Friday, November 20, 2015

Conservatives, like it or not, Jesus Was a Refugee.

Should the  United States allow Christian refugees and say to hell with the rest of them? It's a question almost so insulting to reply. Why? We must always remember Christ died for our sins. We, as Christians, know the gift of forgiveness and redemption. Some say the vetting process isn't as strategic as they'd like it to be; well what we do know is the vetting process takes over a year; extensive background checks. As Christians, we know the gift of mercy and we can bestow mercy onto other people fleeing war-torn lands.

Imagine you, your family scared for your lives because of the radical Muslims of whom's tenants you do not prescribe roaming the streets causing havoc to anyone, everyone who disagrees with their radical brand of Islam. So, the only realistic and rational response is to run. Running, you're running for your life, but the gates of help slammed in your face for no other reason than that you were a Syrian, cursed, and left for dead; what if you were a Muslim wishing harm to no one ever? Sorry, there's no hope for you, at least not in the West
Don't get me wrong, I understand the religion of Islam has violent tenants, but in the book there is never context. There were no footnotes, to specify the meaning. Today, a new Quran was released.which explains the violent tenants of Islam. And how the violent teachings were for a place and time, but today these teachings can be digested spiritually rather than with any physical, violent force whatsoever, but in living a life of (false) faith of Islam rather  the readers, understand the text as it was intended, and, one shouldn't take every verse literally. But Muslim radicals use clearly violent (for a time) verses and apply them to today's world, when they have nothing to do with literal violence.

We must make a decision because life is real and there are no easy answers, for a reason of which only God knows. Let's face it, we don't want to bring terrorism to America, and we don't want American jobs taken by the refugees.

*A logical hesitation is refugees might take American jobs.
*That the make up of our nation will change and the politics will be focused on the poor rather than the wealthy.
*Fears that communities will no longer represent all American traditions.
*One of the main concerns is that aid needed for the Americans will be spent on refugees rather than the poorest Americans. That you will no longer be part of a demographic majority
*Fears that Christianity will no longer be the main religion.

For the record, there is no evidence the previous grievances are remotely true. So, we must separate fact from fear.

Well, indeed the following quote doesn't indicate Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior was a refugee; I mean, that would mean we'd have to change our view of accepting peaceful folks until the war is over.
"Jesus Is a Refugee, a Model for Suffering (2:14)"
So, I am told Jesus was not a refugee; that makes sense to conservatives who do not want Syrian refugees to enter the United States. But, according to the Bible, Jesus was definitely a refugee a wonder of sorts. In fact, Jesus did not have a home in which to live. So to rationalize leaving immigrants leaving war-torn immigrants, refugees to die is not Christlike. Like it or not, we started these wars in the Middle East when George Bush illegally in blatant violation of international law invaded Iraq a sovereign nation that had not attacked us he created destabilization within the region. And destabilization that still to this day promotes sectarian violence between Sunni, Shiite Muslims, the Kurd's and the Turks.
The truth is George Bush created an absolute hell on earth for people in previously volatile parts of the world. Now we see the fruit of our works. The fact of the matter is George Bush, void of pragmatism, reshaped the Middle East into sectarian bloodbaths. We, as a country, need prayer and to mend our wrongs by doing what's right. Either making safe zones in Syria or European countries should responsibly accept refugees after a vetting process. Finally, we need to realize the Lord Jesus Christ was a refugee; he didn't speak English, was poor, and homeless. Today conservative would want Jesus dead. They would claim he's robbing the wealthy to give to the poor.

"Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph[h] got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
-Matthew 2: 13-15."

There is no question, as a child, Jesus Christ was an undocumented refugee who fled persecution. Now, conservatives will spin their wheels attempting to cast verbiage salad on the truth. But, this twist of Christ is to be expected, conservative act out of fear.

 So, God's heart is very much for the refugee. His own Son was a refugee. To the point where Jesus reiterated that, "I was a stranger and you welcomed me in." Whatever you do for refugees you do for Him. He calls them his "little brothers" as a reminder that those who suffer are to be considered as family (Matthew 25:40).

 But, according to Western media, all Muslims want us dead. As if the average Middle Easterner has America on his mind.  What I do believe is America's continued presence in the Middle East is all but self-destructive. Because we are the bigger force and we don't let bullies bully others be they Islam or Yazadi's. We do a great job of helping the defenseless and all praise be to God. But we must not forget our targeted drone strikes aren't as targeted as we say they are, which can cause resentment, understandable resentment, but their resentment should be at the terrorist, not the American's trying to wipe them off the face of the earth. So, at times, we've created an environment wherein people do not think for themselves they use the cover of an interpretation of religion that is said to be peaceful but at the same time, there are many tenants within Islam that do preach violence and intense violence at that, so we know that even though people say Islam is a religion of peace it is also a religion of war and we cannot forget that. But back to the focus of this post-Jesus was indeed a refugee no matter how much conservatives the right, the Christian Right want to exploit terminology, they want to switch to make it appear as though Jesus was no refugee, at all. When as a matter of fact, we know that he fled persecution.

As Christians, it's not our job description to make excuses to help the most defenseless people on the planet. As a Christian, I do wish more Christian refugees would come to America. Not because I believe Christianity is the true religion, which it is, but as with anyone in the country, I am scared of terror attacks, but think about this, the people coming, the people fleeing are fleeing the same evil we wish never to step foot on our shores.

The following passages from the Bible refer to immigrants and refugees.
All quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.

Genesis 3:22-24 – Adam and Eve are forced out of the Garden.

Genesis 7 and 8 – Noah builds an ark and takes refuge from the flood.

Genesis 12:1 – The call of Abram:  “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

Genesis 12:10 – “Now there was a famine in the land.  So Abram went down to Egypt to reside there as an alien, for the famine was severe in the land.”

Genesis 19 – Lot takes his family and flees Sodom.

Genesis 23 – Abraham is a stranger and an alien in the land of Canaan.

Genesis 46:1-7 – Jacob moves his family to Egypt to escape the famine and reunite with Joseph.

Genesis 47: 1-6 – Joseph brings his brothers to Pharaoh and they are welcomed and given jobs.

Exodus 1:8-14 – Joseph’s generation is gone, and the Egyptians oppress the Israelites.  “Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor.”

Exodus 1:15-2:10 – Pharaoh orders all the Hebrew boy babies to be killed, but Moses is hidden and is saved by Pharaoh’s daughter.

Exodus 12:37-39 – The Israelites were driven out of Egypt so fast they had no time to make provisions and had to bake unleavened cakes of bread.

Exodus 12:49 and Leviticus 24:22 – “There shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you.”

Exodus 22:21 – Moses gives God’s law:  “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien; for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

Leviticus 19:9-10 and 23:22 – Moses gives God’s law:  “You shall not strip your vineyards bare…leave them for the poor and the alien.”

Leviticus 19:33-34 and 24:22 – When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien.  The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.”

Leviticus 24:23 – Moses receives God’s law:  “With me you are but aliens and tenants.”

Numbers 9:14 and 15:15-16 – “…you shall have one statute for both the resident alien and the native.”

Numbers 35 and Joshua 20 – The Lord instructs Moses to give cities of refuge to the Levites so that when the Israelites must flee into Canaan they may have cities of refuge given to them.

Deuteronomy 1:16 – “Give the members of your community a fair hearing, and judge rightly between one person and another, whether citizen or resident alien.”

Deuteronomy 6:10-13 – The people of Israel are made aware that the land had come to them as a gift from God and they were to remember that they were once aliens.

Deuteronomy 10:18-19 – “For the Lord your God...loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.  You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 14:28-29 and 26:12-13 – Tithing was begun, in part, for resident aliens.

Deuteronomy 24:14   – “You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land...”

Deuteronomy 24:17-18 – “You shall not deprive a resident alien...of justice.”

Deuteronomy 24:19-22 – Leave sheaf, olives, grapes for the alien.

Deuteronomy 26:5 – A wandering Aramean was my ancestor…

Deuteronomy 27:19 – “Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien…of justice.”

I Chronicles 22:1-2 – Aliens were important in building the temple.

I Chronicles 29:14-15 – David praises God:  “We are aliens and transients before you…”

II Chronicles 2:17-18 – Solomon took a census of all the aliens and assigned them work.

Psalm 105 – Remembering their sojourn:  “When they were few in number, of little account, and strangers in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people,...”

Psalm 137:1-6 – “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept…How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?”

Psalm 146:9 – “The Lord watches over the strangers…”

Ecclesiastes 4:1 – “Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them.”

Isaiah 16:4 – Be a refuge to the outcasts of Moab.

Jeremiah 7:5-7 – “If you do not oppress the alien…then I will dwell with you in this place…”

Jeremiah 22:3-5 – Do no wrong or violence to the alien.

Ezekiel 47:21-22 – The aliens shall be to you as citizens, and shall also be allotted an inheritance.

Zechariah 7:8-10 – Do no oppress the alien.

Malachi 3:5 – The messenger will bear witness against those who thrust aside the alien.

Matthew 2:13-15 – Jesus and parents flee Herod’s search for the child.

Matthew 5:10-11 –“Blessed are those who are persecuted.”

Matthew 25:31-46 – “…I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

Luke 3:11 – “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none…”

Luke 4:16-21 – “…Bring good news to the poor…release to the captives…sight to the blind...let the oppressed go free.”

Romans 12:13 – “Mark of the true Christian: “…Extend hospitality to strangers…”

II Corinthians 8:13-15 – “It is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need…”

1). Esther Yu-HSI Lee. (17 Nov. 2015). These Christian Governors Are Refusing Syrian Refugees. That’s Not What Jesus Would Do. http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2015/11/17/3723069/governors-refugees-response/

2). Billy Kangas. (19 July 2015). Remember that Jesus was an Undocumented Child Refugee http://www.patheos.com/blogs/billykangas/2014/07/remember-that-jesus-was-an-undocumented-child-refugee.html

3). Czarina Ong. (10 September 2015). Jesus Christ was Himself a refugee, says Franklin Graham as he urges compassion for the thousands flooding into Europe. Ministries. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/jesus.christ.was.himself.a.refugee.says.franklin.graham.as.he.urges.compassion.for.the.thousands.flooding.into.europe/64400.htm

4).  Stephen Mattson. (17 Nov. 2015). Rejecting Refugees, Rejecting Christ. Sojourners. https://sojo.net/articles/rejecting-refugees-rejecting-christ

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