This column attempts to avoid engaging in political topics in order to focus on the truth of Christianity. That is why I hesitate to tread into the contentious topic of immigration which has become so politically charged lately. But there is a particular subset of immigration policy that I believe has clear moral dimensions, aside from purely political considerations, which is the refugee question.
Refugees are a special type of immigrant ~ not of their own making but forced to migrate elsewhere under the compulsion of war, persecution, even hostile governments. For that reason all Christians should have a special compassion for their plight. In fact, we must remember that Christ himself, as a mere infant, became a refugee and was forced to flee into Egypt. In that sense he became the blessed type and patron of all refugees.
Keep that reality in mind as we review the situation now playing itself out in Europe, and especially in Germany, which provides a cautionary counter-narrative concerning hospitality. In Cologne, over New Year’s Eve, the inevitable culture clash reached a new high as hundreds of German women were assaulted by marauding gangs of Muslim refugees recently admitted into that nation, Worse, the police did little or nothing to prevent this rampant criminal outburst out of apparent fear of being castigated as Islamaphobic.
Meanwhile our own nation’s chief executive is pushing for the U.S. to import 100,000 more Syrian “refugees” caught between the teeth of an oppressive regime and the so-called Islamic State or ISIS. But while ISIS is partly responsible for the crisis which has produced hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees flooding into Europe, those very same refugees, conveniently, provide the perfect foil for ISIS terrorists to infiltrate Western countries in greater numbers. More perplexing, how is it possible to filter out the “bad” refugees from the “good” ones when even supposedly “good” refugees have demonstrated their ability to go on rampages of the sort witnessed in Germany?
Another disturbing element of the Syrian refugee crisis manifests itself among the refugees themselves. Thousands of Syrian and Iraqi refugees are Christians, perhaps the most hated and oppressed minority in much of the Middle East. However, because of the life-threatening dangers they are exposed to from the majority Muslim refugees, those Christians are not able to reside in the U.N. refugee camps, and are therefore not entitled to obtain “official” refugee status. So the most vulnerable are consistently overlooked and often denied admittance as refugees into countries where they might otherwise find refuge among fellow Christians.
This is the perverse reality of the current situation. The Christian refugees most likely to acculturate smoothly into Western societies such as France, Germany, or even the U.S. become the least welcome. Meanwhile their Muslim counterparts are welcomed with open arms even as they present the greatest threat to domestic security.
At home, our president warned against “scapegoating fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us,.. or share the same background.” Fair enough, but it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that this polemical “inclusive big tent” is meant to include hostile aliens of every persuasion under the rhetorical banner of “fellow citizens.”
It would be a terrible injustice to infer that all Muslim refugees somehow constituted a dangerous “fifth column” in our midst. That is the sort of paranoia that led to the rounding up of thousands of loyal Japanese-American citizens during World War II ~ an ugly chapter in our history that no decent American would want to repeat. But to use one small part of history to effectively blackmail today’s Americans into opening the door to a flood of refugees that will assuredly include a significant number of terror operatives, if not misogynist misfits, is equally unconscionable, in light of the evidence from Paris, San Bernardino, and now Cologne. It seems that compassion and common sense need to find some common ground in the present crisis in order to protect the safety and lives of innocent citizenry.
Our own president has openly admitted, “(ISIS) fighters pose an enormous danger and must be stopped,” I would add, preferably before crossing our national borders. He then went on to downplay that imminent threat by adding, “but they do not threaten our national existence.” That seem a small consolation to the thousands of innocent victims (actual and potential) who may be harmed and murdered by such thugs. (And ISIS is but one of many terrorist organizations actively plying the soft underbelly of the West.
Doubtless, I will be labeled a “hater” among the intellectual “progressive” elites for suggesting that we adopt some more moderate course of action such as first opening our doors to those oppressed Christian refugees forced to flee their homelands in the Middle East. But consider: if these people are being persecuted by their fellow refugees for the simple fact that they are non-Muslim, what does that suggest as to where the real danger lies?
Granted, we have a Christian duty to welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and feed the hungry. There are numerous avenues available to perform those vital works of mercy without needlessly or recklessly endangering the lives of our own people. Jesus himself was a hunted refugee at one time in his earthly life and so we should make every attempt to see Christ in the refugee. Yet we are currently faced with some very unpleasant realities today.
America has always welcomed the stranger but a new situation has now developed which we must recognize for what it is. Short of enacting truly wise and thoughtful policies, the events in Cologne and San Bernardino may soon start to look like walks in the park. Europe is the harbinger of what we may soon expect to see in our own backyards if we continue to stay the course we are now treading.
Fran Pierson +a.m.d.g.