Refugees, part 2: A “Social Gospel” revival

Whatever is your take on the Good Samaritan (as discussed in part 1), it’s important to remember that the Samaritan doesn’t use a government agency in his aiding of the traveler. He doesn’t use universal healthcare to doctor the wounds. He doesn’t thieve from the innkeeper or compel through legal force that his fellow Samaritans provide continued care for the injured man.

The Samaritan does it himself, without coercion and with a loving heart. And if I recall the 10 Commandments correctly, I do believe that stealing is a sin. Scripture doesn’t command the immorality of theft, nor can I find anywhere the encouragement of the mass importation of vast swathes of people who are religiously, ethnically, or culturally different into a territory just because Evangeleftists say so.

In spiritual terms, we’re all exiles from the House of the Father, just like the Prodigal Son. We’re all foreigners and refugees in this life, and we won’t be home until we’re reunited with Christ in Heaven. But if the refugee activists are going keep pushing literal and “relevant” phraseology to meet their political ends, I can play that game.

The Bible does outline ways in which to treat “a foreigner residing in local lands” (see Exodus, for example) and refers to handling aliens “fairly under the law” (like in Leviticus and Deuteronomy), but says nothing about bending the law, making special rights for certain people, or morphing society to fit foreign influence.

To me as a Christian and a libertarian, it’s obvious that these are simply calls for individual kindness and that charity is a personal thing. It’s not some collective effort subsidized by the taxpayer. It’s private, small-scale, heart-to-heart.

When the Christian ethic is allowed to unfold organically, without government meddling, and without loud-mouth popes and evangelical mini-popes dictating the parameters of worthy causes, Christ-like beauty resounds. People, when left to their proclivities, are amazingly kind and generous to one another.

So, if a believer wants to be of service to Syrian refugees, the most immediate way to impact their desperate situation is to go to them, instead of wasting everyone’s time lecturing all of America about the Biblical merits of wide-open borders and how U.S. citizenship is a human right.

You don’t have to go into Syria, as did Kayla Mueller, the Christian humanitarian-aid worker who was kidnapped in Aleppo in 2013, and was eventually tortured and killed by ISIS in 2015. Definitely understandable. But you could volunteer your time and energy at a refugee camp in the surrounding region.

Another option is to privately sponsor a refugee for resettlement in your community or host a refugee family that’s already in the U.S. Both could be done individually or as group charity through your church or a reputable non-profit or foundation. Of course, personal financial support is always an option. Review of ratings at Charity Navigator prior to donating money is always advisable.

My point is, why compel 320 million citizens to do your charity? Don’t outsource your heart-felt calling to assist those in need. Don’t steal from your neighbor to cover the cost of the good works you want to do. Go do it yourself. And by all means, don’t castigate people’s faith and motives when they call you out on your faulty logic. That just isn’t a Christ-like thing to do.

But why all this sanctimony from many in the church? I believe it stems from something I refer to as a “Social Gospel revival”: a resurgence of the Protestant progressive-era movement, whose big-government, anti-liberty tenets were borne of socialism and laid the groundwork for statism to flourish throughout the 20th century.

Just like the temperance-movement zealots, who coerced their religious works onto others through federal law, and then righteously chastised anyone who dared resist their efforts, today’s refugee crusaders want to legislate their version of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

It’s the exaltation of works, not worship. Proving, not peacemaking. Sociology, not salvation. It’s a New-Deal mindset applied in modern times. It’s missing the mark.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive,” wrote C.S. Lewis. These “omnipotent moral busybodies … will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.”

The social-gospel folks exhibit selective outrage. I don’t remember hearing much from Evangelical bigwigs when Southeastern mountain towns were ablaze with wildfires this fall, nor do I hear any chatter about the fact that more white people are killed by cops than blacks (237 more dead whites in 2015 and twice as many in 2016).

But the ultimate object of the evangeleftists’ compassion isn’t Black Lives Matter, though, or LGBTs, or even feminists. It’s refugees, especially those of the Muslim variety. Support the “huddled masses” irrespective of any social, cultural, financial, spiritual, and physical harm that this federal “charity” may cause for your Christian brethren, your neighbors, and refugees themselves, and you’ll be propelled into the super-Christian stratosphere.

But let’s take a closer look at some assumptions made and emotionally charged language used during this debate. First off, what is a refugee?

“Refugee” is defined as “a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean he stays permanently in the foreign land, much less one half way around the world.

The revivalists like to proclaim that “Jesus was a refugee,” but Jesus, Mary, and Joseph’s exile in Egypt was temporary. They eventually went back to Israel after Herod’s Massacre of the Innocents ended.

Christians often employ the word “sojourner” in their rhetoric, but a “sojourn” literally means “a temporary stay.” Again, the Bible verses cited as proof of the revivalists’ point simply call for godly people to treat the sojourner well and lawfully when he’s in the foreign land.

So, brass tacks: what we’re talking about today is “immigrants” and social-justice do-gooders using government force to subsidize mass immigration. Period. If they’re so into statism, let’s unpack a few issues.

Most importantly, there wouldn’t be a refugee crisis if the U.S. didn’t engage in rampant foreign interventionism and continually utilize the doctrine of “humanitarian war.” Is it any wonder that the U.S. butting its nose into everyone’s business – with the pretext of pre-emptive action to uphold a supposed American interest, to come to the aid of an alleged ally, or to help save people from some oppression or atrocity – leads unavoidably to new wars and the birth of new enemies to humanity?

See how the pretext for everything is emotion?

Resistance to perpetual war and its domino effect would be a great start to helping displaced peoples. In fact, I used to be sympathetic to the refugee-activist position because I figured, “Hey, if we weren’t always mucking up that region, there’d be no crisis to begin with. So, the least we can do is take in some refugees.”

But government does all sorts of nasty, immoral things that I don’t support and don’t want to fund, so why band-aid the problem? Instead, why not have the response be an outpouring of people, taking to the streets, demanding an end to the military-industrial complex and the Deep State which foster systems and policies that create refugees?

The refugees, in turn, can be assisted more efficiently through the private sector, instead of messily and expensively by the very thing that causes this disorder in the first place: the plutocrats and oligarchs in Washington, D.C. If only the social-gospel revivalists could take more literally the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

In “Refugees, part 3: Jeffersonianism reinvigorated,” I discuss some of the historical and political aspects surrounding immigration.

Liked it? Take a second to support Dissident Mama on Patreon!

Comments

    1. Post
      Author

Leave a Reply