You guys–You are aware this stuff is being recorded, right? Seriously. Very few things on the internet ever actually disappear. And someday our kids or our grandkids are going to see the crazy, fear-filled, inaccurate shit you’ve been typing into your computers and cell phones… and they are going to be so ashamed. They are going to look at pictures of the things you wrote the same way we look at pictures like this…
A couple of days ago I wrote a post titled “I’ll Take Some Syrian Refugees At My House.” There were a whole lot of other Christian voices who expressed dismay at the fear-mongering that was going on with regards to the United States helping take in Syrian refugees. All this fear and exclusion and misinformation is just so clearly the exact opposite of everything that Jesus stands for… To me, at least. Turns out there are just TONS of Christians who are very offended that people would challenge support of the dozens of Governors who have said their states won’t be accepting any Syrian refugees. Vox made a really nice map right here…
See if you see any similarities with this map of republican governors…
Of course, none of this really matters, because they legally CAN’T refuse refugees. It was just a loud and symbolic “You aren’t welcome here.” It is frightening to see how near perfectly people are splitting down party lines around this issue. For a while now, Donald Trump has been at the top of the polls for republican presidential candidate–even among “evangelical Christians”–and that has been strange news to many Christians, because most of the people they know were not very vocal about their support… Well, if you’re wondering where all of those Donald Trump supporters were at, I think they all came out of hiding.
There are hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence and civil war in Syria and looking for a safe place to live, and one terrorist attack in Paris has got almost half the people in a country on the other side of the planet scared to death of a group of mostly women and children who are trying to escape war. And if you don’t think that racism is a part of this, you are nuts. If this was a group of people from Norway fleeing violence, we would welcome them with open arms, and credit our right actions to this myth that the USA is a “Christian Nation.” But it IS racism. It is xenophobia, it is Islamophobia, and it is disgusting. To me, at least… It’s disgusting TO ME. I should clarify, because many, MANY people don’t see this as disgusting… They see it as common sense. I guess they picture the process of bringing Syrian refugees to this country as us going to Europe, waving people onto a bus, putting them on a plane, and dropping them off in YOUR GATED COMMUNITY… Even though the actual process of vetting refugees takes anywhere from 18 months to three years, and is THE most intense and thorough vetting process for coming here.
And as they make a common sense case for their position, they are using many… interesting… analogies to make comparisons to taking in refugees. Here are a few on my favorites. The first one is from a comment on my most recent blog post.
Letting Refugees come here would be like…
1. Sending your daughter out to play with a dangerous Pitt Bull.
This got me thinking about finding other Refugee Comparisons, and I considered scouring the interwebs for examples, but instead I found a goldmine of analogies in the comments section of one of my writing heroes: Jen Hatmaker. She is–as far as I can tell–just a shining example of love and rationality and faith and action and honesty, and there are few people I feel “get it” with regards to this thing we call Christianity quite as well as she does. She has such a balanced way of approaching how following Jesus plays out in real life, that she really has deftly transcended a political, conservative/liberal divide that is very difficult to do. If you don’t follow her or read her stuff, you really should. It’s about 1000x better than any of the swill that I put out. Anyway, a couple of days ago, she posted on Facebook that she was “ashamed” of governor Greg Abbott’s call to keep Syrian refugees out of Texas. She wrote that his “position is supported by fear-mongering that doesn’t just fly in the face of Christianity but of basic humanity.” You can read her whole status HERE (as well as the 1000’s of responses, if you’d like).
Minutes later, she was what can only be described as “Dixie-Chicked.”
Her page was inundated with comments from people who felt betrayed by her heart-felt, emotional response to an action that–to her–felt very clearly antithetical to the very heart of what Jesus was about. The next day, she posted this amazing piece of honesty and hurt and struggle and life…
And this is where my list of Refugee Comparisons continues. These comparisons are all screen shots of comments of of Jen Hatmaker’s posts.
Letting Refugees come here would be like…
2. Welcoming a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
3. Letting your daughter play with poisonous snakes and child molesters.
4. Playing Russian Roulette with poisonous grapes.
5. Setting us all up to be put in cages, set on fire, and decapitated.
6. Having a nice dinner… WITH SATAN!!!!!!!!!!!!
7. Letting in the Trojan Horse.
Ahh, yes… Trojan horse. This has been their plan all along. Start a war, send a million refugees out into Europe, hope for liberal Christian bloggers to inflict their guilt on the masses, go through the two year vetting process, start a sleeper cell, connect with the head if ISIS in America (Obama)… All to blow up a Whole Foods.
And this one even comes with its own meme…
8. Taking in a horde of murderous homeless people.
9. Picking up homeless hitchhiker felons.
10. Taking in homeless pedophiles next to your children.
11. Welcoming urine-throwing, syphilis-ridden food snobs into the neighborhood.
12. Basically committing suicide.
13. Giving a Muslim you daughter’s hand… Or WORSE!
14. Giving room and board to hate crime rapists.
15. Losing your blog, apparently because you can’t see it through your new mandatory hijab.
16. Laying down your life like a stupid martyr who was bitten by a snake while committing suicide by walking into traffic… Plus some stuff about stop signs, door locks, and child molesters.
So there you have it. There were many more. Some folks posted some good old fashioned “Thanks Obama”s in comment form…
Some folks had other ideas of ways to love them. Like an idea I like to call “The Bette Midler” (from a distance).
Or whatever the sweet hell this was…
Others took a very “Take care of our own” point of view.
A lot of people seemed suddenly concerned with the plight of homeless vets…
Again, this one came with its own meme:
Leading this guy to post this awesome tweet:
An overwhelming number of comments referred to how God gave us brains for a reason, and we had to use “discernment.” Like this one:
All of a sudden, conservative Christians are interested in using their brains! I kid, I kid… But isn’t it interesting that when something in the Bible doesn’t line up with your worldview, all of the sudden scripture becomes a lot less “clear” and we have to start using “discernment.” It’s interesting to me too…
I should mention that there were a sea of positive, supportive, and encouraging comments as well. You didn’t even have to look hard for them. Even in these times, when it seems like there in no hope to bring people together with anything close to rational discussion, you can’t hide from the fact that there are awesome people everywhere. Here are a few:
And this beauty…
Anyway, I hope this wasn’t too offensive. I have to have fun with it… If I don’t, I will just cry all day long. Thanks today to my newest Patron, the lovely and effervescent and amazingly kind August James. I feel so blessed to have people like her in my life.
Your biggest problem is that you like to cherry pick. Rather than actually enter into intelligent discourse, you I’m guessing, because you really do not know about the subject you are pontificating about, so you want to appear very academic and intelligent. So you ignore salient points that are made and just move on as if they had never been said. I’ll continue to follow your posts for no other reason than the internet spouts enough rubbish from the uninformed, so as and when I’ll help to put you on the right path.
I don’t know you well enough to tell you your biggest problem, Clive.
Maybe it’s coming across too kind in your writing…
Clive, I could use some help too! Do you have any “WWCD” bracelets I can wear to give me a reminder in case you aren’t available for trolling?
HA seriously what do you guys consider trolling? Anyone who disagrees with you? This is an open blog which is spouting such rubbish as I haven’t heard in a long time. I feel it is my duty to seek out such misguided blogs and actually point out what the truth is here in the real world. Apart from finding your beliefs laughable, I think you’ll find my comments have been on the whole far better informed than the author who just appears to be an attention seeker spouting and pontificating to the blind masses. No I’m not a troll. I am someone who finds it hard to stomach those who would place themselves above others and actually use his religion to do so.
Oooh, sign me up for one of the WWCD bracelets, too! What would we do without the ramblings of Clive?
Oh, and here is the definition of an Internet Troll for you, Clive. I was a little surprised to not see your picture next to the definition because this is you. Then again, I don’t know what you look like: In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement. (See Wikipedia.)
That seems about right….
One way we try to make sense of our current affairs is by looking at the past. If we do this openly, honestly and as logically as possible, we can actually benefit from the reflection. History does repeat itself. The hard part is making the correct comparison of our present state with one in the past.
It seems to me that the analogies between aiding the Jews and oppressed during WW2 and aiding the current refugees is the same. We need to help the refugees from Syria, recognizing that we may pay a great price in doing so. We also need to fight ISIS with all we can, because that is also the right thing to do.
Obama is terribly weak and ineffective but he needs to get strong fast and correct his mistakes in allowing this crisis to grow. We need to be brave and not make things worse by fighting the wrong people.
You are my hero… this is spot on and stinkin’ hilarious–and sad at the same time.
I 100% agree with this statement, Mona. And Chris, we have to laugh, indeed, or else we will just be drowning in our own tears from how pathetically sad it all is. Thank you for this.
Chris – your 1st point is my favorite. We will need to face our current actions as our future selves. Will we be proud of who we are now.
I’m doing my best to ignore the details of the Paris attacks, but I stumbled on a graphic today about the birthplace of many of the known attackers. Almost all were from France & Belgium. I think one of them was a refugee from a primarily Islamic nation. This is where everyone says “See, and one violent refugee is one too many!” The real focus needs to be on why people growing up in western nations are feeling so marginalized that they are willing to turn to violence against their own country. IMO, refusing to welcome refugees from Islamic nations is the sort of action that breeds this kind of home-grown terrorism.
I’d also like to add that many, many of the people who have washed their profiles with the French flag over the past few days are the same people who continually denounce France as a Socialist nightmare. Which proves that for many, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
I know it is not your intention, but reading your blog makes me happy I’m an atheist. I might still be a believer if I thought even a significant fraction of the “faithful” shared your views and more compassionate approach to Christianity. By the way, did you notice Utah bucked the trend? Rare opportunity to be proud of our governor
In the Bible, the writings of the Jews say over and over that the reason they were to welcome the stranger was because they were strangers in Egypt. They knew how it felt. Perhaps the Mormons also know how it feels to be the outcast…?
As a Mormon, I can tell you that is the general consensus.
Sorry, as soon as I posted that, I realized your Christian friends would use my comment as fodder and proof that you are way off base…far from it as far as I’m concerned. You are probably the only Christian voice I respect and bother to listen too…
We’re really all just a bunch of agnostics of varying degrees… Though I appreciate you saying that.
Deep thoughts. So true.
The problem is that refugees are people, not saints, and if we look hard enough we’ll find reasons not to accept any of them.
But the issue isn’t whether they’re Christian, or good enough, or even “safe.”
The issues are these: They are refugees, and they are vetted.
It’s the best we can do, to combine mercy and justice.
We ensure they go through a vetting process, and we accept them as being examples of humanity in all our flaws.
We do this in ordinary life. We don’t expect people to be perfect. We expect them to be human, we accommodate their idiosyncrasies and even their flaws, we stay alert, but we act decently towards them as much as we can.
I can’t understand a so-called “Christian” faith that limits its actions only to those who prove they deserve them.
Excellent commentary, Stephen. Thankful for like-minded people.
I was dismayed to read remarks about “murderous homeless”. One of my sons was homeless for a time as a young adult. The situation did not make him a criminal; rather, it made him appreciate any and every kindness extended to him.
Too many feelings….It feels good to think we’re helping. But national security decisions can’t be made with feelings. Common sense tells us to this is a bad idea. There are many safer ways we can help the Syrian refugees.
I read Jen’s post and was astonished at the backlash she received. Like, wow! Thanks for your blog post. There are at least 3 of us that agree on this issue.
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