Pastor's Corner

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Refugees, Alternatives, and Some Thoughts


We all know the refugee crisis is heating up in America; should we take these folks in or refuse them at our borders? Both sides of this debate are arguing, making broad brushed statements, and all of it is getting uglier as the conversation progresses. Like many of the social debates in America in our age of technology, this debate is happening online more than in person. And online, it is easy to cast people aside, easy to insult, and easy to assume the worst of those who disagree with you. This has grown to be commonplace, and the noise is almost deafening.

The worst part of this debate regarding the refugee situation is the manner in which people are being used in the conversations. The refugees, the homeless, and especially homeless veterans, are being tossed about like pawns in a bad chess game. Too many are talking about these people, like they are not people. I wonder if you might consider something with me.

I wonder why we cannot begin talking about the crisis in a way that embraces both sides? Is there a reason why we cannot bring in these folks, and place a critical eye on all of those coming in to insure public safety as well? This is all going to be time consuming and costly, no matter how you approach it, this is a given. So why not do this right? Help the folks who are genuinely oppressed, but put added security measures in place to make sure we are really helping those who need help. There is a legitimate third way here.

I also wonder if I might ask a few questions. I do not want to sound rude or insulting, these are just honest questions about what I am hearing from both sides.

For those who are claiming we should not be helping these refugees until we help our own homeless veterans: I wonder if instead of using these good men and women as a leverage tool in a debate, if you could go and help some homeless veterans right now, instead of waiting to see the government do something? How about if you take some of your money and time, and commit to doing something to help those folks. That would demonstrate genuine care and concern for their plight.

For those who are calling for compassionate reception of these refugees: I wonder, there are already thousands of refugees who have entered the U.S. so far this year, are you doing anything about them? Have you established any refugee assistance programs in your church community? Have you committed any of your own personal resources to making a difference in their lives since you believe having them here would make a huge difference in their lives?

It’s easy to talk, right? I mean, even for me to write this only costs some of my time. Committing some of our own personal resources, time, and effort is quite another matter isn’t it? I think as a Christian I have an obligation to my God regarding the oppressed, whether that is a homeless veteran or a refugee fleeing for their life. But this argument is about what our government is doing regarding this matter. Nothing is stopping me from doing something for the homeless or the refugee already here. Just some thoughts.

When Information Becomes Viral
Refugees, Rhetoric, and Reality