Out of Options?

Someone posted this article on Facebook.

I dislike the fundamental assertions of this article and I think they’re erroneous.  It equates accepting refugees with being a Christian, as though accepting refugees is the only Christ-like solution to this bad situation.  It removes the refugees from their context, allowing us to ignore the underlying issues that are creating refugees.  It makes a shallow appeal to emotion in lieu of really examining a complex and heart-wrenching situation. It ultimately ignores the well-being and best interests of the refugees themselves – and it’s difficult to argue that you’re loving your neighbor like Jesus if you aren’t actually paying attention to what your neighbor wants and needs.

I suspect that most of these refugees don’t want to be refugees.  They aren’t looking to create a new life out of nothing.  They had lives already – established lives uprooted, disrupted, and destroyed by a brutal civil war in Syria.  The loving, Christ-like thing to do is help these people return to and rebuild their homes and lives in safety, rather than to set them up in a completely new and different culture where they and their children and perhaps their grandchildren as well will be cultural outsiders.

Could it be that the most Christ-like thing would be to center our attention on stopping the civil war that is killing and displacing these people?  That the most Christ-like thing to do would be to help them rebuild their lives and schools and infrastructure there, where they call home, rather than assuming they should recreate their lives in our culture and infrastructure?

Certainly, we need to address the real and current needs of refugees in crisis. But this should be a temporary measure, sustained until peace is established at home and they can all return there.  It’s a shame that there isn’t an equal emphasis on Christians leading the charge to resolve the conflict in Syria.  I think that would ultimately be the best Christian witness of all.



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