I have to put my trust in Him. I refuse to live my life in fear. And if there are people who are hungry, I will feed them. I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know where we would put the refugees. I don’t think we have the means to care for them, really. But, I do know that there was a time when my King was turned away. He was born in a manger in a dusty stable. The King of Kings was a refugee who was treated with disdain. Who are WE to treat anyone with anything other than love? And that includes one another as we differ on this topic. Jesus, oh Jesus….help us to be more like you!
(photo borrowed from smoothnyc.wordpress.com)
(blog updated Tuesday, November 17, 2015 5:20pm to reflect some thoughts that I was questioned about.)