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Guest Contributor @schultzenfreude
The debate on refugee policy boiled over this week, so we're seeing lots of pictures of suffering and dead children. Senators Booker and Murphy posted the photo of the infamous dead boy on the Mediterranean seashore. America magazine is featuring the shell-shocked five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, covered in blood and dust, "pulled from the rubble... stunned and silent on an orange rescue chair."
These pictures are frightening and disturbing for everyone.
They're also useful for immigration supporters because they’re visual proof that we should help people from war-torn areas of the Middle East, and we should help them now.
Their homes are piles of rubble. As they flee, bombs are dropping around them, and bullets are flying over their heads. There is no end in sight. The refugees will do anything to escape, including risking their children's lives.
Here in the land of plenty, where the average trip to Costco costs $136, we could certainly take them in, feed them, clothe them, give them medical care, job training and a place to live.
We have to do it for the children. And we have to do it now.
Never mind that the details of the drowned boy don't quite match this narrative, or that little Omran is stunned and silent partially because the camera flash of a priceless photo op happened before he got washed and bandaged.
The left is telling us we have to help by welcoming tens of thousands of refugees into our country. If we don't, we're some horrible combination of Hitler, Cruella deVille, and Mr. Monopoly - greedy, selfish, cruel and terribly unchristian.
The rationale went from mere humanitarianism to something that’s supposed to cut to our core: "Jesus was a refugee." So if we aren't accepting these refugees, we aren't accepting Jesus. And for God-fearing Christians, that means risking the eternal damnation of our immortal souls; the separation from those we love and eternal happiness; the burning hell-fire of those lost forever to their greed and selfishness.
In other words, "It just got real."
Who is telling us Jesus was a refugee? It's not just the usual suspects like Al Sharpton and Nancy Pelosi. Prominent Catholics like New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond voiced concerns. Anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean and other Christian pastors are all beating the drum: Jesus was a refugee, and if you don't support open borders for refugees, you're guilty as hell of being a horrible Christian.
Do they think that every time someone tweets “Jesus was a refugee,” an angel gets its wings?
It's true Joseph took Jesus and Mary to Egypt to escape the execution of the male infants in Bethlehem. King Herod wanted to preserve his position and his prerogatives - he thought he could destroy this mysterious baby king before he became a threat. Jesus was taken to Egypt to avoid execution, so, technically, Jesus was a refugee.
So it's not productive to argue that Jesus wasn't a refugee. What can be argued is that an open borders policy has problems and complications that go far beyond the simple admonitions of the gospel to take care of the poor and the homeless.
This is what you can argue:
The Left Only Says “Jesus” to Advance Their Agenda
Always remember that the partisans who want you to feel guilty about refugees are the same people who support government actions like suing The Little Sisters of the Poor to force them to violate their religious beliefs. The kindly order of nuns who care for old people who are destitute and dying have been in federal court for years thanks to the Obama administration’s ham-fisted policy enforcement. This is just one example of the double standard of the left: Jesus was a refugee, but pay no mind to how we’re treating the people who care for the dying poor. Jesus was a refugee, but don’t put up a Christmas tree on public property. Jesus was a refugee, but don’t question abortion on demand.
These are the people who think Planned Parenthood is a charity, and Jesus would approve. The next time a leftist tells you Jesus was a refugee, remind them he fled to Egypt because Herod killed innocent baby boys to try to keep his throne. Fast forward 2,000 years, and Herod’s infanticide, performed in the womb, would win him Planned Parenthood’s “Top Producer” award at black tie dinners.
The bottom line: scratch the surface of leftist Jesus-talk, and you get a callous attempt at manipulating the actions and emotions of people of goodwill. It’s laughable, groundless, and tragic. But that’s not enough of an argument because we have to deal with religious leaders who favor open borders.
What About our Pastors and Bishops?
This presents the biggest challenge: how do you tell your parish priest or random Jesuit you meet on Twitter that supporting open borders for refugees is not necessarily the only position that aligns with Christian morality? The answer is more complicated:
Nations have a right to safeguard their culture, borders and people
The murders, injuries, and sexual assaults from recent migrants both in the U.S. and Europe prove that an open borders policy is making our countries less safe. One can argue that exposing our mothers and daughters to more violence and sexual assaults is uncharitable and therefore unchristian. Further, you can’t play the numbers game with this policy, which is that a relatively small amount of bad apples are acceptable in the name of charity. I doubt the families of the 14 people killed in San Bernardino would tell you that they'd like to see it happen all over again for the sake of Christian charity.
Governments will need to find better ways to review and process applicants for asylum. We have to be able to sort out Islamists and their sympathizers bent on destroying Western governments and culture. We don’t need to close the borders, but we need to be more serious about how we ensure the safety of our people.
We can’t pay for everything
Refugee policy, and the left’s obsession with social programs as a cure-all, are symptoms of a bigger problem: the idea that if we just throw more money at something we can fix it. For example, billions of dollars spent on the Department of Veterans Affairs haven’t gotten us beyond unacceptable wait times and staff performance. Vets are still dying before they can get medical care. It’s a good example when set against refugee policy: how much more is the US going to spend on aiding people outside our country when we don’t have our own programs in order?
That argument might seem hollow because of how rich our country is, but the fact is with U.S. federal government debt approaching $20 trillion, we can’t keep writing blank checks for a lifetime of social benefits. We can’t even afford the levels of spending we have today.
Want to Help? Do Something.
There’s a simple way to get past feeling guilty. The poor need help. They need hands, hearts, time, and love. If you’ve never volunteered to work with your own hands to help the poor, you will find it quickly gets you past the idea that you aren’t doing enough. Preparing meals, visiting people in jail, or being a foster parent - you’ll never feel like you aren’t helping. You’ll feel better than writing a check to a charity.
A few years back, I was buying groceries at Whole Foods, and the cashier asked if I wanted to donate to a children’s charity. I politely said no, and she smiled and asked, “Don’t you want to help the children?”
I almost lost it. But I pulled myself together said a few words about my foster baby turned adopted daughter. I don’t think she asked anyone else that question ever again.
Frankly, that question was close to what we’re hearing today: “Don't you want to help the refugees? Jesus was a refugee.”
It's a question that's hollow, false, and meant to manipulate.
If you do something, even something small and local, the left can’t guilt you into bad policy. We can’t let the left own charity or goodwill when we have it in our power to make a difference with our own hands.