On Immigration and Refugees
This has been an area of study (some say obsession) for me for a number of years.
I planned on staying out of all the pre election debates, as the last time I spoke up on the matter the impact was quite costly to me in many ways.
Still, if we are called to be agents of reconciliation, (and we are) I believe I have to give this a shot.
My default position in my life, all my life, has been to support the poor and the oppressed…categories that I believe a great many migrants and refugees fall into.
My emotional lead is compassion and empathy, often at the cost of pragmatism.
I see migrants as human beings like myself, with children they love as much as I love mine, fleeing violence and poverty and my heart is with them.
I want to help them to safety and a better life.
I believe that this is also the teaching of the Scriptures in regard to the issue.
The problem is that these matters are not solved with simple empathy and compassion…we must acknowledge that there are other legitimate concerns involved and even new problems that our desire for compassion will create.
There are concerns about safety, there are concerns about cost, concerns about assimilation.
Ancient Israel was to welcome the stranger, but the stranger was expected to assimilate to Israel, not vice versa.
We live in a hostile world…the threat of Islam is real, not a right wing nightmare being sold to the gullible.
Our own citizens are unemployed or grossly underemployed.
There is a real cost to mercy.
By the same token most of those fleeing here from the south are fleeing real terrors, some of which we helped create.
I believe our biblical obligations to our fellow man, especially our brothers and sisters in the faith, extend beyond man made borders.
My plea to the Christian community is this…listen to each other.
Study the issues at a deeper level than media reports from either side.
Lead with compassion and pragmatism, with love and with wisdom.
Demonizing each other or demonizing the migrants and the refugees is a denial of the faith whichever side you are on.
We need God breathed solutions to this issue that won’t come with continued division and rhetoric.
May God grant us that wisdom and grace.