France, Muslims, ISIS, and Other Things that Scare Christians

Just to clarify, Christians are not scared of France. I mean the Eiffel Tower is pretty darn phalic, but we can forgive that. What scared Christians was the same thing that scared everybody: the ISIS terrorist attack that’s still too fresh. This attacked has caused many countries to reconsider letting Syrian refugees, particularly Muslims, into their borders. But the most surprising yet unsurprising cry comes from Christians.

Let me quickly lay down a few facts: A) I am a Christian and therefore disagree with Muslim doctrine. B) I think ISIS is a group of psychopaths bent on destruction and fearmongering. C) I do believe wisdom, caution, and discretion are necessary when letting someone into your home, particularly in such uncertain times.

And now for one more fact: I’m grieved at the response of the many Christians who want to shut our doors and keep all Syrian refugees out.

Syrian

First of all, the cry seems to be against Muslims in particular. For one thing, “Muslim” does not automatically equal “Terrorist” any more than “Christian” automatically equals “Crusader.” Only God knows what’s going on inside a person’s heart, and until we see it, too, we can’t judge them. Moreover, we can’t know that someone fleeing ISIS is a Muslim, especially since Muslims aren’t the only targets.

However, let’s say I’m wrong, that every single Syrian refugee is a Muslim. Does that make it right for Christians to keep them out of our country? Many are saying yes, rather loudly on Facebook. After all, they’re Muslims. They don’t follow the One True God, and that makes them sinners. But then I ask, “What did Jesus do with sinners? Put barriers between himself and them or break them down?” Some would say, “This is different,” and to that I ask, “Why?” Why should I, a Christian, literally Christ-follower, act any differently from Christ?

If I’m kicking sinners out of my country, I’d have to be at the front of the line. I am their king, after all.  I’ve been a porn addict, just to name one of my many sins. And Jesus said to even look at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery with her (Matthew 5:28). Again, my opponent my say, “That’s not the same as shooting and bombing other people.” So I would kindly remind them of James 2:10, which says that if you break one part of God’s law, you break every single piece of it. Sin is sin, so how can I, a sinner, ban another sinner from my presence?

But it seems like these angry Christians are more concerned with safety and security than sin. How contrary to the life of Christ, who allowed himself to be tortured and executed for the sake of defeating sin!

Syrian 2

 

That seems to be the main Christian worry: if we let these refugees in, they might hurt us. Well, that’s what happens when you love somebody. Love isn’t love if it doesn’t leave you vulnerable. For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son…to be killed. And God loved us enough to give us free will even though he knew we could abuse it.

Then comes the counterargument: “It’s not just about me. It’s about protecting my family, my friends, and my countrymen from death and terrorism.” First of all, YOUR countrymen are shooting up colleges and elementary schools. Second, even Jesus, who loved his disciples and called them friends (John 15:15) sent them to their deaths! Only one of the original twelve disciples lived to an old age and he was imprisoned (Revelation 1:8). Excluding Judas who hanged himself, the others were executed. Same for Paul, Stephen, and countless others throughout history. God sent them on missions for his glory knowing full well they would die.

So clearly, God values something more than protecting ourselves and those we love, and that something is godliness. To spread the gospel, help the poor and needy, love the brokenhearted, stand up to evil and injustice, and be the Good Samaritans when the Priest and Levites just pass the wounded by. That’s God’s love in action.

And it will cost us something. The greater the love, the greater the potential for pain. But if we suffer and die for God’s sake, then we have something that can’t be killed or taken away: God himself, throughout this long or short life and for eternity after (Matthew 16:26). Don’t be so focused on this life that you fail to store up treasures in the next (Matthew 6:19-20).

I’m scared, too. I also wonder who could be sneaking in among the refugees. I don’t want to die. I have a wife and child I want to protect. But Jesus said to be his witness “to the ends of the Earth” (Acts 1:8). Why should I recoil when the ends of the Earth are coming to me? Shouldn’t we see this as an opportunity, not a disaster?

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9 thoughts on “France, Muslims, ISIS, and Other Things that Scare Christians

  1. I think… most people fail to realize that Muslims are being targeted too. Just one day before the Paris attack, 43 people (all Muslims) in Lebanon were killed by ISIS in a suicide bombing. Lebanon has also opened its doors to Syrian refugees, and continues to do so, even though it’s a tiny country.

    Locking people out is not the answer. Not at all.

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  2. Yay! I see you’re back to blogging. And I don’t have much to add to this, but amen! And I haven’t thought of it this way before: “Why should I recoil when the ends of the Earth are coming to me? ”

    I’ve seen some posts online that seem…rather xenophobic… I guess they’re worried about a possible demographic shift of some sort?

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    1. There seems to be more fear that terrorists will come in with the refugees and blow stuff up. Apparently, that’s what happened in France (haven’t researched that, just heard it). Plus, Christians are increasingly afraid of Muslims because of terrorism and things like that, and it seems many refugees are Muslims.

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  3. A couple reasons we shouldn’t bring the Syrian refugees in:

    First, we the US, are at war with Syria. Some will say we are only at war with Assad. Only partially true. In order to remove Assad we have to bomb Syrians. Sometimes innocent Syrians. And we are/were funding and arming the rebels, many of whom attacked carelessly. To give refuge to Syrians while supporting the war in Syria makes as little sense as giving refuge to Germans during WW2.

    2nd, we really don’t know who these people are, we don’t even know if they are from Syria. Syrian passports can be purchased for as little as $200. And since Syria is in the middle of a civil war, do they even have enough administrative functions to provide verification? And if they do, are they going to support us, the nation that’s trying to eliminate them from power.

    3rd, these background checks are crap. The US AG claims they are sufficient, but most likely as an attorney, she’s never run checks in her life. Background checks are a frontline law enforcement function. People who have run checks are the FBI. And the director of the FBI and 2 Assistant Directors have said checks can’t be done with any level of certainty. And these are frontline law enforcement types who spent most of their lives running checks. They know what can and can’t be done with their system, which they are responsible for in their current positions.

    I have also run background checks on immigrant refugees from Muslim countries, and the checks we run are the same we run on everyone else. There is no special terrorist check. If these refugees haven’t previously been fingerprinted by allied military, Intel agencies or state dept personnel, searches will be negative. The US did background checks on the Boston bombers, who we were warned about by Russia, and checks were negative. These checks would been for visa status and again for green cards. And of course the 2 San Bernardino bombers had at least 4 checks and possibly as many as 8 checks on the 2 of them: for the male, checks for the passport and the county job, and possibly one for each weapons purchase; for the female, checks for the visa and again for the green card. All falsely negative.

    4th, once we get them we can’t get rid of them. To deport someone basically requires the permission of the home country. First we have to prove to the consulate or embassy that the deportee is from their country. If we have no passport or foreign driver license it is an uphill struggle. Even if we do have those the consul can say no. The Armenian consulate was notorious for denying the validity of passports they issued. Our only recourse was to petition our State Dept to do something. But the State Dept never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, so they would ignore it and we were stuck with the Armenians. Will the govt of Syria, that we are at war with, allow us to return their citizens that don’t get approved for asylum by an immigration judge? Highly unlikely.

    There is also the possibility that an appeals court judge will determine that since Syria is in a state of civil war, there is no functioning govt, and therefore we cannot deport any Syrians to Syria. We can’t deport Somalians to Somalia for that reason.

    Finally it’s a matter of economics. It will cost tens of thousands of dollars per year for each refugee in the US, totaling billions of dollars, more if they are detained. If the refugees stay somewhere in the Middle East it will cost about $1000 per person, according to the UN. We can help more if we can keep, them in the Mideast. And we won’t be compromising US citizen safety.

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  4. https://sojo.net/articles/we-can-respond-isis-christians-or-americans-not-both

    I posted this article “We Can Respond to ISIS as Christians or as Americans, but not Both.” on facebook. The response I got from fellow Christian and family was this: “So, there’s groups of kids playing at a playground and having a fun time. They’re all different grade levels, all different races, and they all seem to be getting along together. Then, suddenly, a group of bullies comes swaggering onto the playground. They begin to “terrorize” randomly some of the kids playing near the slide…punching one in the gut, kicking another until he’s on the ground, etc. You are playing over by the swings and can hear the bullies yelling to this other group of kids, “We’ll keep doing this unless you choose to join our bully group!” Then, some of the bullies move on to a group of kids near the seesaws, then the jungle gym…it’s only a matter of time before they start to make their way over to your group by the swings…! WHAT. IN. HEAVEN’S. NAME. IS. THE. CHRISTIAN. THING. TO. DO?!?! I wish the author of this article could enlighten me…”
    To which I responded, rather sarcastically I’ll admit, “Shoot them of course.”
    I’m tired of having this discussion with people. Like seriously. You’ve chosen the American way, just own up to it.

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  5. I think what should scare you and all of us isn’t one particular religion – it’s religious fanaticism and radical expressions of any particular faith, regardless of what that faith may be. I’m not religious at all, and while I absolutely believe in freedom of religion I also believe that we’re seeing more and more incidents of oppressive exercise of religion to the detriment of those who, by extension of the freedom OF religion must also be guaranteed freedom FROM religion. Any doctrine or school of thought that de facto subjugates women, that preaches inequality and sees diversity not with interest but with fear, judgment and, ultimately, reacts with brutality to quash any discussion, any opposition, any dissent, is by its very nature horrific.

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