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Friday, February 10, 2017

Refugees Are Not Immigrants

In my view, we ought to use a different calculus in responding to refugees as opposed to immigrants in general. Refugees are fleeing for safety; their very lives are often on the line. They are like the man in the parable who was beaten, robbed, and left for dead on the side of the road. It was no small risk for the Samaritan to approach to help him (my father, for example, was once mugged as he tried to help a man), but he took the risk to help. Like many Americans, I am haunted by the memory of all those countries in the 1930s, including the United States, who turned away Jewish refugees (Congress rejected a 1939 bill to allow 20,000 Jewish children into the US, for example). Thus my rejection of even a 90-day suspension, as that would put many, many lives in jeopardy. The many issues this raises are addressed wisely by Matt Soerens of World Relief.
Because it's not about dealing with a crisis, immigration is slightly different. My personal view is to lean on the side of a generous immigration policy. But I also recognize the many competing goods at play in creating an immigration policy. So I'm always on the lookout for discussions that can help me think about immigration beyond the simplistic binaries of "Give me your tired, your hungry, your poor" and "Keep America safe."
One such example is "Toward a Conservative Immigration Policy" (and the whole series, for that matter). As is often the case, I find myself somewhere between conservatives and liberals on this issue, so I found some parts of this compelling and some parts unconvincing. But it gave me a lot to ponder.

A Most Amazing History
I'm not much for commemoration days, weeks, or months (they usually seem forced), but I do make exceptions. One is Black History Month, because it's about one of the most fascinating of histories. Note my article from Christian History, for example, "Defeating the Conspiracy." It never ceases to amaze me that an oppressed people adopted the religion of their oppressors.

How Rachel Carson Inadvertently Cost Millions of People Their Lives.

The Great Crime: How a forgotten American diplomat resisted the Armenian Genocide.

Against Empathy! (But for compassion).

"It is our wrong and death which is behind us, our right and life which is before us. The transition from that past to this future is our present. We are the participants in this great drama. That history is, in fact, our history. We have to say indeed that it is our true history, in an incomparably more direct and intimate way than anything which might present itself as our history in our own subjective experience."

—Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV I page 547
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

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