Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. On Refugees: a Plea for Compassion

 

Note: This is directed primarily to Christians. I intended to post this as a comment on another post, but it got too long.

Reading Ricochet, I am occasionally reminded that an American-centered and even conservative worldview is not necessarily synonymous with a Christian worldview. In other words, not every position that might be considered “conservative” – or that is based on the mantra of “America First” – is compatible with a truly Christian worldview, which I consider essential to being right.

There is an enormous, unprecedented refugee crisis in the world today, affecting over 60 million people. In Syria alone, over 11 million out of a population of 22 million have been displaced or killed.

And yet, many professing Christians here in America would rather prioritize their own material comfort and safety, putting up literal and metaphorical walls to keep out these people who are fleeing terrorism. They are seen as a threat and a burden.

This should not be so. Instead, this is an opportunity. An opportunity to carry out Christ’s commands to love our neighbors, especially “the least of these,” and as James said, to minister to widows and orphans, which is essential to true religion. (I am a passionate pro-lifer and we conservatives do a great job on compassionately opposing abortion, but we should also consider how the same principles of compassion, the sanctity of life and the value of every human being, also apply to the refugee crisis). An opportunity to witness to lost souls (many of whom were trapped in repressive regimes with little opportunity to hear the Gospel), and to show the love of Christ to rest of the watching world – how the love of Christ transcends borders and cultures, and casts out fear.

The command to “be not afraid” is one of the most repeated instructions in the Bible. It is certainly legitimate to have concerns and to expect the government to practice prudence. But many of the concerns that have been raised (economic, legal, religious, and security-related) are based on misconceptions, and the fears are overstated.

First, the fact is that the U.S. screening process is one of the strongest in the world – thorough and very strenuous. The likelihood of being killed by a terrorist attack from a refugee in the United States has been calculated at 1 in 3.6 billion.

No refugee, of the three million admitted through the resettlement program since the late 1970s, has committed an act of terrorism within our borders.

Of the domestic terrorist attacks inspired by extremist Islam since 2001, 70% of them were committed by U.S. citizens. In the same time period, about as many people were killed by white supremacist terror attacks as by radical Islamist attacks, and more were killed by dog attacks.

And even if the concerns and fears weren’t overstated or based on misconceptions, the command would still apply. “Be not afraid”, not because there is nothing to fear, but because God says, “I am with you.”

Putting America first over being disciples of Christ is great folly for Christians. To me, it’s astonishing and sad to see so many putting their own fears ahead of helping those who are desperately in need. Please, open your hearts and have compassion for the strangers.

In the Chronicles of Narnia, Mr. Beaver was asked if the lion Aslan – the Christ-figure of the stories – is safe. He replied, “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.” What’s true of Christ is also true of the Christian life. Safety is fine, and reasonable actions can be taken for protection; but safety can never be the main concern if we are following Christ.

This thought-provoking blogpost by a friend of mine really hits hard:

If we truly loved, as Christ loved us, we wouldn’t be arguing about whether or not we should let refugees into our nation. People’s lives are at stake, and we could do something about it. Many of these people aren’t walking in relationship with the Father, and we could show them how.

Instead, we are afraid of losing our freedoms or being blown up in our own land. As “disciples of Christ,” we are arguing over statistic numbers while thousands are ending up dead.

Can you really call yourself a follower of Christ and refuse refugees?

There are 101 comments.

  1. Henry Castaigne Member

    If you want to go to Turkey and work for the refugees in a camp go for it. Feel free to raise money on facebook and Ricochet and ask your fellow Christians to join you. But don’t use the government to force others to do it on your behalf.

    If you wish to use the force of the government to compel people to act, shouldn’t it be for the interest of America?

    Matt Y.: Of the domestic terrorist attacks inspired by extremist Islam since 2001, 70% of them were committed by U.S. citizens. In the same time period, about as many people were killed by white supremacist terror attacks as by radical Islamist attacks, and more were killed by dog attacks.

    Assuming that those numbers are true, that still means American Muslims have a huge terrorist problem. American Muslims are a tiny sliver of the population and they can almost compete with white supremacy. The high rates of violence in every Muslim population in Western Europe should make us very wary of letting in people who cannot assimilate into our culture.

    Tino Sanandaji has a very short but thorough critique of the failure of Europeans and recent immigrants to come together in a peaceful and cooperative way.

    • #1
    • February 4, 2017, at 11:44 PM PST
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  2. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    You are aware that the Chronicles of Narnia is a fictional book so I am not sure what authoritative creditability to give it. Then there is the whole separation of Church and State thing so we can’t really rely on the fairy tale of the Bible as an instrument of modern policy. Then there is the fact that many of these people hate Christians and are actively wanting to kill them. The Christian populations in the area they are from have been severely reduced not that our government and media would notice. As for you stats, since Obama has been in office most government stats seem to be skewed or outright lies so I really can’t trust that bit of political fiction.

    Here’s a thought. The EU and Canada have at one time or another said they would take all the Muslim immigrants as they can get. Let’s hold them to their promise and see how that turns out. If you want to save their souls and bring them to Christ you can do it there. Seems like that might work.

    • #2
    • February 5, 2017, at 1:00 AM PST
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  3. Guruforhire Member

    The 2nd and third generation problems greatly strengthen the anti-immigration position as it makes the horizon of problems under consideration longer. I am not persuaded by the argument that immigration brings with it 3 generations of poor assimilation and terrorism, and therefore we cannot do something to block the first generation, because its really the 2nd and third generation that are the problem.

    • #3
    • February 5, 2017, at 2:33 AM PST
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  4. Henry Castaigne Member

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    The 2nd and third generation problems greatly strengthen the anti-immigration position as it makes the horizon of problems under consideration longer. I am not persuaded by the argument that immigration brings with it 3 generations of poor assimilation and terrorism, and therefore we cannot do something to block the first generation, because its really the 2nd and third generation that are the problem.

    The first generation are busy setting up fish and chips shops and making sure their kids learn English. Then the kids go jihadi or get into the drug game. It’s a weird thing but it totally happens.

    • #4
    • February 5, 2017, at 4:01 AM PST
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  5. Dave of Barsham Member

    Matt Y.:Instead, we are afraid of losing our freedoms or being blown up in our own land. As “disciples of Christ,” we are arguing over statistic numbers while thousands are ending up dead.

    Can you really call yourself a follower of Christ and refuse refugees?

    Quite simply? Yes, you can. I don’t disagree with you that as Christ followers we are to not be afraid and to care for widows and orphans. However, we were also told to be gentle as doves and wise as serpents. We argue over the statistics because they tell a story, and when it comes to Islamic extremism there is a problem with violence we just haven’t been able to figure out how to handle.

    In the same time period, about as many people were killed by white supremacist terror attacks as by radical Islamist attacks, and more were killed by dog attacks.

    Arguments like this don’t move me the way they seem to move you. Many of the high profile attacks that have taken place were committed by American citizens who were the 2nd generation from refugees and immigrants from those areas.

    As mentioned above we need to make a distinction between what we do as individual Christ followers, and what we compel our government to do on our behalf. Christ didn’t admonish his followers to insist the Romans take care of widows and orphans. Be not afraid is not meant to mean “put yourself intentionally in danger”.

    • #5
    • February 5, 2017, at 5:03 AM PST
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  6. I Walton Member

    Suggest you listen to Mark Styne’s interview with Dr.Mitchell. The danger is real even if perhaps long term. While what you say is good Christian perspective, it does not require that we impose the costs on others, only on ourselves through charitable contributions, or personal mission work. Taking a political decision where the costs are placed on others and where our share of the cost is diluted by 300 million other souls is not Christian charity. Redemption is personal not collective. Collective redemption is the perspective The Enemy takes if you believe in such things.

    • #6
    • February 5, 2017, at 5:35 AM PST
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  7. Aaron Miller Member

    Invitation of refugees can only be done as a community and not as an individual. So it’s not wrong for a Christian to look to government in this case, though there remain individual options for true charity.

    Charity is the self-sacrificial aspect of love. It cannot be well expressed through systemic management (which treat statistics, rather than unique persons) or majority rule. It is true that great love requires great risks and we are called to embrace that challenge.

    But as a community too we have other options for helping, such as establishing safe zones in Syria and Iraq, as has often been proposed on Ricochet. Why are such proposals unkind?

    Note that many claiming to be refugees are not. When asked by reporters, most say they are seeking economic opportunity. Most are young men.

    The threat is not just terrorism. Islam is incompatible with the US Constitution and Christian cultures. As we welcome refugees from communist dictatorships but only if they themselves do not espouse communism, so it should be with Islam. Prudence is not abandoned in the Bible. Opening one’s home to a passing stranger is different from granting that stranger permanent residence and co-ownership of the home. There is no example of the latter in Biblical history or early Christian tradition.

    That is not fear. That is sensible preservation of the culture which makes charity possible. Try being so charitable in Saudi Arabia.

    • #7
    • February 5, 2017, at 8:24 AM PST
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  8. Jimmy Carter Member

    How many vagrants have You gotten off the streets and are now living with You in Yer Home?

    Remember, “Be not afraid.”

    Matt Y.: Putting America first over being disciples of Christ is great folly for Christians. To me, it’s astonishing and sad to see so many putting their own fears ahead of helping those who are desperately in need. Please, open your hearts and have compassion for the strangers.

    If You don’t have any vagrants living with You, then putting Yer Family and Home first over being a disciple of Christ is great folly as a Christian.

    To Me, it’s astonishing and sad to see You putting Yer Own fears ahead of helping those Who are desperately in need. Please, open Yer heart and have some compassion for the strangers.

    Oh, and don’t forget to leave Yer door unlocked tonight.

    • #8
    • February 5, 2017, at 8:48 AM PST
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  9. Miffed White Male Member

    I’m all in favor of doing something to help the refugees. Doesn’t mean we have to bring them to the US. Let’s set up safe-havens in majority muslim areas of the globe and let them live there safely, protected by American troops if necessary.

    Does that make me a bad Christian living in fear?

    • #9
    • February 5, 2017, at 10:30 AM PST
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  10. Profile Photo Member

    Do you recommend admitting all 11 million to the United States? Or all 60 million?

    If not, we are just arguing about the process.

    • #10
    • February 5, 2017, at 11:17 AM PST
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  11. Matt Y. Member
    Matt Y. Post author

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    I’m all in favor of doing something to help the refugees. Doesn’t mean we have to bring them to the US. Let’s set up safe-havens in majority muslim areas of the globe and let them live there safely, protected by American troops if necessary.

    Does that make me a bad Christian living in fear?

    Sigh…no. I’ll leave whether you are a bad Christian between you and the Lord. When I hear such a rhetorical challenge as in the link I posted, I take it as a challenge to examine and reflect on my heart, my motives and values, etc.

    “Safe havens” in Muslim countries are often not so safe, and may be breeding grounds for terrorists. I suggest looking into the work World Relief has done in re-settling refugees in America, along with many evangelical churches.

    • #11
    • February 5, 2017, at 11:32 AM PST
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  12. Stad Thatcher

    Matt Y.: Can you really call yourself a follower of Christ and refuse refugees?

    Yes. Compassion for others doesn’t mean take actions that are suicidal.

    • #12
    • February 5, 2017, at 11:34 AM PST
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  13. Kozak Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Matt Y.: Can you really call yourself a follower of Christ and refuse refugees?

    Yes. Compassion for others doesn’t mean take actions that are suicidal.

    We can help 10 refugees in the ME for every one we bring here. True compassion would keep them in the region and then be sure they went home when the situation allows.

    • #13
    • February 5, 2017, at 11:45 AM PST
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  14. Kozak Member

    • #14
    • February 5, 2017, at 11:47 AM PST
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  15. Profile Photo Member

    Matt Y. (View Comment):

    “Safe havens” in Muslim countries are often not so safe, and may be breeding grounds for terrorists.

    For that matter, Minneapolis is a breeding ground for terrorists. No need for costly imports when there is enough domestic production.

    • #15
    • February 5, 2017, at 11:51 AM PST
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  16. Matt Y. Member
    Matt Y. Post author

    Arjay (View Comment):
    Do you recommend admitting all 11 million to the United States? Or all 60 million?

    If not, we are just arguing about the process.

    No. How do people get indiscriminate entry from a post that speaks approvingly of the long refugee vetting process? I suggest the original target of 110,000. And I suggest looking at the effect of presidential executive orders on innocent people who were denied or delayed refuge. For example, Matthew Soerens of World Relief says:

    More than 65 percent of our refugee arrival cases are family re-unification cases, so in many of these cancelled cases, our staff have had to break the news to family members here that their relatives who’d had plane tickets purchased are no longer coming—in some cases, at least for a few months, in other cases, such as for Syrians, indefinitely.

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-should-christians-think-about-trumps-refugee-policy

    • #16
    • February 5, 2017, at 11:59 AM PST
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  17. Scott Wilmot Member

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 2241, states the following:

    The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

    Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

    In the document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops stated (81):

    The right and responsibility of nations to control their borders and to maintain the rule of law should be recognized but pursued in a just and humane manner. The detention of immigrants should be used to protect public safety and not for purposes of deterrence or punishment; alternatives to detention, including community-based programs, should be emphasized.

    The rollout of the current immigration ban was sloppy in my opinion, but I don’t see where it violated any of these principles.

    For further reading: Immigration: What Does the Church Teach?

    • #17
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:05 PM PST
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  18. Kozak Member

    Matt Y. (View Comment):

    Arjay (View Comment):
    Do you recommend admitting all 11 million to the United States? Or all 60 million?

    If not, we are just arguing about the process.

    No. How do people get indiscriminate entry from a post that speaks approvingly of the long refugee vetting process? I suggest the original target of 110,000. And I suggest looking at the effect of presidential executive orders on innocent people who were denied or delayed refuge. For example, Matthew Soerens of World Relief says:

    More than 65 percent of our refugee arrival cases are family re-unification cases, so in many of these cancelled cases, our staff have had to break the news to family members here that their relatives who’d had plane tickets purchased are no longer coming—in some cases, at least for a few months, in other cases, such as for Syrians, indefinitely.

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-should-christians-think-about-trumps-refugee-policy

    Wouldn’t want the Tsarniev brothers from seeing their mom now would we?

    • #18
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:12 PM PST
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  19. Profile Photo Member

    Matt Y. (View Comment):

    Arjay (View Comment):
    Do you recommend admitting all 11 million to the United States? Or all 60 million?

    If not, we are just arguing about the process.

    No. How do people get indiscriminate entry from a post that speaks approvingly of the long refugee vetting process? I suggest the original target of 110,000.

    Then why quote the 60 million number? If you’re only solving the situation of a minuscule fraction of the total, moving that tiny number higher or lower cannot make much of a practical difference.

    If you’re going to affect 60 million or even 11 million people it has to happen where they are.

    Unless the major payoff is virtue signaling.

    • #19
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:17 PM PST
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  20. EJHill Podcaster

    Taking this logic to the extreme no Christian should ever lock their doors or carry a firearm for self defense because that is too selfish? If someone demands your home and your fortune it is the Christian thing to just give it to them?

    • #20
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:18 PM PST
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  21. Scott Wilmot Member

    Catholic writer Phil Lawler asks:

    Is a rational, civil debate about immigration still possible?

    Like you, Matt, he challenges us and asks these questions:

    • Does our country have the capacity to absorb more immigrants?
    • Are there reasonable ways to control our own borders, and ensure that—at least in the future—only authorized foreign visitors will be able to enter and stay?
    • Can we admit immigrants without compromising our national security?
    • If some immigrants pose a threat, do we have the ability to screen them out, without barring peaceful visitors?
    • Can we make some demands of foreign nationals who come to live in our country?
    • Could we stipulate that immigrants and resident aliens should not expect to live indefinitely at the taxpayers’ expense?
    • As Christians do we have a moral obligation to provide help for people in desperate need?
    • As a nation do we have a special moral obligation to help people who have been forced to flee their homes in countries where our own foreign policies have contributed to bloodshed and devastation?

    I think it was David French who said on a recent podcast that they way Trump operates politically is that he breaks something first and then goes about fixing it. Perhaps by raising and implementing the issue in the way President Trump has, we can get to the point where we can answer yes to all these questions.

    • #21
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:25 PM PST
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  22. Stad Thatcher

    Speaking of compassion, why aren’t the predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East showing Islamic compassion by taking care of their own? Could it be that mainstream Islam has no problem with flooding Western Civilization countries with the unwashed masses that they don’t want, but whom they know will gnaw at the foundations of our culture as they refuse to assimilate?

    I was appalled to find out one of the co-organizers of the “Woman’s March” (a Linda Sar-something) was a Pro-Replace-The-Constitution-With-Sharia Islamicist. Did the pro-abortion women who marched know that a person that supports wife-beating and female genital mutilation was one of the founders of the march? Probably not.

    Am I an Islamophobe? Well, “phobia” is defined as an irrational fear. However, I do fear Islam, but on a rational basis. In 1978, I had a Muslim roommate for about 6 or 7 weeks (Navy OCS in Newport, Rhode Island). There were times when I was studying (or entertaining a fellow female officer candidate) when he whipped out his prayer rug and started his prayer ritual. I asked, “Do you want me (or us, if my gal was with me) to leave?” His reply was, “No, please stay. I’ll be done soon.” He was a great guy, but I fear he’s dead. You see, he had this picture of his dad on his desk. His father was a bigwig in the Iranian Navy and a huge supporter of the Shah – before the Islamic Revolution. There’s no telling if either of them survived. So sad.

    Now, we get people like this Linda S. chick who wants to make us bow to their religious law. I’m not crazy about homosexuals who want to force their way of life on everyone, but I’ll be damned if I want to see gays in America hung from cranes – as is done in Iran. I don’t want American women who have the courage to confront their rapists in court be stoned to death for adultery because there was not a sufficient number of male witnesses. I don’t want American children being taught that Jewish people are pigs, or monkeys, and that they don’t deserve to live.

    I work with Muslims, and they are decent people. However, now I have to wonder . . . what are their real feelings? I can understand why they don’t become anti-radical militant, because one anti-terror Twitter post could get their entire family killed by a radical who snuck in as a Syrian refugee.

    There’s a quote from a famous general, and I’ll try my best to paraphrase it or capture its meaning:

    “If someone declares war on you, you are at war with them, whether or not you declare it yourself.”

    • #22
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:26 PM PST
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  23. drlorentz Member

    Matt Y.: In other words, not every position that might be considered “conservative” – or that is based on the mantra of “America First” – is compatible with a truly Christian worldview, which I consider essential to being right.

    Is “charity begins at home” a Christian principle?

    But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

    1 Timothy 5:8

    • #23
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:32 PM PST
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  24. Aaron Miller Member

    Texas is accepting a different sort of refugees from states like New York and Illinois — Democrats. They increase taxes and regulations while generally promoting insanity, then decry the high costs of living in the states they wrecked and so they move. They (generally speaking) want to repeat their mistakes here. That’s not fixing the problems. That’s moving the problems.

    Some are escaping the violence, riots, crime, and bully tactics which plague Democrat strongholds like Chicago and Baltimore. Not all Democrats directly support such crime and aggressions, but all foster and empower the extremists by the corrupt values and politics they promote.

    Likewise, how many Syrians detest ISIS yet favor sharia? How many bring the region’s rampant anti-Semitism with them? Are we fixing the problems or moving them?

    It’s one thing to tolerate our fellow Americans with destructive beliefs as we try to persuade them. It’s another to actively welcome more people with destructive beliefs into our community.

    What proportion of yesteryear’s Syrian population should we import? As Mark Steyn pointed out, we currently accept the equivalent of the entire population of Vermont (about 600,000) every two years. Syria had around 17 million people total last year. Is relocating the equivalent of an entire province to America every couple years insignificant because we are a large country?

    Loving a person means caring who that person is. Love doesn’t ignore differences. Beliefs have consequences.

    Help them retake their home.

    • #24
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:34 PM PST
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  25. Matt Y. Member
    Matt Y. Post author

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    Catholic writer Phil Lawler asks:

    Is a rational, civil debate about immigration still possible?

    • Does our country have the capacity to absorb more immigrants?
    • Are there reasonable ways to control our own borders, and ensure that—at least in the future—only authorized foreign visitors will be able to enter and stay?
    • Can we admit immigrants without compromising our national security?
    • If some immigrants pose a threat, do we have the ability to screen them out, without barring peaceful visitors?
    • Can we make some demands of foreign nationals who come to live in our country?
    • Could we stipulate that immigrants and resident aliens should not expect to live indefinitely at the taxpayers’ expense?
    • As Christians do we have a moral obligation to provide help for people in desperate need?
    • As a nation do we have a special moral obligation to help people who have been forced to flee their homes in countries where our own foreign policies have contributed to bloodshed and devastation?

    I think it was David French who said on a recent podcast that they way Trump operates politically is that he breaks something first and then goes about fixing it. Perhaps by raising and implementing the issue in the way President Trump has, we can get to the point where we can answer yes to all these questions.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments and link. My inclination would already be to answer yes to all the questions.

    • #25
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:36 PM PST
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  26. Miffed White Male Member

    Matt Y. (View Comment):

    Do you recommend admitting all 11 million to the United States? Or all 60 million?

    If not, we are just arguing about the process.

    No. How do people get indiscriminate entry from a post that speaks approvingly of the long refugee vetting process? I suggest the original target of 110,000.

    What about the 110,001st refugee? Have you no compassion for him?

    • #26
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:49 PM PST
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  27. Aaron Miller Member

    I appreciate the challenge, Matt, even if I disagree. It’s a complicated ethical conundrum that deserves repeated reflection.

    Basically, I don’t see the solution to worldwide violence and poverty to be moving everyone to the most prosperous countries. We want the whole world to be free and prosperous, not just our own part of it.

    The Syrian conflict is being treated as extraordinary, but it isn’t. Horrors like genocide, tyranny, starvation, and disease have always existed somewhere in the world… at least during my lifetime. Why do only Syrians deserve refugee status? What about people in the Congo or Sudan? What about people in Saudi Arabia, where the government (America’s ally) inflicts most of the horrors ISIS does but without conquering new territories?

    I’m not against accepting refugees. But we can and should be selective, focusing on helping our neighbors — beloved by God as we are — to find peaceful lives in their own homelands.

    • #27
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:52 PM PST
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  28. Western Chauvinist Member

    While I deeply respect this admonition, Matt Y., I think it is first-order thinking. Christians also have a responsibility to their families and their immediate neighbors — to the widows and orphans in front of them.

    It reminds me of our current Pope, who looks around the world with all its depravity, moral relativism, and violence and identifies the two greatest evils to combat as “rigid” traditionalists (see what’s happening to the sovereignty of the Order of Malta and Cardinal Burke) and catastrophic man-made Global Warming (last year’s “hottest year on record” was on the order of 0.04 degrees C warmer — well within the margin of error).

    We are living in an increasingly secular, if not outright hostile-to-Christianity, culture and all we Christians can think to do is import more people hostile to Christianity? Suicide is a sin, too.

    • #28
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:55 PM PST
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  29. Aaron Miller Member

    Matt Y. (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    Catholic writer Phil Lawler asks:

    Is a rational, civil debate about immigration still possible?

    • If some immigrants pose a threat, do we have the ability to screen them out, without barring peaceful visitors?

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments and link. My inclination would already be to answer yes to all the questions.

    The answer to this question is not yes. Half of Syria has been burned to the ground. Records have been destroyed. There are no local governments with which to verify information. So… just assume applicants are telling the truth?

    • #29
    • February 5, 2017, at 12:58 PM PST
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  30. Matt Y. Member
    Matt Y. Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    No, I wouldn’t call you an Islamophobe.

    I would be careful about telling people that they don’t actually believe what they tell you. There are many versions of Islam, some of them violent. So I wouldn’t say silly pablum like “Islam is a religion of peace”, unless perhaps I was President and I thought it would help relations with the Muslim world to see the President say that (debatable). But the vast majority of Muslims are opposed to terrorism, and it would be silly to tell these Muslims that they actually believe in terrorism. It’s not my place to determine what true Islam is – that’s for them to figure out. So, I know there are scary-sounding quotes from the Koran, which makes it silly to dismiss people like ISIS and Al-Qaeda as actually being concerned only with political and economic grievances. But for the rest of Muslims, those quotes don’t concern me. If they interpret those passages to be only for the early centuries of Islam, why would I tell them not to? I don’t interpret the Old Testament civil law as being valid for today, so I consider it silly when any secularist points to theonomists (who do think it is) and argues that Christians are all like them.

    • #30
    • February 5, 2017, at 1:02 PM PST
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