I had an online “conversation” recently about Syrian refugees coming to the United States. I was lectured to by presumed liberals repeating the Obama “that’s not who we are” mantra when I promoted caution over altruism.
Their argument is understandable – to a point. Being a nation of immigrants, America is a nation that celebrates diverse roots and transplanted citizenry. So why not let in more, especially those seeking asylum from danger?
While true we once embraced immigrants, the circumstances of our previous open-arms attitude and that of today are very different. Whereas peoples from other countries were once needed to build our intellectual and physical workforce, that is no longer the case. It is true that there are menial labor jobs that Americans are too proud (spoiled) to take, but wholesale open borders is not the best, most efficient way to fill that labor pool. Nor is our intellectual capital dependent on foreign minds, particularly in an age of global communications and information sharing.
As for those coming here from Syria, the times and their origin create an inarguable security threat. And, yes, it is because they are predominately Muslim.
The folks when whom I discussed this online used the “what would Jesus do” line of argument to either shame me or because they were too lazy to have an original idea to justify absorbing thousands of people from a culture that wants the demise of the United States.
How can Christians turn away those who are poor, in need and seeking shelter, they asked?
(I thought it almost amusing that liberals are finally paying attention to Christian values and can only hope they will one day apply them to other of their ideas – like abortion.)
Acknowledging the verity of their point, I asked how many in the discussion would pick up a hitch hiker with their children in the car.
How many will bring a homeless person to live in a spare bedroom or even a tent in their backyard?
How many are willing to wait outside a prison to welcome and house a newly released felon?
How many will take in one of the twenty-something male Syrian refugees?
Critically, there are other questions for this particular group of travelers.
Who is paying from them to come here? The distance between Syria and Texas is 11,430 miles. Who is paying their airfare and why?
Probably 80+ percent of the world’s Muslim population is within 6,000 miles from Syria. Why aren’t these “refugees” going to countries with languages and cultures more like their own? Remember, Western culture harbors infidels and practices behaviors that are the antithesis of the teachings of the Koran. So why come here?
Although some countries in the region have taken in Syrian refugees – Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt – others, the wealthiest, have not. Not Qatar, not the UAE, not Kuwait, not Dubai and not Saudi Arabia. Why?
In Mina, Saudi Arabia maintains the world’s largest tent city. Used as a stopover for pilgrims to the annual Hajj in Mecca, the 100,000 tents could reportedly accommodate hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of refugees. But Saudi Arabia will only allow Syrians to immigrate under work or student visas, not as refugees. Mina is but 2,200 miles from Syria, about the distance between New York City and Salt Lake City.
To those who insist Americans follow Jesus’ teachings, I suggest they direct to Muslim countries the some words from the Koran:
“None of you has faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Holy Prophet in Bukhari.)
“Righteous is he who . . . gives away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask and to set slaves free.” (2:177)
“(The true believers are those) in whose wealth there is a known right for the beggar and the destitute.” (70:24-25)
“They (the true believers) give food, out of love for Allah, to the poor, the orphan and the slave, saying: We feed you only for Allah’s pleasure – we desire from you neither reward nor thanks.” (76:8-9)
Jesus’ admonition to us is to love everyone; to turn the other cheek and to forgive those who harbor hatred against us. But I don’t recall Jesus instructing us to invite hatred or to encourage violence. Christians are dying at the hands, swords and guns of some of the same people who are trying to come to America to observe their “religion of peace” and they are dying because they practice Christianity.
We, Americans, feel compassion for those who suffer. We have come to their aid countless times, sacrificing material resources and the lives of our sons and daughters. We have ended world wars and continental conflicts. We have healed and fed and taught and prayed for and with the people of planet Earth as no country or peoples ever have.
Now, as we face peril within our borders, as some of us advise caution to protect our own children, liberals are calling us racists, xenophobes and heartless.
Forgive them. They know not what they say.