It’s Thanksgiving time, and that always makes me think about the Pilgrims, coming to the new world looking for religious freedom. Even though they worshiped the same God as the English government and even though they had the same Bible they were not allowed to worship in their way. So they left their country, the place where their ancestors had been born and died.
This sounds very familiar to me. Sounds a lot like the Syrians who’s homes have been taken from them by terrorists who claim to worship the same God. These are families who are praying and looking for a place where their children might have the chance to grow up, to have the freedom to worship in their own way.
I had hoped that our country would have learned by now that opening our doors to those who seek refuge is a good thing. Not a thing to be done blindly (which it isn’t despite what news outlets may be saying. The refugees who are selected to come here are chosen and highly vetted they aren’t just arriving Relevant Magazine) but a thing to be done. During the Irish Potato Famine a million Irish people died, and another million emigrated from the country. When they arrived on our shores they were met with hatred, and fear. Isn’t it interesting to see almost 100 years later before entering WWII we turned away Jewish refugees fleeing from the axis powers?
With the benefit of hindsight we see these actions for what they were; motivated by ignorance and fear. What were Americans afraid of? The shear number of them perhaps, the fact that they worshiped in a slightly different way? The fear that these people would somehow change our culture? I remember learning about things like this in school and feeling ashamed of my forefathers, but always my teachers would say “It was a different time.”
What about now? Are we doomed to repeat our history? Maybe your thinking, “But these people will arrive here and expect us all to conform to sharia law. And all Syrians are Isis” That’s like saying all Christians believe what the Westboro Baptists do, or that all Christians are angry at Starbucks. It’s simply not true. These are the people that have been most affected by Isis, they are fleeing from them.
When it comes down to it Jesus said,
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
All humans are made in God’s Image. I’m not afraid of the Syrians I’m afraid of the “Irish Need Not Apply” mentality written on our hearts, and across our social media pages.
I would really encourage everyone to do a bit of digging. Below are a couple of Christian sites where you can learn the numbers and facts and some scriptures you can look up if your so inclined. I think these places are a more accurate picture of what’s going on then the 24 hour news outlets.
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/current/fear-love-and-refugees#l1FumTirCDhyQYIZ.99
Finally I leave you with this beautiful poem, and a wish for you to have a blessed Thanksgiving:
Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses Yearning to breath free,
The wretched Refuse Of Your teeming shore.
Send These, the homeless Tempest-Toss to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
– Emma Lazarus