What We Have to do to Solve the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you~ Proverbs 3:21-22a NIV

 The terrorist attacks that began last week in Paris did more than simply prove once and for all that the Middle East is not at all like Vegas. What happens there does not stay there. Their problems eventually become our problems.

 The Syrian refugee crisis is not a new issue, nor is it confined to Syria. Christians, Jews, Yazidis and some Muslims began fleeing Afghanistan and Iraq when ISIS gained a foothold in those countries after the United States military pulled out of Iraq in 2009. The Syrian conflict that began in 2011 enlarged ISIS territory and drastically increased the number of refugees seeking asylum. To date, at least twelve million men, women and children have sought protection from the carnage and genocide in the Middle East.

 The recent terrorist attacks have complicated the situation. Prior to the Paris attacks President Obama agreed to admit ten thousand refugees into the United States. When it was discovered that at least one of terrorists involved in the Paris attack entered France by posing as a Syrian refugee, the U.S. and other countries began rescinding offers of asylum. And now the fate of every Syrian refugee hangs in the balance.

 There are two positions regarding the refugees: some are compassionate, some are cautious. The cautious folks (many of them Christians) feel that allowing anyone from the Middle East into our country for any reason increases the risk of a terrorist attack on American soil. The cautious make the case that the economy is far from recovered, and refugees would put additional pressure on an already stressed system.

 They also point out that our government has an established record of incompetence when it comes to virtually every task imaginable. Most do not believe that the Obama administration should be trusted to adequately examine the backgrounds of thousands of people fleeing a war-torn country with little or no identification. Many coming from this perspective are willing to allow refugees into the country eventually. They just want some guarantees that the emigrants allowed in will be self-supporting and will not be entering under false pretenses to wreak havoc on American citizens.

 The compassionate folks (many of them Christians) believe that America is a big, generous country with many of resources. Therefore America ought to help whoever needs it. They believe that because the process to enter the U.S. takes eighteen to twenty-four months the risk of terrorists entering the country is relatively small.

 These folks point out that many, if not most of the refugees are Christians who face certain death if returned to their country of origin. The compassionate recognize the hard truth that any one of us could find ourselves in the same position as the refugees and ask what we would want done for us if we found ourselves in such a horrific place.

 Both the cautious and the compassionate have valid points. The refugees do need help, the United States should be a part of the solution, and at least some of the refugees likely pose a genuine threat to U.S. citizens. However, both the cautious and the compassionate entirely miss the larger issue.

 They forget that these refugees did not appear out of thin air. Cold-blooded adherents to a bloodthirsty death cult drove these people from their homes because they want to create a country of their own, a country where they make the rules. The religious whack-nuts responsible for the refugee crisis have enslaved countless innocents, beheaded Christians and Jews, thrown homosexuals from buildings, disfigured the faces of women and routinely rape boys and girls as young as eight. These animals cannot be reasoned with because they are, by their very nature, unreasonable beings.

 Finding a solution to the Syrian refugee crisis is going to require more than compassion or caution. It will require action on the part of Western nations, including the United States. The refugees need to be placed in safe zones (preferably in Europe) overseen by the United Nations while Western nations band together to accomplish the only truly humane option for these folks.

 We must annihilate ISIS and give the refugees their countries back. Sending refugees to Europe or bringing them to the U.S. appears to be a compassionate course of action but in actuality it only delays unraveling the real problem, which is the existence of ISIS.

 No one in his or her right mind WANTS our country to fight another war in the Middle East. Wars are expensive and there have been far too many fought on that real estate in recent years. That said, this is not a pointless war; it is a just war and it’s worth the cost. It’s time to act like grown-ups and deal with the reality we have, not the one we wish we had. ISIS and their ilk will not stop unless they are stopped. It is up to Western Nations to put an end to the madness before the poison spreads. What happens in the Middle East does not stay in the Middle East.

 

 

 

 

Five Strategies for Dealing with Persecution

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed~ 1st Peter 4:12-13

 Persecution. It’s a twenty-first century problem.

 According to Open Doors International, a non-denominational group that monitors Christian persecution, every month 322 Christians are slain solely for the offense of being Christian. Two hundred and fourteen Christian churches or Christian owned properties are destroyed. And 722 acts of violence (rapes, beatings, expulsions, abductions, forced marriages) are committed against Christians. At least fifty countries are systematically targeting Christians for extermination; in some countries Christianity is on the edge of extinction.

 Even in countries where Christians are not routinely mistreated, attitudes towards Christians are rapidly shifting. These shifts are unsettling.

 Christian speech is openly discouraged and sometimes even suppressed in public arenas. The President of the United States recently called out Christians at a prayer breakfast for “not being loving” and glibly equated recent slayings of Christians by Muslim extremists to exploits committed nearly a thousand years ago during the Crusades.

 Christian symbols are being removed from the public square for fear of offending those of other faiths or no faith.Christians who voice views outside accepted social norms are bullied and ridiculed in public forums and have in some cases lost their livelihoods. Many predict that that Christianity or at least some forms of Christian speech will be criminalized in the near future.

 These developments have left Christians anxious about the future. Many are uncertain about what to do for Christians who are experiencing persecution in other countries. There are at least five things Western Christians can and should be doing in these tough times to prepare for the future and help others experiencing persecution.

 #1 Refuse to Panic

 This is not the time to become unnerved, unsettled or weird. Panic benefits no one. Christians have been persecuted in the past and we will be persecuted in the future (1st Thessalonians 3:2-4). This is a time to put our trust in God and put every effort into bolstering our faith through deeper prayer, study, service and friendships with other Christians.

 #2 Commit Already

 Many American Christians have a rather feeble relationship with Jesus. The typical self-identified “committed Christian” attends church an average of 1.5 times per month, does not read or study the Bible regularly, pray, follow Christian teachings, or contribute to Christian causes. None of these behaviors are prerequisites for salvation, but they do reveal commitment level. If your relationship with Jesus looks more like a casual hook-up than a committed relationship, today is the day to get off the fence and start taking your faith seriously.

  #3 Live a Consistent Life

 Everyone agrees that Christians should treat non-Christians with kindness. However, unkindness is not the only only misstep that hurts the cause of Christ. Lifestyle choices inconsistent with biblical teaching, sexual atheism, hypocrisy, publicly bashing Churches and tearing down fellow Christians create just as many issues as unkindness or lack of love. Christians who consistently live inconsistent lives make it easier for unbelievers to rationalize the mocking and mistreatment of Christians.

 #4 Get Out There

 This is not the time for Christians to retreat into their own little worlds. Locate a reliable news outlet and read up on the issues. Find out who your legislators are and contact them regarding issues that concern you, especially issues regarding religious liberty and oppression of Christians around the world. If the legislators in your state don’t care about these issues, work to elect new ones.

 #5 Pray

 Prayer is a neglected discipline. Christians should pray more often, and rethink the substance of our prayers. Most prayers tend to be focused on physical and financial needs rather than the spiritual. God cares deeply about our physical needs but He is truly moved when we ask Him for wisdom, spiritual understanding, and hearts inclined toward repentance. Prayer is the most powerful and consequential thing we can do for persecuted Christians around the world. They need us to pray that they will have peace in the midst of their trials, the strength to endure the pressure, and relief from their tormenters. They pray for us; the least we can do is to return the favor.

 Jesus never promised that life would be easy. Nor did He promise that everyone would like us or grasp our motivations and message. This period of history is shaping up to be one of those times when Christians are misunderstood and sometimes even hated. This is not the time for retreat or compromise. This is a time to deepen our commitment to our God and trust Him with every thing we’ve got.