There is a place in Hell for me...the THRONE.
I got this today in my email box. What are your thoughts? Well, what are they if we can have an adult discussion without resorting to name calling...
Refugees And Responsibility: Christian Compassion in an Age of War
by Matthew Jacobson
Refugees And Responsibility: Christian Compassion in an Age of War
by Matthew Jacobson
The Syrian Refugees, what's to be done with them? Should we let them in or should we keep them out?
Nothing raises the temperature in the room as when the hard-edged realist meets the sanctimonious piety of the liberal Christian who shows up with her smiley-face emoticon and a "Jesus Loves You!" bumper sticker.
The first person justifies his lack of compassion by saying he's just trying to bring order to this mad world as the second looks down with a moral squint from the high ground she has convinced herself she, Jesus, and a few other good people occupy.
Such is the current discussion among believers sparked by the Syrian Refugee crisis. KEEP THEM OUT! . . . We MUST LET THEM IN. IT'S WHAT JESUS WOULD DO!
The default position of every true believer is already delineated in the Bible. It's not complicated. It's not unclear. There is simply no place for a lack of compassion in the life of a believer; witness the story of The Rich Man and Lazarus or the declaration of James 1:7, regarding orphans and widows. 'Compassionate' is the heart condition of a true believer who walks in the Spirit.
So, compassion or the lack thereof, isn't really the issue. If you have no compassion, well, good luck in the latter day, explaining the logic of your position to God. At least you'll have time on your hands and Lazarus close by to listen to your well-honed arguments.
Applying the compassion every true believer has is where the real crux of the discussion about these - or any - refugees lay. But striving for a truly biblical position is different than the moral sniff of so many Christians who savage logic and biblical truth in the name of loving people.
Breathe one hint of evaluation of who among the refugees should be let in or excluded from admission to the U.S. and like the Victorian schoolmarm with her whalebone corset pulled two notches too tight, scurrying to the desk of the disruptive student, Christians suddenly appear, reprimanding, with expressions of disbelief that anyone - anyone - could possibly be so (cold, callous, uninformed, unchristian, bigoted, racist, xenophobic . . . pick a favorite).
I'm just ashamed of you! How could you? Where's the love?
You see, you're just supposed to love, which means, see it my way, let these people in without another word of discussion or you are a judgmental, unkind, unchristian, unloving, mean (pick another one) person.
And, really, who can argue with love like that?
This brand of Christian compassion may make that whalebone corset feel less uncomfortable but it has nothing, whatever, to do with what the Bible teaches or with an understanding of biblical principles.
Whenever a discussion begins, every Christian has one starting place. Christians who desire to influence others to their position or who challenge the ideas of others can only do so, legitimately, if they align their argument with what the Bible teaches. Granted, people can see things the Bible teaches differently, but that's where reason and mature discourse come in.
In His Word, God says, Come, let us reason together, Isaiah 1:18. That's interesting, isn't it - God, inviting us to a logical discussion?
Reason - biblical reason - is what is needed in the acrimonious debate over the placement of the Refugees. To reason, to consider facts, to assess risk, to guard yourself, your children and your neighbor against terrorists, does not reveal a lack of compassion. It's Biblical.
But first, we need to light a straw man on fire and burn him to ashes. The very idea that refugees shouldn't be welcomed into this country, period, is a straw man used to "prove" a lack of compassion on one side and genuine love and concern on the other.
No doubt there are people, somewhere who believe no refugees should be admitted to the U.S., ever - that they should shift for themselves as best they can. This position is manifestly unbiblical. We are our brother's keeper and are called on to meet the needs of the destitute. Jesus' account in Matthew 25 removes any grey from the topic. So, get the matches. This straw man is going up in flames.
And yet, the same ardent tone leveled against the Straw Man is used against those who argue for the vetting of refugees. They are accused, right along with the straw man, of being racists, bigots, fear-driven etc., etc.
A moral squint does not an argument make - at least an argument that will hold up to logical . . . and biblical scrutiny. Those against vetting the refugees (making as definitive assessment of their intentions as possible) have lost their capacity to think biblically, and are being driven by their emotions.
When truth dominates love, judgment follows but when love dominates truth, chaos follows.
Vetting people we do not know prior to making them our neighbors is neither unkind, unloving, or any of the epithets hurled against those who advocate the process. Vetting unknown people is logical, reasonable, responsible, and a very loving thing to do for the neighbor you already have. But, it's more than that. Vetting is a biblical practice. In fact, the Bible teaches you should vet people for a variety of things.
Many different kinds of vetting were commonly practiced in both the Old and New Testaments. Check out Joshua 9 where vetting foreigners miscarried and two men, posing as refugees on the brink of destitution, deceived the border guards and tricked Joshua into a treaty with their enemies.
In the Church of the 1st Century, the commitment to care for the destitute was unquestioned, but showing up and declaring oneself a widow or looking needy was not enough for admittance to the Church's welfare program. First, you were vetted. What were the criteria?
The woman must be over 60 years of age
She must have no children (It is the family's responsibility to care for family members)
She must have led a life of caring for others
By today's bleeding-heart standards, this is tantamount to waterboarding. But, no, these are the standards set down for the love and care of those who were widows, indeed. For the rest of the women who sought admission to the Church's welfare program: Sorry. We vetted you, and you don't qualify for admission.
So for all those who decry the vetting of refugees, please tone down your moral outrage and recognize, your unqualified compassion isn't Christian or biblical, regardless of the endorphin rush it gives you.
Without question, there are people who need help. And, for those who, after being vetted, are found to be truly destitute, Christian compassion dictates the response.
With the mass migration out of the Middle East, it is an exercise worthy of the most committed ostrich to suggest as fear mongering the concern over terrorists being among them. If terrorists are smart enough to bring down the World Trade Center, surely they're smart enough to realize the Syrian Refugee Crisis is a golden opportunity to slip unnoticed into enemy territory.
Happily, we don't have to wonder how smart terrorists are. Along with those who truly need help are also those who pose as those who need help, like this guy: Tunisian terrorist 'returns to Europe posing as asylum-seeker'
And . . .
The Syrians arrested yesterday in Honduras, heading to the U.S. on stolen Greek passports who, when asked what they were doing traveling north through Central America responded, in fairly good English, "Refugees". Interpol tracked these strong, able-bodied men from Syria, through Lebanon, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Honduras, where they were arrested, preventing the rest of the trip: Guatemala, Mexico, and through the porous U.S. border (smart guys!). Turns out, they're far from refugees but they don't have terrorist ties, apparently. Now, if the guys who just want to sneak into the U.S. on stolen passports can figure out that posing as Syrian refugees is helpful to your goals, do you still wonder if the terrorists are smart enough to figure it out?
Stop wondering and read about . . .
The eight terrorists arrested in Turkey, posing as refugees.
And this is the material point, it's beyond foolish to tell yourself that mass migration of the scope seen throughout Europe, from a terrorist riddled region, would not include terrorists using refugee status for cover.
Vetting these people is the only Christian, Biblical, circumspect course of action. What's more, it is the compassionate thing to do - the only way Truth and Love can remain in proper balance to each other . . . under the circumstances . . . based on the facts.
Come, let us reason together.