For the last month, I have had such an inner struggle to come to terms with the many varied opinions that surround the Syrian refugee crisis. Since ISIS shattered the lives of many living in Paris with its attack on innocence, I have poured over articles and prayed for wisdom. In the beginning it was all very black and white to me; refugees could come, but the states could deny them access to the state. But the more I read, the more I realized that like any other modern day crisis, you need to look through it through multiple lenses. America has long been in the business of leading by example. Even longer, Christians have been in the business of leading by love. I have been challenged to acquire an opinion that does not allow security to be my idol. My greatest hope is that as Christians, we will achieve an understanding of what happens when we don’t lead. But in order to lead, we must obtain clarity on the issues surrounding this crisis.
Faith is a journey, NOT a guilt trip.
There are some Christians that are claiming that their faith is better than others. That they, being of a more liberal mindset, have somehow achieved the highest form of Christianity. Faith is a journey, not a guilt trip. Brothers and sisters in Christ should not be actively tearing each other down by stating they are more mature in their faith. Come along side each other in idea and prayer; support and correct where needed.
Security is my idol and fear is my master.
I crave safety. As a baby I was pulled from my home, put in an orphanage and then later adopted by a loving family. In those 9 months though, my mind was redirected to care for myself rather than allow others to care for me. Growing up was a struggle as well. I craved control of situations, and struggled to process appropriate responses to situations in which I had little control. As an adult thankfully I am aware of this struggle and am actively involved in working on it. But I admit that it would be hard for me to live in a world where I have no choice; no freedom. Unwittingly, I at times have allowed the security that I live in to shroud how I view the world outside America. I have allowed fear of not having the choice to choose what happens to rule my thoughts. The remedy: recognizing that God is sovereign and will not abandon those who love Him.
Recognize a "Hakuna matata" motto to immigration is foolish.
Many people would have us consider a policy similar to an open borders approach to immigration. This kind of “no worries” politics is foolish at best. Let’s look at Romans for reference. Romans 13:1-8 tells us that the State has authority to protect its citizens and create order. This can be seen many times in the Old Testament and New Testament, where leaders would welcome those who wished to assimilate, and yet prepare to defend their people and lands from those who wished to harm them from the inside. Now let’s look at how Israel responded to the influx of immigrants and refugees in 2012. Most of the 60,000 illegals were bussed out of the country. For the refugees protected by international law, the state covered the expenses needed to build housing for them on the outskirts of the country. Refugees stayed here until they were thoroughly vetted or the conditions had improved in their homeland. America should be willing to discuss all options.
Involve yourself in the immigration reform conversation.
One way in which Christians can love on the Syrian refugees is getting involved in the immigration processes that we currently have. We currently have an exhaustive system that is tiered based on need, and relation to current citizens. Then they go through extensive screening. From there, refugees can be conditionally accepted into the United States barring they pass medical and further security checks. The horror of this process is most refugees are children or elderly. America has recently just put its first set of immigration documents online. Yes, we are behind the times and have much work to do to streamline the process.
Another way in which Christians can be a part of the voice is to support charities like the Nazarine Fund. This effort aides refugees by setting up housing, getting them jobs, teaching them the host countries language and aiding them in becoming a profitable part of the new countries society. Programs like these funded by people of faith and people of conscience are essential.
"Love is Patient. Love is Kind."
America’s border and Americans speech: How the media and generations of politicians have gotten them confused.
Isn’t it odd that illegal immigrants have come to have more rights than law-abiding Americans? Oh, sorry that was too harsh. Let me sensor my free speech so as to not offend any special interest groups. As of 2013, we are supposed to use the word “illegal only to refer to an action, not a person…”
So let me start again. Isn’t it odd that immigrants, who migrated to America illegally, have come to have more rights than law-abiding Americans?
One of the greatest lies in politics is that America must allow every immigrant to live in America, regardless of how they first came here. Let’s thank the immigration act of 1965 for this one. Now before the comments fly that I am race-baiting and xenophobic, let me say this. I find it very hard sometimes to not feel that we can do more for those who come to America seeking to have a better life. As a pundit, it’s my job to view all sides of the issue before offering my opinions. I came from a different country though adoption. Mine was done safely and legally. I have relatives and friends who have come from other countries as well. They have done them legally as well. That being said, illegal immigrants are not off to a great start. The fact is that they broke a law to get into America. Yet, we reward their unlawful arrival with free housing, healthcare, and education for their children.
On the flipside, the more people that come into the US illegally, the more lawful Americans free speech is stifled. Christians aren’t allowed to display Nativity scenes because it may frustrate Muslims, students are not allowed to wear shirts that display the American flag on Cinco de Mayo because it infringes on Mexican culture and law abiding citizens of some cities are forced to allow illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds into their neighborhoods, unwatched. Yet immigrants who come to America unlawfully, are coddled and allowed to play the victim card. They are championed because some of them overcame great hardships to arrive here and they are excused of the laws they break. So as censorship of who comes across our borders goes down, censorship of our free speech rights go up.
The media and some politicians have seemingly confused the difference between the American border and American speech. They come down hard on the taxpayer for not wanting to pay for someone else’s education and healthcare; especially someone who hasn’t arrived here legally. The great irony is that many of the people who have immigrated to America illegally, don’t actually agree that America is the greatest nation. And while America is a land of free speech and opinion, it is that specifically for its citizens. But no one is talking about this. Instead, we allow this anti-American propaganda to erode American exceptionalism. Answer me this, would this fly in England? France? Canada? What would happen if we began censoring the American border rather than free speech?
So how do we incentivize and make it easier for people to immigrate to America legally? My wish is that America continue to be a land of opportunities that can be fought for, not handed out.
Stop glorifying illegal immigration. The fact that we offer incentives to those who come here illegal is juvenile at best. Most parents teach their children right from wrong and that they must face the consequences of doing wrong. This is to prepare them for adult hood, where if they choose to do wrong, the consequences are much more severe. American politicians have slowly declined this teaching opportunity over the past 2 decades. Stop glorifying illegal immigration!
Law abiding Americans need to refuse to be stifled by special interest groups and the media. The terms illegal immigrant, Amnesty and alien are not the equivalent of the N-word. They are, in most situations, true. And when used in these situations, they are powerful antidotes to the victim card being played by the people in these situations.
Realize what makes America exceptional and then promote that in immigration reform. There are countless examples of men and women who have come here legally and are now governors of states or CEO’s of companies. They fought for their dreams, and they assimilated into the opportunities that America had to offer. Politicians need to proclaim more of these success stories. Not in an effort to shame those who have come here illegally, but to counteract our failure in allowing Amnesty a place at the discussion table. Furthermore, the media needs to cover this without opinion. Uphold your ethical code and report the facts.
"Love is Patient. Love is Kind."
"Welcome back to another round of your favorite show! "Big Government Game Show! On the blue side we have the Donkeys; on the red side, the Elephants! As usual before we start each show, let’s take a stroll down Election lane. In 1993, our winner brought you scandal in the White House. Bill Clinton! In 2001, our winner presented "dream of his father". George W. Bush! In 2008, our winner day viewed “the hope and change of America". Barack Obama! This year, several contestants will compete again for a chance to win “Big Government Game Show”. We have packed this show full of surprises, and incentives. These contestants are playing for Leader of the Free World. They will vow things like Amnesty, tax cuts, buked-up military, free education, environmental regulations, loan forgiveness and women's choice. Let's get ready to play “Big Government Game Show: 2016!"
Sound about right? How many times have you heard that presidential elections are like game shows or the Olympics? Yet, every 4 years we let the fillies out of the gate and the last one standing is the winner. The Republicans will cut the free cash to the bone, and the Democrats will make your teammates cough up the cash to fund the prizes for the winner. But even more intense is that sometimes it’s the "house" that gets the final say in the game show. In “Big Government Game Show”, we call this the Congress. But this also can translate as the American public. They ultimately have the power of the purse and oversight on foreign and domestic policies. In the last 3 game shows, they have swung like a pendulum across America, shifting the game ever so slightly from one court to another. Overall it just sounds exhausting. As a conservative, I of course would like to see a like-minded winner of this hamster wheel of a game show. So how do we achieve this?
1. Recognize and appeal to the American moderates.
In 2011, Gallup polled and found the 37% of American classified themselves as moderates. 21% were liberal; 42% were conservative. No one political ideology can win the presidential election on its own. Now appealing to moderates does not mean offering free stuff. It means compromising on policies that will benefit everyone. Bring them to the table for a conversation. Hint: don't offer free healthcare, offer employers incentives to offer healthcare. This will bolster job numbers and provide competition among job providers.
2. Don't let your character wear a mask of personality.
Have you ever seen those masquerade balls? The men and women dress up in billowing gowns and starch collared suits. But they are hidden behind a mask that usually represents there personality. Elections are about transparency. No one wants to vote for a swan and find out they are a viper. Americans crave intentionality. Hint: Let the reason why you stand for something, your character, be at the forefront of your actions.
3. Americas next generation cannot be bought.
While I appreciate the idea of free winnings, I know nothing is actually free. Therefore, no amount of free incentives will ever be my reasoning for voting for a "contestant". In fact the more they throw free incentives at me: healthcare, education, tax cuts; the more I question that there will be a catch. Eventually I just become insulted. I would like to believe that America’s youth will also find this to be so for them. With the era of professional development upon us, we have no more time for participation awards. Hint: We are not here to play kumbaya politics; we want competition. That can’t be bought.
Next year starts the first of many episodes of the "Big Government Game Show". Up till now we have just had the preliminary auditions. In order for conservatives to win big in the "house" vote, they need to seek intentionality, appeal to moderates, and stop trying to buy their way to the top.
“Love is Patient. Love is Kind.”