Cautious Compassion: The Syrian Refugee Crisis

James Brown

He we are again. Caught in the middle of a raging debate that has quickly divided and then devolved into name calling and demonizing our opponents. On one side you have the zealots who are calling for a complete shutting down of our borders to keep out the crazies insisting that ISIS is hiding thousands of jihadist amongst the refugees bent on our destruction. On the other side you have calls for throwing open the doors in the name of Jesus and letting everyone stream in without regards to a responsibility for the personal safety of those we are called to protect. They try desperately to paint all refugees as widows and orphans driven from their homeland. And if you disagree with either side you are either and ignorant US-hating liberal or a people-hating bigot.

If ever there was a need for a middle ground this is it. And I believe this is where we would find our Christian faith. To be fair, I think that despite what we hear from either side, this is where most of us would fall. We need to find a way to show and demonstrate compassion for the hurting and displaced, not just because we are called to love everyone, but also because the US bears a huge responsibility for creating the refugee crisis in the first place. But this post is not about that.

We need to come together and find a way to aid refugees that includes allowing them to come to the US, but also looks for ways to help them stay in their home land. This is where they grew up and where they will feel most comfortable and at home. I believe that the US needs to be more aggressive in defeating ISIS so that there is no need for these poor people to leave theirs homes.
I realize that the US is a great place to live, and I am thankful to God that I live here, but I don’t believe that many people really want to leave everything they have and everything they are used to, journey tens of thousands of miles to travel to a foreign land with strange customs, where they will be looked upon with suspicion just because there is a Starbucks on every corner. If we believe that, we truly are an arrogant people.

That being said, we must show compassion and love for a people being driven from their homes. We must be a part of making sure they are cared for and given provision until we can make their homeland safe again. However, we should strive to do it in a way that sets up common sense protections for the people living in the US. We know that ISIS was successful in sending fighters to France. We can’t and shouldn’t deny that, but we also must not be ruled by fear or crippled by the complexity of the task before us. We must act, and we must act quickly. In order to find a solution, we need to come together. Stop the name-calling and senseless divisive rhetoric.

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