Beliefnet
Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border.

Thus said President Trump in the wake of the furor over the so-called “Muslim ban,” the Executive Order signed by the President suspending the entry of refugees, especially from Syria, and blocking the entry of visitors from 7 Muslim-majority nations: Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen.

Let me say this: I completely agree with his statement. We absolutely have to protect our citizens and our borders from everyone – Muslim or not – who seeks to do our people and our country harm. We have to know who is coming into our country and what they intend to do. That’s just common sense. No one would disagree with this.
The issue is this: banning everyone from Iraq – or Iran, or Yemen, or Somalia –  because there are some Iraqis – or Iranians, or Yemenis, or Somalis – who are terrorists smacks of discrimination. It demonizes the whole for the sins of the few. No community deserves this. What’s more, it will probably do more damage than good, as one case in point illustrates:

U.S. diplomats in Baghdad complained the ban would keep a top Iraqi general in the ISIS fight from visiting family in the U.S., stop General Electric from hosting Iraqi delegates in the U.S. as part of a $2 billion energy deal, and send the wrong signal to some 62,000 applicants being considered for relocation for aiding the U.S. during the war. That was among the possible fallout of the new policy, listed in a letter obtained by The Wall Street Journal, sent Saturday from the U.S. embassy in Baghdad to the State Department.

Yet, there is something else. Shutting the door on visitors from only Muslim countries – again, because some Muslims in those countries are terrorists – is simply un-American. It is not who we are as a people. It is not who we are as a country. Yes, there are Muslims who hate us. But we are better than they. Our values are better than their sick, twisted ideology. As our former First Lady said, “When they go low, we go high.”

Now, while I believe that our country is a beautiful secular republic wherein people of all faiths, or no faith, can live and work together in peace and brotherhood, let us grant the contention of some that America was founded upon Judeo-Christian values.

This ban on refugees, therefore, is wholly un-Christian.

Here are just some of the Biblical verses that talk about the stranger and refugees (thanks to United Church of Christ for this list):

 

Exodus 22:21 – Moses gives God’s law:  “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien; for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

Leviticus 19:33-34 and 24:22 – When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien.  The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.”

Deuteronomy 1:16 – “Give the members of your community a fair hearing, and judge rightly between one person and another, whether citizen or resident alien.”

Deuteronomy 10:18-19 – “For the Lord your God…loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.  You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 27:19 – “Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien…of justice.”

Jeremiah 7:5-7 – “If you do not oppress the alien…then I will dwell with you in this place…”

Jeremiah 22:3-5 – Do no wrong or violence to the alien.

Matthew 5:10-11 –“Blessed are those who are persecuted.”

Matthew 25:31-46 – “…I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

Luke 4:16-21 – “…Bring good news to the poor…release to the captives…sight to the blind…let the oppressed go free.”

Romans 12:13 – “Mark of the true Christian: “…Extend hospitality to strangers…”

I John 4:7-21 – “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God…”  We love because God first loved us.”

 

The Islamic tradition has a very similar exhortation to protect the stranger. Whichever way we look at it, this ban on refugees and visitors from some Muslim countries – the list of which will likely grow over time – betrays our true values as Americans and believers in the One God of Abraham. I pray that our leaders are given the wisdom to see the error of this decision.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus