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Pastor Jim’s Blog: Let My People In

 
 

According to CNN, 31 states have said they do not want to welcome Syrian refugees.  Never mind the fact that they don’t have the power to make that decision; it appears that the statements are politically motivated.  The rhetoric surrounding the possibility of Syrian refugees entering our country has been vitriolic, Listening to it one would think that half of the refugees coming in are supporters of ISIS.  But this is hardly the case.

Sometimes I think that if one shouts the loudest in America today people will think it’s the truth.  We easily mix up what entertains us with what realties are; politicians summarily repeat untruths as if it didn’t matter.  Recently I read that a fact checking organization determined that three candidates for president are lying over 60% of the time – I will let you guess who they are.  And what many politicians, including the governors of 31 states have been doing is shouting a lot – and fear mongering.  The truth is the refugees that would come into America are not those who are streaming into Europe; rather they would come from refugee camps in Jordan where they have been for a couple of years.  They have been thoroughly vetted.  The truth is, the terrorists who attacked Paris spoke in French; even now the danger of terrorism is more likely to come from the Molenbeeck neighborhood in Brussels than from Syrian refugees.  In our country as well, a Planned Parenthood clinic is attacked resulting in three deaths, motivated, it seems, by fear mongering ire about a propaganda film.  Who should we be afraid of?  Yes, there is a chance that a refugee from Syria would instigate an act of terrorism.  But the chance is relatively small in comparison with the rhetoric.  Personally, regarding the safety of people in America I’m still far more concerned about lax gun laws.

I am also concerned about what it communicates to the world when out of misplaced fear we say we don’t want you.  In the meantime, France is welcoming more refugees from Syria – that says we do not see this as a religious or cultural problem but a problem of fundamentalism and extremism.  What do we, not only as Americans but as Christians want to say to the world?  Protecting ourselves is most important?  We don’t trust Muslims?  After 9-11 we had an incredible opportunity to open our arms and hearts to the world – the world was with us, but what did we do?  We invaded Iraq, one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in American history.  Who are we?  What face do we want to show the world?  That we are afraid and are prejudice?  What does the Bible say about how we deal with strangers and even enemies?  I think God would be saying, Let My People In.

Finally, at this time in the same city that was attacked by terrorists, Paris another summit is taking place to deal with climate change.  (When I was home for Thanksgiving looking again at my father’s books I saw one entitled Climate Change printed in 1989.)  The reality is, climate change is much more threatening than Syrian refugees.  Who are we as Christians and what do we want to say to the world?  P.Jim

 

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