#Refugees who are fleeing persecution or the violence and destruction of war deserve to be welcomed. As I have stated before, it is in the National DNA of the American people to come to the aid of those who are in need, oppressed or desperate for safety. When we have failed to live up to this National instinct, we have found ourselves on the wrong side of history and later spoke of our profound regret. Take for instance, our country’s rejection of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. After turning them away, many ended up dying in concentration camps at the hands of those they were trying to escape from. We recall that time and action with shame.
Hostility toward people in need is not an American characteristic or virtue. Neither is cowardice. Historically, Americans are willing to not only speak for those in need, but we have been willing to take risks to protect them. I like to think of our country like the man who is willing to take a personal risk and step into difficult situations to protect those who are more vulnerable. It is the country that we have tried to be in my lifetime. But things are changing.
President Trump’s ill conceived, poorly executed, and legally questionable Executive Order barring refugees seeking safety in the United States, is an act of both hostility and cowardice that is antithetical to our American tradition. Americans should be appalled, but for some reason 30%-40% of us are are not. We should ask ourselves, ‘Is the extremely low probability of a terrorist entering the country a fair balance against the pain and suffering of millions of people?’ My answer is, ‘It is not.’ To let people suffer and die because we might have the slight risk of harm is not an American virtue, it is cowardice.
For a real look at the “dangerous” people that so many Americans are so very afraid of, take the time to view the documentary: 4.1 Miles. It was made by Daphne Matziaraki and has been nominated for an Academy Award. After watching it, just ask yourself, do these people deserve our hostility or should we really have such great fear of them. I hope your answer on both questions is a firm NO! Let’s tell our leaders that we can do more, bear more and be welcoming and brave Americans.
A few months ago I posted from a blog written by a woman who goes by the name JustAScottishGirl. She has spent the better part of the past 10 months working with the refugees who are coming ashore on the island of Kos, Greece. Today she posted another poignant piece reflecting on her time there and the successes and failures she has witnessed. It is well worth reading.
Memories are funny things, they sneak up on you when you least expect, making you feel want to have a little cry in the middle of dinner or making you burst out laughing when you are with…
I baptize Sawyer at St. George on July 17th. Sawyer is being held by his father with his mother and brother close by.
Being a Catholic Deacon involves a lot of things. Most of us are involved in social justice ministries, we prepare couples for marriage, we stand up for the voiceless, the poor and the vulnerable, we preside at funerals and weddings and try to always be bridges and not walls as we serve others. All that said, one of the most joyous things we do is baptize young children. I am always inspired by the spirit of holiness, welcome, happiness and peace present at each baptism. Yesterday was just such an occasion when I baptized Sawyer, the son and grandson of some dear friends. Sawyer, welcome into the great Christian community!
“Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions … We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation.” – Pope Francis
Today is World Refugee Day. It is time to show world leaders that the global public stands in solidarity with the millions of refugees who have fled their homes due to war or persecution. These are real people with families whose lives, hopes and dreams have been dramatically disrupted by conflict. Each of us can make a difference by contacting our national leaders and asking for their support to aid refugees, work to end the conflicts that have led to their fleeing and help to return them home. Your voice and mine can make a difference.
If you are like me and feel that this is the most discouraging, inane and depressing presidential campaign of your lifetime, meet someone who offers an uplifting perspective. You would do well to see the whole thing right here!!!!
In opposition to Donald Trump’s constant rhetoric against refugees, the SBC has chosen Christianity xenophobic nationalism and called for an increase in refugee resettlement in the United States. The Catholic Church and the Southern Baptists stand in solidarity on this and many other issues. Read more: SBC Split with Trump
It is easy to think of people we do not know as being strangers or the “other.” I was struck by something that Abraham Maslow said. He believes that humans have an intense need to belong, to have a sense of community with one another – in Church speak we call it solidarity. Believing that at our core we are all humans in one human family. This explains our common need to be part of families and bonds created in organizations ranging from the workplace to fraternal associations to platoons. Those refugees suffering a half a world away Continue reading “CRS Syrian Refugee Update”→
The February 6th-12th issue of The Economist has several excellent and insightful articles about the refugee crisis. Their reports are very worthwhile. I recommend reading them in their entirety. I am providing just a few excerpts here:
REFUGEES are reasonable people in desperate circumstances. Life for many of the 1m-odd asylum-seekers who have fled Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other war-torn countries for Europe in the past year has become intolerable. Europe is peaceful, rich and accessible. Most people would rather not abandon their homes and start again among strangers. But when the alternative is the threat of death from barrel-bombs and sabre-wielding fanatics, they make the only rational choice.
Since the start of the refugee crisis, we have argued that Europe should welcome persecuted people and carefully manage their entry into European society. Our views have not changed. Countries have a moral and legal duty to provide sanctuary to those who flee grave danger. That approach is disruptive in the short term, but in the medium term, so long as they are allowed to work, refugees assimilate and more than pay for themselves. By contrast, the chaos of recent months shows what happens when politicians fail to take a pan-European approach to what is clearly a pan-European problem. The plan we outline would require a big chunk of cash and a lot of testy negotiations. But it is in every country’s interest to help—because all of them would be worse off if the EU lapses into a xenophobic free-for-all.
There is an encouraging precedent, too. When more than 1m “boat people” fled Vietnam after the communists took over in 1975, they went initially to refugee camps in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia before being sent to America, Europe, Australia and wherever else would take them. They arrived with nothing but adapted astonishingly fast: the median household income for Vietnamese-Americans, for example, is now above the national average. No one in America now frets that the boat people will not fit in.