Kevin’s Conversations: Religious Conviction and the Refugees

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21 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Everyone has a worldview. Our worldview influences our vote, whether we’re conscious of it or not, whether we’re public about it or not. We do not usually vote contrary to our worldview.

    Christians should have a worldview. However, our Christian worldview is imperfect at best (because of sin) and non-existent at worst for nominal Christians.

    If you believe that (1) life begins at conception and (2) the embryo deserves legal protection, then there is a very clear commandment against murder. So, in the case of abortion, you can find a variety of Christian groups (who otherwise do not agree on much else) coalesce and even cooperate in a pro-life movement.

    However, the contemporary issues of immigration and refugees as they pertain to government policy are not clearly laid out in the Scriptures. The best you could do is draw some potential inferences. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Christians disagree on immigration and refugee policy in whole or in part. For one thing, there are a variety of potential humane solutions or at least treatments of the problem that aren’t even being discussed right now. I am not in favor of drawing on the name of the Lord on issues on which He has not clearly spoken.

  2. Siggy the Terrible says:

    One thought that comes to mind, I don’t know where to stand on this btw, is that Jews and subsequently Jews and Christians for the better part of history have always been the refugees. Jesus, interestingly, was not a refugee. But in keeping with the typology of Elijah being feed by ravens (unclean), Jews and Christians have always been helped by the unsaved as well as hurt.

  3. Michael says:

    Kevin,

    Thank you…this is not an easy subject to broach.
    We’ve created an environment where a person is supposed to be all in on one side of the divide…and that does not lead to creative solutions.
    The worst week I ever had on this blog was when I advocated for the Central American child refugees…I almost shut down and shut up.
    I’m being extremely cautious about saying much about the current messes…I don’t want or need the vitriol.

  4. Steve Wright says:

    I think our faith convictions should (and do) guide our political convictions, and all aspects of our lives.

    Obviously, there is a recognition that, for example, we as Americans do not want to outlaw freedom of religion, even as we know God does not support freedom of religion. America is ruled by the Constitution. The Christian is ruled by Christ.

    There is also a recognition that allowance under the law is not the same as mandatory compliance and while we can seek to influence to change those laws we do not violate God’s commands to fight for an American theocracy. (i.e. killing the abortion doctor or p*rn distributor).

    However, where I see plenty of room to challenge “Christian conviction” is when those convictions seem to be conveniently aligned with whichever political party is in power. Then I throw a flag on the play and call political partisanship using Christ for cover.

  5. Kevin H says:

    Jean,

    I agree that some issues that we deal with are more clearly laid out in Scripture than others. On the refugee issue, Scripture is clear that we should be compassionate to those in need. It is also clear that we should love and care for our neighbor, which one way of doing this would be not exposing them to unnecessary harm. It is also clear that the state is in place to punish the wrongdoer, which by extension would intimate that the state would be maintaining order and protection of its citizenry. And so the application of what we should do with this current refugee issue is not so cut and dry.

    My personal conclusion when thinking through all the circumstances involved that I am aware of on this current issue is that the executive order and the way it was carried out was wrong and unchristian. I don’t maintain that this is an absolute that all Christians must believe or else they are sinning or contradicting Scripture. I do maintain that I and any other Christian should be allowed to apply our faith in thinking through the issue and come to conclusions of what we believe to be right or wrong actions. We may even come to opposite conclusions. Obviously, we both can’t be right (although we could even both be wrong in some manner or another) and it is because of our fallen nature that you speak of, that that can happen.

    I understand you’re not wanting to invoke the name of the Lord on issues that He has not clearly spoken on. My intent was not to say that this is the definitive word and will of the Lord on the issue. Rather, I wish to communicate that to the my best of my abilities, this is what I personally think God would want the United States to do (or in this case, not do) on this issue.

    Hope that explains a little more clearly what I was trying (or meant) to say.

  6. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Michael

    “The worst week I ever had on this blog was when I advocated for the Central American child refugees”

    That says a lot.

  7. Michael says:

    Siggy,

    We’ve had some hellacious times on here over the years, so this was significant.
    To be blunt, I’ve had two experiences that radically changed how I thought about my faith and the church in general.
    The first was when I got kicked out of Calvary Chapel and that week was the second.

    In both cases, people I loved and respected turned on me like I was evil incarnate…and I will never completely heal from either until I get home.

  8. Kevin H says:

    Michael, you can let me take the heat on this one. The increased temperature will help me think more about pitchers and catchers and warm and sunny days. 🙂

  9. Michael says:

    Kevin,

    I appreciate that, but my conscience is screaming at me…especially in light of the uptick in deportations.

    Even hockey season isn’t an adequate distraction… 🙂

  10. Siggy the Terrible says:

    I don’t know why you got kicked out. I did too, not the association but my personal CC.

    Care to elaborate? I can’t for want of not damaging a body of believers. Sorry.

  11. Kevin H says:

    Yeah, but heat melts the ice and then that makes the hockey really ragged. Much better game without the heat. 🙂

  12. Michael says:

    Too much heat and hockey becomes lacrosse… 🙂

  13. John 20:29 says:

    before reading the comments here…
    i listened to a radio preacher as i drove yesterday making the case that we as Christians don’t try to make our government function as a Christian entity – it is a God ordained one, not a Christian one… our Lord told us to pay our taxes and obey the rules of the nation/state even when He knew that those taxes went to Rome for bad as well as good, i suspect
    now as Christians what do we do then? don’t we we do everything we can to be good neighbors and, when possible, good Samaritans? – if can we help these people, these refugees? then we should do it, but what about all the martyrs of recent years? what have we done to help them? their families? their churches? … not much, so it does ring hollow in my ears now, all the clamor to welcome these people who are fleeing their homelands, looking for safety…
    that said, this is, seemingly, an irresistible tide – we are witnessing a mass migration that is going to have an impact on the world for centuries to come – more to the question might be, how do we preserve or do we, that is our government, preserve Western Civilization or will we just let history run its course?
    probably the latter, so pray for souls to be rescued from darkness as, whether they intend it or not, the darkness they want to flee comes with them….
    dunno, tho, do i?

  14. John 20:29 says:

    the uptick is not in the number of ICE arrests this year, but in the publicizing of them – will there be an uptick over time with this administration? could be… dunno

  15. Michael says:

    John 20:29,

    According to immigration lawyers and others I’ve been in contact with,the net has been greatly broadened.

    I do not understand why this is a controversial statement…this is exactly what the President promised.
    I do know a lot of very concerned people here locally…it’s already taking a toll on the kids.

  16. Michael says:

    If you want to know about ICE…Google the name “Lalo”….Bowden wrote a book about it.

  17. Steve Wright says:

    This is a good summary from Nov 2015 about the process. Mainstream, US News source. Of note is the final point about the Christian organizations (and other faith groups) necessary to the process.

    Included is the quote “”We serve them all without distinction. As Christians, it’s a unique honor to help persecuted Christians as well and it’s an important part of the program. But we’re Christians who believe in loving our neighbors.”

    Not included is that each of these groups takes in literally millions of dollars from the federal government.

    Make your own application.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/11/20/8-facts-about-the-us-program-to-resettle-syrian-refugees

  18. JD says:

    I’ve been kicked out of a couple and left a few others also. At least here on this blog I’m not poison. Yet. 😕

  19. Duane Arnold says:

    When I join protests over the refugee issue, it is owing to my faith.
    When my wife and I arrange for an immigration lawyer to provide someone with assistance, it is owing to our faith.
    When we provide a place to sleep over the weekend to the illegal sister of a legal friend, it is owing to our faith.

    I wish that I could say that it is because I am a humanitarian, but I’m not. I’m selfish, I don’t want my life to be interrupted. I don’t want to be inconvenienced. I really don’t want to go the extra mile… sort of like days I don’t want to go to church, but I do it anyway…

  20. John 20:29 says:

    #16 – it is a shame that the children are living in fear (naturally breeding quite a bit of anger and hostility, too)… there is a very strong sentiment in this country to protect these children from any more harm… there is very little chance of them being separated from their parents… as i see it, the odds are greatly in their favor, but that’s just from where i sit in Washington State
    the anger and hostility that is gaining such a strong presence in our country – and some others – is the greatest danger – a danger to all our children IMNSHO

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