The debate over Syrian refugees is reaching a boiling point in the United States—at least judging by social media activity in recent hours.
With more than two dozen US governors now refusing to accept refugees within their borders over concerns of adequate background checking abilities and news that one of the Paris attackers may have entered France as a refugee, a bitter divide is beginning to emerge.
If social media is to be believed, there are two positions on the issue:
- We must accept all Syrian refugees because it’s a humanitarian issue, and the only Christian thing to do; or
- If we deny Syrian refugees, we’re denying the teachings of Christ and exposing ourselves as heartless, isolationists.
People of the Internet: can we all take a collective chill pill?
Are we really living in a society where you’re either on one side of an issue or you’re venomously dismissed? Are we really living in a time when opinions—and, more importantly, the people who hold them—are immediately categorized as good or evil? Are we really living in a country where free and open discussion is squashed by judgment in complete and quickly-leveled fashion?
Today, it feels like it.
Granted, I’m no theologian and I’m no national security expert, but I am this: human. A sinner. An American. Imperfect, and in constant need of grace.
There is room for Christian values, for love, and for humanitarianism, in conjunction with prudence, discernment, and due diligence. I’d argue that Christ calls us to do all of these things; they do not exist in a vacuum.
So, while the debate rages on across angry Facebook statuses and biting tweets, as friends un-friend friends and indignantly denounce dissidents as racist or radicals or worse, I’ll be over here trying to cling to grace.
I’ll be over here trying to be respectful of others, but unashamed of my own convictions.
I’ll be over here trying to reflect that while world events can pit our primal need for security against our desire to love as Christ loves—they should not pit us neighbor against neighbor in some bitter battle for righteousness.
They ought to drive us to our knees. It’s where the only hope, the only answer is to be found.
Deep breath, my friends. Deep breath.