Hopefully, this will be the last time I note something on this topic. I’ve been galvanized into action recently because of my faith (which is weird for me as I usually get galvanized by my politics).
You’re all aware of the current plight of the Syrian and Iraqi refugees. You’re all also aware of these additional data points related to this topic:
- Paris suffered a terrible terrorist attack last week
- One of the Paris terrorists may have come into France by way of the refugee influx
- Our country has a long history of welcoming refugees from all strifes
- This situation is eerily similar to what happened when Jews were similarly excluded from coming to America in the late 1930s
- Our Holy Father has commanded us (in addition to what we should do from general humanity and a quick read of the Bible standpoint) to do our part to help those in need
- The “stupid” season of presidential politics is in rare form
- Many of my fellow American citizens oppose anything and everything our President proposes. If he proposed putting an AK47 in the hands of every man, woman and child in America, they would oppose it. If he proposed eliminating all taxes for everyone, they would oppose it. If he proposed that snow is white, they’d argue for blue. Etc.
I find myself morally outraged to find that my CONSERVATIVE aspects (due unto others, help thy neighbor, charity, etc) are at odds with my fellow Americans who espouse conservatism simply because it is a democrat, this one in particular, that suggested it. My faith commands that I do something to help these people. We give to our church and our community already to help others in need (homeless, veterans, battered women, etc). But to hear the vicious, racist, xenophobic and ghastly things coming out of my fellow American’s mouths simply because they don’t like the president, and then pretend it’s “to keep us safe” is simply a bridge too far. Let me explain myself:
- There is evidence that one of the terrorists came in to Paris via the refugee “process” in place in Europe.We don’t know if this evidence is accurate at this time. I note that the Europeans are dealing with hundreds of thousands of people a day and there is no process – they just arrived.
- To pretend that blocking all refugees, made up statistically speaking of mostly women and children because a large portion of the men stayed behind to fight, is just nonsense. Out of 500,000 refugees in Europe, some bad apples will be in there.
- Our process is more formalized (although it takes a long time) for vetting refugees. We’re also talking about a fraction of the number of people Europe is dealing with and they are coming into the country in a controlled manner.
- To eliminate everyone at the risk of one bad person (or, as Jeb Bush suggested, only let the Christians in) is just awful.
I don’t deny that our system is perfect. I don’t deny that there is a risk. What I reject is the politicization of a human catastrophe simply to score points with the lowest common denominator of our society. It is a religious imperative for us to help. And even if you aren’t religious or think that it isn’t a religious imperative, it’s still the right thing to do.
So, lest ye think that I am just one more angry liberal decrying the acts of the republican base simply because they despise our president, my family is doing something. Despite our racist governor, we’ve decided to act. Until you’ve had a conversation about what you can do to help, instead of standing on the sidelines and whining about it or yelling because you think it’s a bad idea, you haven’t contributed anything to the national discourse. Until you’ve had a conversation about what moral, religious or political justification you have (or don’t have) to do or to not do, you’re simply just a bystander.
We, my family, have had that conversation. Over many months we’ve discussed, discerned, argued. We choose to act now, not because of that awful iconic picture of the little boy being carried from the water after drowning, not because it’s the hot button topic of the day, not because I agree with the president. We choose to act now because we are human beings. We chose to act because our Holy Father commands us to. We choose to act because, as He says: “All human beings – all of us – are important in the eyes of God.” It’s times like this politics can go to hell (along with some politicians). Go bomb the shit out of the ones that caused the carnage in Paris. As for the thousands of others that are coming here seeking a better life? Read the damn plaque on the Statue of Liberty and saddle up.
Our family has just made an appropriate contribution to The Dallas Catholic Charities Refugee Services. You can too: http://www.catholiccharitiesdallas.org/programs/res/refugee-support-services/