I’m a second generation Vietnamese-American. My parents came to the U.S. in the late 1970s after they had to flee the North Vietnamese when they came into Saigon. Both of them eventually were sponsored by two great families in a small Pennsylvanian town called Oil City, where they were willing to open their homes to individuals who they knew nothing about and to show them love and support. My parents could have been Viet Cong for all the families knew, but they took the risk anyway. I’m so thankful that they did.
As I heard the news break out that many states in the U.S. were closing their borders off to Syrian refugees, it really irked me that they were doing this, giving their reason as “We’re just protecting ourselves from any attacks like the ones in Paris” or “Well, we don’t have the resources to support the homeless citizens here, how can we support these refugees?”
I’m also a Christian. I know Jesus loved everyone, regardless of them being a friend or an enemy. He even said it on his Sermon on the Mount: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:43-45)
Many of these governors proclaim their faiths as Christians. They say they love Jesus and God and give their lives to Him. Yet, their actions clearly don’t speak in the same way they love Him as they reject those that need our help, just because they fear that one of those refugees could be like one of those suicide bombers in Paris.
Jesus didn’t reject his love or choose not to offer his help because they were sick, poor, a prostitute, or anything else for that matter. He didn’t care what someone’s status was. He loved people unconditionally. Even when he was nailed to that cross by his enemies, He told God, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:33-35) If we’re truly followers of Christ, shouldn’t we do the same? Shouldn’t we show the same love to those refugees as much as we do our own friends and family, whether it be through financial aid or even opening our own borders and homes?
The reality of all this is by closing the borders, the enemy wins. Refugees have no place to go and to not give them a place to seek that refuge, the enemy takes pride and joy knowing that. They know their work is being done and their actions have put fear into us. After the attacks on Paris last Friday, French President François Hollande spoke to the mayors of France and told them that they’ll continue to take on 30,000 refugees despite the events and the seeds of doubt. He called it a “humanitarian duty” to help them. He received a resounding ovation. Yet, here we are in the United States, relatively unaffected by those attacks and closing our borders, doing it out of fear.
If we truly say we’re in Christ, then it needs to be more than just saying “I’m a Christian.” We need to show it in our actions as well. These actions, however, are just a slap in the face to not only the principles of this country, but a slap in the face to God as well.
EDIT – I guess I should specify more about the two families. The major sponsor was the Lutheran Church, but two families were particularly kind and took in my parents as though they were family.