Jason Boyett writes: Throughout the Gospels, Jesus taught his followers to love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-44), welcome strangers (Matthew 25:40), and show mercy to those in need (Luke 10:25-37). No doubt these teachings apply to families on the run from Isis.
These passages represent only a sliver of biblical teaching on the topic, and the Christians I know don’t just believe these verses, but act on them.
Consider my conservative Republican family. We live in Amarillo, Texas, a highly religious, conservative stronghold in a very red state. Amarillo also has an abnormally high ratio of new refugees to residents – higher than any Texas city. What’s more, many in the city are on the front-lines of welcoming those fleeing war or persecution. You wouldn’t know this from the political stances of the Republican lawmakers claiming to represent Texas, or Amarillo, as their constituents.
My mother and mother-in-law teach English to refugees and immigrants at my childhood Southern Baptist church. Both women love interacting with these foreign families, many of whom are Muslims from war-torn nations like Iraq, Iran and Sudan. They have shared meals together. They have visited these families in the hospital. They have become friends.
My brother, who runs a religious nonprofit, mentors youth at apartment projects across Amarillo. In recent years, the resident base at these complexes has shifted from low-income minorities to immigrant and refugee families. This makes my brother one of the first Americans they meet – and definitely one of the first they trust.
On a typical weekday after school, he might lead activities for 15 children and hear 15 different languages. He tells me the Muslim families in particular work harder than anyone else and are more welcoming to him than anyone else. They have never made him feel unsafe.
Unfortunately, the politicians claiming to represent us don’t feel that way. [Continue reading…]