As Americans celebrated the Thanksgiving weekend, Muslim terrorists continued to spew out threats of horrific acts of barbarism against the United States. Within the last three weeks, Islamic entities have punctuated their intent to create a global caliphate by perpetrating inhumane acts in Paris, Mali, and the Sinai, culminating in a United States State Department travel alert this past Monday.
Amid these beyond troubling events, Europe and the United States face a growing “refugee” crisis, as Syrians by the thousands attempt to escape their homeland. President Obama, even after acknowledging that one of the Paris attackers used refugee status to gain entrance into France, insists on bringing to America at least 10,000 (more likely closer to 100,000) Syrian refugees, prompting a showdown between political parties and even Christians as to the wisdom of such a decision.
Just a couple of days ago, across my desk came an article quoting numerous verses from the Scripture that appear to encourage unmitigated acceptance of any and ALL refugees who desire to come here, regardless of their motivations–sincere or sinister. One of the substantiating passages used was I Kings 8: 41-43. “Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name’s sake; For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm; when he shall come and pray toward this house; Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.” The operative words in that passage are “pray toward this house,” a reference to a conversion to the God of Israel and all that Israel was!
My point is simply this! If a foreigner desires to come to America, is willing to submit to our laws, assimilate into our way of life, even accepting the Judeo-Christian heritage of this nation, then there is no problem! However, when any individual, Muslim or otherwise, desires to come here, live within a MUSLIM ONLY community, push for worship of Allah and the implementation of Shariah Law (which is completely antithetical to the teaching of I Kings 8: 41-43, and certainly American jurisprudence), and stealthily plot acts of terror, then we DEFINITELY HAVE A PROBLEM–and so does the God of heaven, Who in Romans 13 unequivocally states that the role of government is to protect from that very sinister activity!!!
Additionally, I have seen Facebook posts and articles in newspapers and magazines that compare the Syrian refugee crisis to the dilemma faced by Mary and Joseph, as they sought shelter the night Jesus was born. Perhaps you’ve seen some of the images, complete with statements like this–“All of the Bible belt states, refusing refugees, put on Christmas plays depicting a middle eastern family seeking refuge, fleeing persecution.” The illogical leaps within that statement are myriad, so a comment on just a couple of them is in order.
First, Mary and Joseph were not terrorists motivated by the purely evil desire to commit some horrendous act! Second, Mary and Joseph were not attempting to escape persecution when they were denied a room in the inn. To draw parallels by citing the Holy family is, to be honest, ridiculous! Yet, many well-meaning people will see those images and read those statements and not see past the emotional appeal! For them, no one will draw the needed distinction between INDIVIDUAL attitudes toward LEGITIMATE refugees (and some of those fleeing Syria fit that description) and sinister, ideologically-driven terrorists who take advantage of the naivety, even kindness, of unwitting Americans. As well, no one will cite the Romans 13 imperative for GOVERNMENTS to punish evil and praise good! No one will underscore the truth that protecting one’s homeland (or family for that matter) is NOT incompatible with caring for those in legitimate need!
So, for those who are attempting to provide a balanced, Scriptural, and thoughtful solution to the “refugee” dilemma–one that expresses compassion to those legitimately in need, while simultaneously protecting the homeland–I say stand strong! Don’t allow your love of family and love of country, to be incorrectly characterized as lack of concern for hurting people! Let me put it this way. Were it not for those who love this nation enough to protect it from nefarious entities, there would be no place like America to which “refugees” could escape.
The bottom line is this. Ministering appropriately to legitimate refugees and defending the homeland are not mutually exclusive concepts, even though there may be some well-intentioned individuals who will try to convince you that they are! Individually, we as believers should respond to LEGITIMATE refugees with compassion and Christ-likeness! But, the role of civil government is to punish the illegitimate and evil, while rewarding the good! There is nothing good or legitimate about blindly allowing the enemies of Christ and the country unfettered entrance into this, or any, nation!
President, HOPE Ministries International
President, North Carolina Pastors Network (NCPN)
Co-host, Stand In The Gap Radio