Thanks for printing! Don't forget to come back to Herman Cain for fresh articles!
What does the Bible really say about taking in Syrian refugees?
Not what the left, the media and quite a few Christians would have you think.
It's always problematic when you look to the mainstream media and other left-wingers for an understanding of what Scripture says. To listen to them, you'd think Jesus was concerned with little more than sending checks to the poor, installing solar panels on roofs and surrendering to any and all foreign enemies.
That's why it's been easy for those who only crack a Bible when they're looking for something to justify an agenda to claim that "Christian compassion" demands we take in Syrian refugees without regard for the potential threat of ISIS terrorists who slip in among the crowd.
Is that what the Bible actually says? Of course not, and David French does a nice job of getting the conversation started over at National Review:
Indeed, Scripture draws a clear line between the responsibility of the individual and the role of the state. Individuals are to forswear vengeance, leaving justice to earthly rulers as God’s “agents of wrath” who bring “punishment on the wrongdoer.” The state has an affirmative responsibility to protect its citizens, even to the point of bringing a sense of “terror” to those “who do wrong.” There is no contradiction between personally welcoming the “strangers” among us while our leaders endeavor to protect us from a genocidal terrorist force that uses refugee status as a shield and disguise to perpetrate brutal attacks against innocent civilians.
This is not to say that Scripture creates a paradigm of compassionate individuals and heartless governments. Throughout the Bible, entire nations — not just individuals — are condemned for injustice, including unjust treatment of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. But to say that the only way to meet that standard is to open our doors to migrants when we know our enemy intends to plant terrorists within their ranks is once again to read far too much into Scripture.
French is quoting Romans 13, which lays out clear lines of responsibility for governments - particularly the imperative to protect the innocent from wrongdoers. Now that might seem to contradict Luke 10, in which Jesus teaches the importance of being a neighbor to someone in need, even if that someone comes from an enemy camp.
But there is actually no contradiction. As liberals often do, they take directives aimed at individuals in the Bible and try to make them the responsibility of the state. More than that, they insist that the only way the directive can be fulfilled is in the manner they prefer.
What was extraordinary about the actions of the Samaritan in Jesus' parable is that Samaritans and Jews typically would not associate with each other, yet in this case the Samaritan who found the Jew beaten alongside the road picked him up, tended to his wounds and brought him to an inn - where he instructed the innkeeper to look after him and even paid the bill. And yes, that is absolutely the sort of love and compassion to which we are called as Christians, even when we're talking about someone we typically regard as an enemy.
But it's important to recognize a couple of things. First, the Samaritan did not take the man into his own home. He paid the bill, but he did not in any way put himself at risk of harm from the man. Even more importantly, the Samaritan made a free choice of his own will to help the man.
What the left wants to do in the case of the Syrian refugees is use the power of the state to force an entire nation to welcome people into their midst without any effort to ensure that members of ISIS with evil intentions were filtered out. That's not compassion. That's national suicide. And if you think God wants nations to commit suicide, just skim through the Old Testament and consider the many instructions He gave to Israelite kings to attack foreign armies - even killing and plundering those they conquered. When it came to warfare, God instructed the kings of Israel to be pretty ruthless in dealing with their enemies.
The Syrian refugee situation is a tricky conundrum because there surely are many among the group who have no evil intentions and genuninely need help. America should want to help. But there are ways to do that without risking our own security. It would make more sense for them to be resettled in majority Muslim countries anyway, and we can do a lot of things to support that process.
But the responsibility of government is to protect its people from harm, and the government is well aware of the fact that previous terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by people who slipped in as refugees or asylum-seekers. Knowing full well that this one of the enemy's tactics, and doing absolutely nothing to prevent them from succeeding at it, is not "Christian compassion." It's a dereliction of duty.
We can help and we should. But not by putting ourselves in jeopardy. If individuals are called by the Lord to take a risk and help a potentially dangerous person, then those individuals should trust the Lord. But for the leaders of our nation to decide that we all have to take that risk is neither scriptural nor moral. It's just plain wrong.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!