Less than a week ago over 120 people were killed and several hundred more injured in Paris, France when ISIS terrorists hit several locations in a matter of moments.
Once again, terror struck and emotions of shock, empathy, fear, anger, rage, and revenge began to hit us all. And with social media as it is, everyone began to share their emotions. And since some of us have different emotions than others, “fights” begin to break out over ideology and politics. This is the result of the social media as we know it. Facebook and twitter and blogs are often nothing more than venue’s for people to bitch and complain and puff out their chest and behave in a way they never would in “real life”.
Terrorism is a subject that deserves some attention right now, but I want to talk about something that has risen to the surface in light of the Paris attacks: the Syrian refugees.
Now, the Syrian refugee crisis has been an issue since well before the Paris attacks, but has become a hot topic since it is alleged that at least one of the terrorists in the Paris attacks came in “disguised” as a refugee. This has raised alarm for many countries, including the United States, about taking in refugees for fear that some with evil in their hearts are among them.
The news cycles and social media have been abuzz with articles, blogs, and talking points relating to this issue. Both sides are screaming their point and criticizing the other. Presidential candidates have taken their sides and doing the same.
So what are we to do about this refugee crisis?
One side says it is our moral and humanitarian duty to take them in and care for them as they are the victims of the same type of terror that Paris just endured on a regular basis, which is why they are fleeing their homeland.
The other side says that we need to stop letting any refugee’s in at this time unless we can fully vet them to ensure that no terrorists are posing among them as a trojan horse to some into our country and attack us like they did the French.
So, what are we to do?
Unfortunately, they are no easy answers and frankly, there are no viable options being given at this time. All we have is the bombastic voices from both sides spouting their view and condemning the other. It really is madness right now. It’s like two kids in pre-school fighting at the toy box. Neither of them cares about the toy, they just yell louder and make a bigger scene so they can get their way.
Welcome to the world of social media and 24 hour news cycles.
It really is maddening.
So, what are we to do?
How should we respond?
The fact is, there are no easy answers or easy solutions to this crisis, regardless of how loud someone is yelling.
Can we, for just one moment, cut through all the rhetoric and acknowledge that this issue isn’t as simple as either side want to make it appear?
So, how do we respond and what do we do?
Here are some of my thoughts.
First, as a Christian (and I hate that word for what it has come to mean today, but that is for another time) I absolutely believe they we are to take care of the refugee and the orphan. For a Christian, this reality can be found in both the Old and New Testaments. Throughout the Old Testament we see God commanding that cities of refuge be established for such a purpose as this. In the New, we see Jesus tell us to care for the widow and orphan. We see the early church establishing means to care for the outsider and those with no place to settle.
One of the central truths of the Gospel message is that we were all strangers and aliens and have found our refuge in God. Refugee’s finding their new home in Jesus, the one who took us all in when we were displaced and without a home.
As a Christian, I cannot avoid the absolute reality that I am to do all in my power to care for the refugee and respond to them as Christ has responded to me when I was also one needing refuge.
On the other hand, I completely understand the security threat that the influx of refugee’s poses. This does not negate the fact that the vast majority of refugee’s are simply that – refugee’s without a home and in need of “rescue”. But I am not foolish enough to assume that those who wish to do us harm play by the rules, because they don’t and they have proven that time and again.
I absolutely agree that our leaders primary objective is to keep us safe. And sometimes that requires taking a stand and drawing hard and unpopular lines. If there is a threat of one “master mind” terrorist sneaking into our country under the guise of an innocent refugee, we must take the necessary steps to stop that.
I hear many people say that the numbers simply don’t add up. The number of terrorists coming in disguised as a refugee is minimal. We have been taking in refugee’s for years and no trojan horse has arisen, therefore, the argument is pointless. Do what is right and let the refugee’s in.
One thought on that. Let’s say that I have a bottle of Tylenol that holds 100 pills. You have a headache and are in need of some relief. I pull out my bottle and hand it to you and say that it is a bottle of Tylenol but 2 of the pills in their are actually cyanide. Do you take them? Of course not!
Or let’s say that I have a bottle of water. I tell you that it is 98% pure, fresh spring water and 2% poop particles, and then I hand it too you to drink. Do you take the cap off, tilt your head back and take a big swig? Absolutely not!!
The point is this: Even if the threat is minimal, it still should be taken seriously.
So where does that leave us?
Well, with no simple answers or easy solutions.
Do we just abandon the innocent refugee’s because of the threat of evil? No we should not. Do we just swing open our doors so anyone can come in? No we shouldn’t.
The answer lies somewhere in the middle.
How do we protect our citizens and yet care for the helpless?
With wisdom and compassion.
This is not the easy way and doesn’t lend itself to talking points, but it is the way.
Do I know how it’s done? No. I have some ideas, but I’m sure their are better ones if only we would take the time to quit yelling our ideological positions at one another and actually show a true heart and sit down, dialogue and figure this thing out responsibly and compassionately.