This is one of the most heavily debated topics in US politics at the moment. As the crisis worsens in the Middle East and more and more people try and flee the region, nations are faced with the question of whether or not to allow them in. Not only is this dividing politicians but it’s also dividing society.
There seems to be a pretty clear division in terms of party opinion. The House of Representatives, dominated by Republicans, voted a measure to limit Syrian refugees into the states. Governors have voiced their opinions as well. Thirty one state governors have openly objected the idea of allowing refugees into their states, all but one is Republican.
The main arguments for closing our borders to refugees is safety. Many believe that letting refugees in could open the door to terrorists slipping through our borders. Even some involved in the information gathering business for our government (names to remain anonymous) believe that it would too difficult to monitor those coming in who cannot be traced and have no records.
While this is a valid concern, I cannot get over the fact that these people need help. I have talked with some who think that most of the refugees are Muslim men who share extremist views and pose a threat to our nation. If that were the case I would have a heightened level of concern myself. The problem is that most of the people affected by this displacement are women and children. Take a look at the data below:
#1-The problem is getting worse as people in our nation debate:
#2-Women and Children are by far the largest population hurt by the conflicts in Syria:
The arguments against allowing the refugees into our nation sound all too familiar. They are far too similar to what our media was voicing in the 1930’s over the issue of allowing the flood of European Jews into the US due to persecution by the Nazi and Fascist regimes. The main concerns were that the Jews posed a safety risk to our nation and that we had no way to support the large numbers of refugees. Sound like anything you’ve heard on the news lately? I’m convinced that the root concern then, as is the root concern now, is prejudice. However, Jews have never been a threat to the world, quite the opposite actually. Islamic Extremism is perhaps the greatest threat our world has faced ever since Muhammad began his bloody campaigns well over a thousand years ago.
James 1:27 states, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
As a follower of Christ I find myself at a crossroads. On one hand I have no doubt that allowing anyone into the United States who could promote Islamic Extremism poses a major threat to our country and i’m sure some ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ WOULD find their way in. On the other hand I feel it is our responsibility to look after the millions of women and children (and yes the men too) who are in distress. Actually I don’t even think distress is a sufficient word to use. In addition Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:44 to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
There’s no doubt that this is a hard topic but as a follower of Christ I cannot deny His call on our lives. The call of compassion, love, action, mercy, service, etc…We are also called to be wise and discerning so it’s not as clear cut as it may seem. However, millions need a home, a bed, food, clothing…hope. Who better to offer that than those who proclaim the God of hope? The God who is our refuge and strength.
No matter which side of the debate you are on, please join with me in praying for these millions who’s lives have been shattered. And if you can, do your part to extend a loving hand and speak hope.