"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ." Ephesian 4:15
It is heart-breaking to see the division and dissension in our nation over the recent Executive action placing a three-month ban on immigration from seven middle-eastern nations.
Even the Church I love and have dedicated my life to has published an official position paper opposing this action by President Trump. As much as I love The Wesleyan Church it doesn't speak for me on this issue. I want to share this article from a fellow Wesleyan pastor, Jim Garlow, that reflects my position and the rationale for that stance. While it is lengthy, it is worth the read.
After seeing a lot of the posts about the refugee ban I felt it was time for a little fact checking and clarity about this issue:
Let’s look at the FACTS:
1. The 90 day ban does not extend to Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, or (inexplicably) Pakistan. These are the largest Islamic population centers in the world. I’m not exactly sure how the connection could be made about Muslims being targeted by Trump but if you read the actual executive order (it’s readily available on CNN or online for you to read) there is no mention of any faith or for that matter any country, other than Syria. More on this later…
2. Obama implemented a SIX MONTH BAN from Iraqi refugees in 2011. No outcry there by the media, of course, because it was Obama doing it and not Trump. By the way, Jimmy Carter banned Iranian refugees during his administration, too... a specifically targeted country by an American President. Again, no media outcry there. People are acting as if this is the first time something so egregious has ever been done in modern American history. I’m sorry, but that just isn’t true.
3. The seven countries being reported by the mainstream media as affected by the ban are: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. Funny thing, though, you can’t find a mention of any of those countries (except Syria) in Trump’s Executive Order. It isn’t there. None of them.
So how did those particular countries get singled out?
Hold on to your hats here. It was done in the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 and signed into law in December of 2015 as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act by… President Barack Obama. That’s right. These countries that Trump is being castigated for “singling out” were originally singled out by an act that was signed into law by the Obama Administration. This so called “Muslim ban” was actually implemented by the Obama Administration but nobody said a word (again) because… well… it was the Obama Administration and he is a media darling. The bias of this is staggering.
4. But is it actually a Muslim ban? Nope. In the 2015 Terrorist Travel Prevention Act that Obama signed and nor in Trump’s Executive Order is there one mention of the Muslim faith. Read it for yourself. It isn’t there. It is the liberal media blowing this up into an anti Muslim ban and many are willingly feeding on the frenzy.
5. It’s for 90 days. This is to let the US border security breathe and better vet all people coming into this country. I’m all for immigrants coming to our country… LEGALLY. But if they’ve had ties to terrorist organizations then they shouldn’t be allowed. Where is the common sense among us? Shouldn’t this TEMPORARY ban be in place to make certain we’re all safe? Isn’t it worth vetting these immigrants to keep out radical Islamists who are hell bent on blowing us up and taking over the world? And what about refugees? I agree they should be able to come... again... LEGALLY.
6. The slowing of immigrants to the U.S. has been going on since the 1980’s. When Reagan took office, the number of annual immigrants was at about 210,000. (This is according to the Migration Policy Institute if you’re interested in researching it for yourself). It dropped to about 100,000 during his administration. Under Bush 41 and Clinton it climbed again to 122,000 but declined to 70,000 before Clinton left office in 2000. It dropped dramatically in 2001 (for obvious reasons) to 25,000 and has slowly but steadily climbed since then but has ALWAYS remained low (60,000 or less). It took its greatest jump in the last 2 years of Obama’s administration and (it’s interesting to note) the vast majority were from Muslim controlled countries. Trump's proposal TEMPORARILY caps it at 50,000. That’s hardly a dramatic cut and not nearly what was implemented in previous administrations. With the threats to the United States it seems perfectly acceptable to me.
7. “But the ones who committed terrorist acts in the US weren’t immigrants!” That’s not exactly correct. Many of them (including the shooter in the often ignored massacre in my hometown of Chattanooga) were children of immigrants from these countries. There is also strong evidence that many of them traveled to these countries to receive their indoctrination and training.
8. “But Trump is giving preferential treatment to Christians”. Here is where my view is admittedly biased. According to a January, 2017 report by a Research Firm in Massachusetts, over 900,000 Christians have been martyred worldwide in the last 10 years, many of those in Muslim controlled countries. They are fleeing for their lives and for the right to freely practice their religion, which many cannot do in their home countries for fear of death. Do you hear or read about that in the media? No. All that we hear reported is “All Muslims are peaceful people”. I’m sorry, that’s just not true. Radical Islam is a reality and, contrary to the previous administration’s assertion, is the most dangerous enemy the world is facing today.
And if you’re going to cite the Crusades as evidence of violent Christians, please spare me. That was in the Middle Ages and few of those Christians read nor knew what the Bible actually said. If you’re going to cite others today who supposedly are Christians but commit violence against abortion clinics and other people spare me as well. Here is the difference: When a “Christian” commits violence they are acting in a way that is diametrically opposed to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. When a radical Muslim commits Jihad they are acting in a way that is precisely in line with what is commanded in the Koran and they feel zero remorse for it.
Are there peaceful Muslims? Sure. There are unorthodox believers in every religion. But Radical Islamics have but one mission: to take over the world and convert every person to the Muslim faith or kill the ones who refuse to convert. They feel justified in lying, stealing, cheating, murdering, subjugating women (I’m consistently amazed when a feminist defends Islam), and sending their own children in as suicide bombers. This is what we’re fighting against. Negotiation will not work as they teach lying is perfectly acceptable if it accomplishes its purpose of converting infidels or eradicating them from existence. Toleration is not in their creed.
9. Last of all, It has been astounding to the point of ludicrous to hear some the same people who applauded when our country was declared a secular country now call for us to act more “compassionately Christian.” Which one is it? You can’t have it both ways.
Those who are saying it is the Christian thing to do to allow these refugees into our country and cite Scriptures of “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” and “suffer not the little children to come unto me”, let’s look at those.
First of all, to apply these Scriptures to the refugees is way out of context. “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not” was Jesus reaching out to the children for faith in Him. It would be more applicable to sharing Christ in public forums to children than to these refugees. And neither Scripture is talking about a country inviting refugees into it. It’s talking about Christians inviting them into their homes. I dare say many of the people decrying the plight of these refugees would change their convictions if it meant inviting people into their homes. Secondly, the mandate of Christ is not “allow people not like you into your country”. It is “Go make disciples of all nations.” The mandate of Christ is clearly for Christians to GO into the world and make disciples.
If all these refugees were allowed in… 100% of them…. actually… let’s double that: 200% of them, it still wouldn’t scratch the surface of poverty in the world. America can do so much more by being a safe, strong, prosperous nation and rendering assistance through financial means and missionary work than we can by simply opening our borders to everyone. That is insanity.
This temporary ban will ensure America is safer. It is the right thing to do until our vetting process is in place. Nancy Pelosi said the Statue of Liberty is shedding tears today. I would say she’s not shedding nearly as many as she did on 9/11. Legal immigration is fine as long as there is screening and vetting in place. Illegal immigration is not ok. We are a nation of freedom but we are also a nation of laws and those laws must be obeyed.
I also pray for wisdom for President Trump and his advisers that they can devise an immigration policy that will keep the terrorists out while making it easier for refugees to come to the U.S.A.