Pastor's Corner

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Refugees, Rhetoric, and Reality

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The people of European Union, as well as the United States, have come into a new level awareness regarding what is happening with the refugee crisis. It is 9/11 all over again. This is not said as some callous statement without regard for the pain the French are feeling right now, I genuinely feel sorrow for their recent terrorist attack. It is unfortunate, but it is the reality that such horrific behavior is a fact of the human condition.

All things being as they are, what needs to happen is a new conversation needs to be started, or we are not going to deal with the refugee issue in a coherent or compassionate manner.

If you are standing behind Donald Trump and his latest rants about how he is going to send everyone out of the country as soon as he is president, and believe what he is saying, you are not dealing with reality. The logistics of such an undertaking would be horrendous, incredibly costly, and would take a few years – it would be a logistical nightmare. These wild campaign outbursts are all meant to draw attention, they have little to do with reality. Trump is a salesman who will say anything to make the sale.

On the other hand, if you are doing the total compassion thing and wanting to just let folks in because you believe the scriptures tell you we must love the foreigner, I believe you are not being realistic either.

So much of this rhetoric is broad brushing the refugees under one banner or another, as if it is all one type of people crossing the borders. The “isolationist” folks seem to imagine the worst about all of the refugees, when the reality is the biggest part of these folks are fleeing our common enemy. But the “welcoming committee” folks seem to want to recklessly allow these folks to enter the country with insufficient security measures, which would be a tremendous mistake. We must take a good look at what type of people are coming into Europe right now, these are not all good people, nor are they all bad. Can you see the conflict of interests here? To refuse genuinely oppressed immigrants from entering our country is completely against the core of what is compassionate, but to give an open invitation to our enemies is not a sane or biblical response either. This welcoming response is already a logistical nightmare.

But these are all stereotypes aren’t they? Stereotypes the media is using to divide the world with. The news media does not generally put reasonable people on camera, only extremists.

I do not believe either side of the debate regarding the refugee crisis wants the extreme of their position, these are ugly stereotypes we should all reject. Like much of American politics, this conversation has degraded to the worst common denominator in the media. We must think realistically, listen respectfully, and act with compassion and reason. If we don’t, this will be just one more issue tearing at the fabric of the nation. We should all want to help the truly oppressed, but we should all want a secure nation as well. Let’s talk. Let’s act. 

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