When it comes to Syrian refugees, a majority of Americans wouldn't do what Jesus would do

This has been an unbelievably crazy week. The aftermath of the terrible attacks in Paris by members of a radical form of the Islamic faith unfortunately brought with it cries of war and vengeance.

While those cries are understandable, many can’t seem to distinguish between the very few who kill in the name of religion and the vast majority who yearn to live in peace. I have heard, read and listened to many opinions this past week about the way in which the world should proceed against these radicals and every way leads to death.

I’m not sure how the global community will be able to defeat this terrorist organization, but one thing I know for sure, the refugees that are fleeing as a result of the chaos and destruction caused but the ISIS must be cared for. They must be taken in and cared for with love, compassion and understanding. Nothing will topple these radicals faster and more completely than demonstrating on a worldwide scale that only love can defeat hate.

It’s been extremely disturbing and frustrating to see the reaction of the American people regarding President Obama’s plan to come to the aid of 10,000 Syrian refugees. From the Governors of 27 states to some friends of mine on Facebook, words of fear and bigotry have shown a darker side of America, which I am, frankly, embarrassed to have seen. In fact, 54% of Americans are opposed to admitting Syrian refugees in to the United States

It wasn’t too long ago that we were embroiled in a battle about who was more Christian when it came to whether or not homosexuals should be able to marry. It was said by many on the right that we are a Christian nation, and many on both sides professed to know Jesus more than the other. Now that we are faced with an actual situation where we could demonstrate the true values of Jesus and his teachings, fear and distrust are poised to lead us to make yet another poor decision when it comes to countering radical Islamic practice.

It’s well documented that the Founding Fathers did not form this country with the intention of it being a Christian Nation. What they did do was create a country where asking the deep and significant theological questions could take place without fear of being murdered for our audacity to want to do so.

In the centuries since our country was formed, we have become a nation made up mostly of Christians. It is in that respect, I suppose, that many claim us to be a Christian nation.

In a first world country like ours, we sometimes have the tendency to overthink things. We are fortunate to have the blessing of time and resources to consider decisions, but there are some decisions that should be very easy to make. There are some decisions that should come without much thought because the right thing to do lines up perfectly with the values we profess to have. The Syrian refugee crisis is one of those decisions. The right thing to do is to take them in and care for them. If we do not give them refuge, how can we ever say that we are a Christian nation?

We talk a very bold talk in America. We are the world’s super power and influence so many around the globe. We purport to have a collective faith in God and an attitude of grace in our daily lives. We claim to be a diverse nation, welcoming people from all corners of the Earth to find their dreams here on our shores. But the facts are, when it comes to doing the actual work of Jesus, our Christian citizens seem to be choosing fear and distrust over the words of the one they claim to be following.

When it comes to religion in this country, we don’t seem to choose our battles very wisely. We waste our time on trivial matters like whether or not to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, but won’t do our part to feed, clothe and shelter 10,000 refugees who are fleeing war.

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

Truly, these Syrian refugees would be counted as “the least of these” if any group ever were. How can we not give them refuge and call ourselves followers of Christ? How can we call ourselves a Christian nation? We can’t.

8 COMMENTS

  1. This is not an opinion on the refugees, rather it’s a commentary on the article.

    A. A “few” radicals is estimated to be 15%-25% of a billion, from what I’ve read. That means that as many as 250 million Muslims are the “few” radicals, dedicated to wiping out the “infidels.”

    B. 54% is an improvement. In 1938, more than 2/3 of Americans didn’t want to take in Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany an other parts of Europe.

    3. Love didn’t win the Revolutionary War, or WWI or WWII. If the other 6 billion people on the planet held a world wide love-in, ISIS would still kill as many of them as they could.

  2. So because the self-centered greed and callousness of too many Americans results in homeless and hungry people in this country, that justifies being callous about the plight of Syrian refugees and forgetting what we stand for? Seriously, an attitude like that not only makes you unChristian, it actually makes you unAmerican. I bet you’re also the people who brag that America is the greatest country in the world. Obviously the greatest country in the world could handle the homeless and hungry at home AND some Syrian refugees. But I guess you don’t really believe in your country OR true Christianity. Pitiful.

  3. I guess that some of us forget how the United States was formed. We came here killed (for the most part) the natives and took their land, infected them with new diseases and tried (once again, for the most part) to convert them to a religion they didn’t need. And now we’re saying that we are suspicious of some refugees? We need to remember that this is a secular nation ruled by law (as the founding fathers intended) and not ruled by fear, superstition and bigotry. And this bigotry is not getting any better and it will not heal itself. Only education and empathy will change this atrocity and we will sure not get that from the RWNJ’s or the evangelicals. God is imaginary. When the majority come to that conclusion, that will the first step we need to take to achieve peace on earth…..

    • That’s what I think. How can people not see that we have our own homeless and hungry here in America. Crazy. Mr. Landon, why don’t you give them your home, your money, and whatever else they need.

    • Talk to your GOP representative or senator. We have the money, they would just rather get us into another “war” so their fat cats can make some more money. Remember we were all transplants here unless you’re a native American.

    • In terms of a Christian ethic that is biblically-based, we are called to do both. There is no doubt as to the fact that caring for the poor in their own communities was one of the pillars of Jewish and, later, Christian community mores. But neither is there any doubt as to the fact that caring for “the stranger” and “the sojourner”—the theological term is “hospitality”—was an equally important and equally fundamental part of Jewish and Christian community mores. Indeed, there is a group of Old Testament theologians who contend that the torching of Sodom was, in the context of the story, punishment rendered because the people of Sodom did not show hospitality to the “strangers” sent by Yahweh.

      It is always easy to justify not “taking care of” those who are not “our own” because “our own” have so many needs. But, biblically, it doesn’t fly. We are, biblically speaking, called to care for our own but also for those who are “strangers” to us. And, equally so.

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