Responding to the Syrian Refugees
Responding to the Syrian Refugees
I’ve seen many Christians on the religious right demanding that the US not receive Syrian refugees, and even showing stories about how this is really an attempted Islamic invasion into the Western world … and Europe is first. There are even stories about how Austrians are making gun runs out of fear of this invasion. And anyone who suggests that we help the refugees (particularly because our government is responsible for the mess in Syria), they are immediately labeled a flaming liberal/progressive/socialist kowtowing to ISIS in the name of tolerance and will be the first to be enslaved by Sharia Law.
And yet …
There is undeniable evidence that the people coming from Syria are indeed families. Is it really all that surprising that there are Syrians who have been displaced by the civil war there? Sure, it’s possible that some people coming in the droves of refugees are ISIS fighters, but is that a good enough reason to help those truly in need? But for argument’s sake, let’s assume that all Muslims are evil and are a massive, organized, guerilla-fighting machine that thinks as a hive-mind like the Borg from Star Trek, and are the greatest enemy of Christians hearkening forward to the apocalyptic end times scenario as described in Scripture a series of fictional books by Tim LaHaye. (Totally plausible, I know).
How are Christians to respond to our enemies?
Marks of the True Christian
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:9-21 ESV)
Love Your Enemies
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
(Luke 6:27-36 ESV)
Actually, it’s rather obvious how we’re supposed to respond. In fact, the Bible explicitly calls out the fallacy of the idea that we should only offer aide to the Christian refugees. (On a side note: Why don’t Palestinian Christians even get this level concern?). Whether it be sending money, food or supplies to the refugees, or simply be their voice in the midst of the turmoil, Christians should be far less concerned with what religion the refugees follow, and just freaking help them!
But what about those who wish us harm? First, would they be our enemies if they didn’t wish us harm? Pretty sure, Jesus didn’t stutter. And besides, even if this is a religious war and Muslim extremists are particularly out to kill us, I still haven’t found the part in Scripture where Jesus says, “you’ll be hated for my sake, so kill them before they kill you.”
How are libertarians to respond?
Benedict Cumberbatch was recently quoted as saying “**** the politicians” when it came to providing aide, and while I wouldn’t use those exact words, the sentiment is similar to the libertarian response: there are people who fleeing violence and tyranny and need help now. There is no time to wait on bureaucrats who only have plans to help a fraction of the refugees in the next five years. There is no time, nor is it the government’s business, to sift through the refugees and decide who’s a Christian, who’s a nice Muslim, who’s a mean Muslim, and who’s just there for the cookies and lemonade. Libertarians believe that true charity comes from the heart of the individual and that those escaping tyranny should be welcomed into the fold of liberty and prosperity; freedom and justice for all.
Not to mention that the libertarian view of foreign policy is to be friends with anyone willing, and build mutually beneficial relationships that deter and mitigate any desire for conquest and war. The idea being that Muslims are people first, and people in general don’t have an affinity for war. It takes a special kind of socio/psychopath to have such an affinity for war. (Think about that for a moment and who in Congress keeps pounding the war drums).
Waiting on the government to go through its process before helping the refugees is pointless. Sure, we can waste our time signing a petition on Change.org to get the President to at least acknowledge that there are people in America who support providing immediate aide to the refugees, but Holy Cow! That in itself is even counter-productive. In a free market, we wouldn’t have to wait to act. If we see someone who needs help, and we can help, then we go help. And if our friends and family also want to help, then they come help too. There were far more people helped, far faster, following Hurricane Katrina than FEMA could ever dream of providing. Brad Pitt did more to rebuild homes while the National Guard disarmed peaceful citizens trying to protect themselves from looters. (Gun Control! ‘Mürkia)
So the libertarian Christian response to the refugees? Forget the bueacracy! Forget differences in race, religion, or preferred cable news network!
GO HELP THEM!
You might even take Benedict’s advice.
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