CHRISTIANS CAN SOUND LIKE TERRORISTS when you get them talking about a controversial topic that they’ve already settled in some part of their head.
Not all Christians. Maybe not any real Christians. But certainly some who call themselves Christians.
I saw that happen in response to Tuesday’s blog article about the Syrian refugees: Christians not afraid of getting blown to kingdom come.
I had reminded readers that the Bible says we should take care of the people in our world who are most at risk—especially orphans, widows, and immigrants.
I have Christian friends who make a case for keeping the Syrian refugees out of America. Their arguments come from reason, common sense, and an instinct to survive. But I have yet to hear an argument that comes from the teachings of Jesus.
Still, our disagreements are stated politely.
Some disagreements with others aren’t stated so kindly—especially in social media, which sometimes deserves another name: antisocial media, smash mouth media, Yo Momma media.
I’ll not quote the Facebook comments I got from one gent whom I had to ban because of his mean-spirited message. There’s too much staccato anger in the cadence and the texture of his words. It kinda hurts to read them, especially because he says he’s a Christian.
But he’s a Christian who says he’s tired of people using the Bible to guilt him into doing what he knows is stupid and dangerous—like letting Syrian refugees into this country “with a bunch of terrorists.”
Then he changed the topic and said:
- I probably don’t care about homeless vets
- President Obama is a Muslim
- we need to think first about the safety of our own people
“You don’t care about homeless vets.” It’s not wise to presume we know people when we don’t know them. My Bible study group is part of a ministry that feeds the homeless and the working poor.
“President Obama is a Muslim.” He is a practicing Christian who was raised by a Christian mom and who worships now with a Southern Baptist minister. Repeating misinformation that Obama is a Muslim is a practice right out of Hitler’s book Meine Kampf (My Fight).
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it often enough, it will be believed.”
Lots of Christians are believers of that misinformation about the President.
“The safety of our own people.” There’s vetting, which is smart. And there’s “Katy, bar the door!”
Jesus made it incredibly clear what he thought of people who ignore folks who are hurting. We can read it in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
Here’s the take-away: A pagan who shows mercy to people in need is more like God than the holiest Holy Moley who ignores them.
If we’re going to look out for “the safety of our own people,” we’ve got to recognize that the Syrian refugees are our own people. We are their neighbors. We bind their wounds. We take them to safety. We give their caretakers money to help them through the healing.
There, I did what I got accused of doing. I used the Bible to guilt people into “doing something stupid.” Like taking a risk to help people who have lost everything, barely escaping with their lives.
I know there are good and godly Christians on both sides of this tough topic.
I would ask that when they discuss the matter, they quack like a Christian.
PS. The Facebook posting gent later sent me 25 posts, all with the same hostile message, written under a different name, starting with the sentence “You pious pharisee,” and threatening to write negative reviews about every one of my books.
Even books he hasn’t read?
He said he’s not mean-spirited.
For more about quacking
- Fine art of criticizing
- Christians not afraid of getting blown to kingdom come
- How to bless someone’s soul before we kick the bucket
- “Criticism,” The Complete Guide to the Bible, Student Edition, page 40
- “Judging Others,” Complete Bible Handbook, page 154
Free books for Christmas
I’ve got some fresh, giveaway copies of A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible.
They are not for you. They are for someone you know.
If you know of someone who might find this easy-reading intro to the Bible helpful, but who wouldn’t be able to afford it or who probably wouldn’t bother buying a book like this, shoot me an email with their name and a sentence about why you’d like me to send them a free copy.
Once I get the list together, I’ll get back to you and ask for a mailing address.
I’ll send out as many free copies as I can, in time for Christmas. I’ve already sent out a bunch. I’ve got a bunch more to go.
Fear that the latest wave of immigrants and refugees will destroy America is nothing new. It seems like each generation has a new group to “fear”. The children of Europeans who emigrated in the mid-twentieth century were just as fearful of the Asian “boat people” who appeared in the 1980s as other Americans had been of their parents a few years before.
In fact, the reason kids say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning (or at least they used to) is because, in the mid-nineteenth century, a wave of Irish Catholic immigrants had Americans so fearful that they would destroy society that they thought forcing their children to pledge their allegiance to the flag every morning was the only way to ensure their loyalty to the American way of life.
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks Steve. That’s interesting and relevant history that I didn’t know about. Still, most Americans it seems don’t care much about history…and are doomed to repeat it.
A seminary prof friend of mine, David Wesley, posted this note yesterday:
I once believed that somehow civilization evolved and that we were moving toward a more just society. In light of current discussions of hate toward others, however, I am reminded that every generation must revisit the issues of slavery, civil rights, racial or gender inequality and every generation must reclaim peace and love, even toward those that we do not understand. To quote a recent article that I saw: “how much easier it is to live in a world of black-and-white in which I can assign the label of ‘other’ to someone and use him as a vessel for all my fears and insecurities.”