Today as I was scrolling through my news feed on Facebook, I came across an ad from Dr. Ben Carson’s page. This ad urged, and even pleaded with me, to sign a petition to encourage congress to stop Obama from bringing in 10,000 Syrian Refugees.
My first reaction was to reread the post to make sure that I hadn’t misunderstood. Until that moment, I had been in support of Carson. I didn’t agree with everything he had said or done, but generally I believed him to be a good choice for the next president.
I proceeded to read the comments. They included posts which said things such as “bring in the Christian refugees instead, they will assimilate better into our culture” and other comments that suggested bringing in refugees will “destroy our country”. Still others said that Obama was actively trying to harm America by allowing the Syrians to take shelter here.
America, I am disgusted with you. Americans who claim to be Christians, I am even more disgusted with you. I sat in a chair at my campus ministry’s building and cried for you. I cried for the refugees. I cried for the future of this country, and for the salvation of the many Americans who have a dangerously distorted view of who Jesus is.
Then I prayed. I prayed for those people who claim to be Christians and still believe it is okay to refuse shelter to people who desperately need it. I prayed that the compassion our president has felt for these people would be echoed by the whole nation. I prayed for Paris, because they have experienced the pain that the refugees have experienced every day for over four years.
If you think that all the refugees are terrorists, consider the facts. Do some research. When I did some research before writing this post, I found that more than 3,200 Syrians have been killed this year alone and more than 240,000 have perished since the conflict began. 12 million people in total have been affected by this crisis in some way, compared to the 1.7 million people who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. That statistic hit me the hardest. Our country had a rapid reaction to Katrina, mobilizing quickly to meet the needs of our fellow Americans and to provide shelter, food, and water to all those who needed it. Why is there a question about whether or not we should do the same for anyone else, regardless of their race or religion?
The arrogance of America will likely be its downfall, rather than its compassion. It’s incredible that the same people who voraciously opposed the legalization of gay marriage based on the belief that America is a “Christian nation” are the same people who are opposed to helping provide shelter for those who are so desperately in need of someone to save them.
Maybe it’s cliché, but I urge everyone who claims Christianity to ask themselves “what would Jesus do?” I can assure you that he would not refuse the refugees the help that they need, and he would not give preference to those of his own culture in any situation where others are equally or more in need. He would not throw a fit about someone making a decision he disagreed with, and he would not condemn him or her for it.
Change your perspective, America. Evaluate your heart, Christian America. Find your compassion, and you will likely find your hope for the future.