Politics, Christianity, and the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Today I was planning on writing about foster care. I was going to extol the importance of families opening up homes to the “least of these”, welcoming the little children into their homes and hearts for as long as as they are with them, then either supporting them as they return to their home of origin, go to another forever family, or adopting the children themselves. This is an extremely important subject, I spend my working hours every day dedicated to creating permanency for children and as another person in my job said, “I wake up and the first thing I think about is permanency for children.” Most days that is true, and I will write about foster care this month, but today, my heart is somewhere else.

This morning, I woke up and the first thought on my mind was the Syrian Refugee Crisis.

I began mentally plan on how to get to Europe to start helping people, what agency to contact, how to get leave from work, obtaining a passport… and realized that perhaps I was not the best equipped person to go (or at least go quickly). Plus, if I go, who would do my job of finding permanency for children in foster care, people also in need of safe homes? While I am not discounting going myself, at least for a short trip, I realized a more immediate way of helping was to use my voice to speak out and my wallet to help fund those who can go now and are equipped to serve well (you know, young or retired people with time and energy, who travel well and have passports).

I hadn’t planned to write about the Syrian Refugee Crisis. I had liked other people’s posts supporting the refugees, but I was afraid to write or even share a post myself. As I have shared before, my biggest roadblock to writing is fear: fear of exposing too much, fear of offending someone, fear of multiple grammatical and spelling errors. This time the fear was different. I started to think about why I was afraid of writing about the refugee crisis. I generally am not afraid of people disagreeing with me. I am a pro-life feminist, LGBTQ ally, Evangelical, creationist. Seriously, no one agrees with me about everything and a lot of people are pretty vocal about it.  But when I started to explore that fear this morning, I realized that I felt so strongly about this issue, I was actually afraid that someone close to me, someone that I loved and respected, would speak hatefully about the refugees and I would lose respect for that person. I decided to face that fear and write anyway. If someone seriously responds with hatred, perhaps a natural consequence is a loss of respect.

I scrolled through my Facebook this morning and saw that what feels like the majority of this country is slamming the door shut on people in danger, in need, who are fleeing for their lives. I am angry about the reaction of this country, but I don’t have much sway over what the government of this country does. What truly made my heart sink, what made me feel sick to my stomach, and what made me burst into tears of frustration was my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ using their Christian platforms to say we shouldn’t welcome or care for refugees.

It is one thing to say that politically, it might be unsafe (although statistics highly dispute that).

It is another to use a Christian platform to state that we should not care for refugees.

The more experience I have with politics, the more I am absolutely convinced that the goals  of the political are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Christianity.

Politics are about power about protecting the interest of the country.

Christianity is about becoming a servant and taking up a cross and following Christ.

Politics are about gaining and keeping wealth.

Christianity is about sharing what you have and giving up to everything you have to the poor.

Politics are about gaining popularity.

Jesus said the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

Politics are about having bigger guns and a bigger army than the other guy.

Jesus said to love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you, and turn the other cheek.

Politics are about protecting the status quo.

Christianity is about an upside-down kingdom of heaven where the meek shall inherit the earth, the peacemakers are called the children of God, and those who mourn are comforted.

What really fucks up Christianity is when we mix it with politics.It is then that we see Christianity used to support hatred, fear, bigotry, violence, power, wealth, and privilege.

I don’t care about individual politics and what may or may not be right politically.

What I know is that if you are a Christian, you already have your marching orders, straight from the mouth of Jesus, who was once a refugee, when his life was threatened by a King, his family fled to Egypt.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:35-40 NIV)

 

For ways you can provide practical help to the refugees:

Five Ways to Stand up & Be the Church in the World’s Worst Refugee Crisis Since World War II