It has come to my attention that the refugee “crisis” seems to be settled. Whether you’re a liberal or a Christian, the decision has been made and it is your duty to carry out this dream. Syrian refugees “deserve” to come here. Come one, come all. Liberals are for it because, well, yeah. Christians have tried their best to harbor good intentions, and I commend them. I just simply believe they are wrong. Now, I’ve been told that I ought to be “ashamed”, that I’m not a “real” Christian, or that I should “read my bible” all based on the fact that I have a more conservative immigration policy than what some would like. That’s also wrong, but I appreciate the concerns. Honestly. Maybe I can’t convince you that I’m not some heartless bastard who derives pleasure from seeing baby refugees drown in the ocean, but I’ll be damned if I don’t at least try.
My skepticism comes from asking myself a series of questions, most of which I will share. These questions must be answered to the highest degree of precision if one is to have any chance to dissuade me from my current position. But hey, I’m just some 21 year old, so who knows… This post isn’t meant to be all inclusive, as I’m sure there are a million different exceptions that one could hypothetically fabricate, but this does hit on a few basic pillars so you should have enough to chew on until I’m able to revisit this topic.
- Who? Who is it that we want to bring in? Can we come to a finer point than just labeling someone as a “Syrian refugee”? What constitutes a Syrian refugee? And is every Syrian refugee the same? Is there a difference between a 3 year old baby and a grown man who wants to put a bullet in my head? Surely they aren’t classified as the same people? Does it not do both the issue and the people a disserivce when we use blanket statements to dehumanize the issue?
- What is our goal? What tangible results are we looking for? How do we know if we are winning or losing? Passing or failing? What measures our success and how will we do that? Do we have a quota? Do we accept every refugee ever? Do we accept only 1,000,000? 2,000,000?
- Is there any middle ground between “come one, come all” and “go to hell”? If so, what does that look like?
- Can we ever reject any person, for anything, at any time, anywhere, ever? Ever? Is there ever a scenario where we tell someone no? If yes, then does that not prove that we simply have a disagreement in where the lines is to be drawn and not whether or not a line exists at all? A difference, not in type, but in degree? If no, then can I live with you? I want free room and board with no accountability.
- What is the difference between immigration and invasion?
- Is there a threshold? If they are allowed, how high must the death toll get before we reconsider? Are they held accountable on a personal basis? Do we judge the group as a whole? Can they ever do anything to warrant a revocation of their refugee status?
- Should we accept men? Throwing out an age like 18, do not all able-bodied men over 18 need to be required to aid in the reclamation of their homeland? If the men have no desire to fight for their homes, how much should their homes matter to us? If their 18 year old men won’t fight for their own country, why should we send our 18 year old men to do it?
- Do our personal convictions override the right of our neighbors to safety and security? Are we to force innocents to associate with anyone we take in, consequences be damned? Does one’s freedom of association not extend to freedom from association?
- Is there not a fundamental difference between one offering up a personal and isolated sacrifice to help those in need and one that automatically drags everyone else around them into compliance with their decision?
- For Christians, do we possess such hubris that we honestly believe God can only work through an American Christian on American soil? What makes our soil special? If you have a personal conviction to share to them the wonders of the gospel, is a mission over there simply not doable? Must you bring them here?
- Can no other moderate Muslim nation take them in? Why are most of them refusing these people? What do they know that we don’t? What do we know that they don’t?
- Can we not help from afar? Can’t, say, Iran use part of the $150 billion we just freed up for them to help these people out? Iran was safe enough for this administration to give them some nuclear freedoms, so obviously these are trustworthy people, right? It can’t be that bad of a place to live, right? Right? If not Iran, why not Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain? Why are they all saying no and why aren’t we chastising them? Should not Muslim countries show some interest in their neighborly Muslim brothers?
- For Christians, isn’t Jesus’ dining with sinners completely different than what we are trying to justify? Where in Scripture does it mention Jesus dining with Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas, roman centurions?
- Should we exercise any discrimination with regards to whom we subject innocents to associate? If that’s not the case, then what shall we say about pedophiles, criminally insane, murderers, and so on?
- Is bypassing every viable option just to bring them here worth the warm and fuzzy feeling? Did Paris not show that warm and fuzzy can quickly turn to war and bloody? Should it even cause us pause?
- Are we even considering any alternatives to fix this issue? Is there no other way to help besides letting the reside here?
- Does our harboring of these refugees actually do anything if we don’t attack the root? Will we not have the same fervor and tenacity to rectify what’s actually wrong in Syria?
- When ISIS takes over Egypt, do we just take the Egyptian refugees? What about when they take Jordan? All of Africa? Europe? At what point do we realize that simply taking in refugees doesn’t attack the root?
This is a relatively short list of questions that go through my mind, and many others, as we wrestle with this issue. I’ll be making several more entries giving more questions and even answering, in-depth, some that I have already proposed. To claim barbarism is the reason for my hesitancy is insulting, hurtful, and just wrong. I encourage you to give these questions deep consideration. Is this issue really as cut and dry as my Christian family wants me to believe? Is it not reasonable to ponder? Is it not wise to contemplate all options before making a decision? Should I be ashamed? I’m not sure, but hell, at least I’m trying.
Much Love & God Bless, Cameron McAnally