If by now you have not heard about the Syrian refugee crisis, then you’ve been hiding in the no man’s land of northern Canada. Based on everything I’ve seen on the news, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, my guess would be that if polled your church, family, and friends about what should be done then you would find sharply divided opinions.
It should not surprise us. Disagreement runs in our blood.
Personally, I think we should accept those we can. Yes, we should vet them and check their backgrounds to the best of our ability; but we should not let the threat of a few terrorists stop us from doing good to people in need, as individuals, churches, and a nation—we can walk the line of compassion and national security.
But this picture is a snippet of a photo I’ve seen passed around social media that disturbs me to the core. Not so much that someone would post it and that people would share it, but that Christians would share it again and again.
You don’t have to agree with my position on the refugees. You might have good arguments for why you don’t think we should accept them. That’s fine. We can agree to disagree and seek to spur one another on as brothers in Christ (iron sharpening iron produces a few sparks, after all). But the argument in this portion of this picture is: Don’t let those Muslims come to America when there are plenty of Muslim countries they can go to.
Let’s think about that for a second. Obviously this is based on the idea that Islam is incompatible with our American way of life. And in many ways sharia law is. BUT from a gospel perspective this arguments amounts to: Let these people burn in hell so they don’t threaten our comfort and safety.
No Christian should ever favor an argument for the people of any religious group, “Let them go to a country filled with people of their own beliefs instead of coming here.” Most of these Muslim countries are either closed off to the gospel or it is difficult for missionaries to live, work, and share within their borders. This argument is only acceptable if we believe that a faithful Muslim can enter the joy of eternity through their Muslim faith.
You have to rip pages from the Bible to make that plausible.
Yes, our culture is becoming more hostile to Christianity, but as it stands today: immigrants or refugees from most people groups have a better opportunity to be impacted by church ministries and the gospel in our country than in many others, especially those countries of the Middle East, Northern Africa, and South East Asia.
If you want to argue on the grounds of safety and protecting our families, that’s one thing. But to say, “They have Muslim countries of their own they can go to,” is both anti-gospel and unchristian. So let’s talk, debate, and argue our sides; but let’s not like and share photos and articles that basically argue for consigning people to hell in the name of culture and comfort.