People across America are scared, and rightfully so. We have always trusted our government to keep us safe from atrocities such as those brazenly embraced by Middle East radicals set on destroying the world as we know it. Unfortunately, due to our government’s limited involvement against the ISIS threat, America’s trust is wavering. American citizens, some of whom have never owned a hunting rifle much less a handgun, are arming themselves in record numbers, not because they are suddenly enamored with guns, but because they are scared for their safety and the safety of their families. They still trust in the ability of the men and women in the armed services to protect them; however, they no longer trust Congress or the President to unleash those men and women to do the job they were trained to do – protect American citizens!
A consequence of this fear is that we, a nation of refugees, are primed to turn our backs on the Syrian refugees fleeing for their lives; people searching for a haven for their families. Some call it “common sense” to shut out the Syrian refugees, and considering the senseless murders of 911 and the recent murders of defenseless innocent people in Paris, it is hard to argue against that point. Even so, in taking such a common sense stand, are we selling out what is morally right? Is such a stand what Americans do when confronted by an evil that goes against everything we value and believe, or is such a stand simply un-American? It is understandable that we must be cautious, and we must take steps to ensure the safety of American citizens, but is it morally right to turn people away who are trying to do the very thing “common sense” Americans are striving to do – protect themselves and their families?
Should the United States allow Syrian refugees to enter the country is a troubling paradox. Americans are a compassionate God fearing people who believe in God’s commandment to love our neighbors and care for our fellow man. However, our government’s inability to effectively handle the ISIS crisis has paralyzed our compassion and hardened our hearts out of fear of becoming their next victims. The terrorists have accomplished their goal of striking fear into the heart of America. As a result, we are poised to close our doors to Syrian refugees as we did in 1939 to Jewish refugees on board the SS St. Louis seeking sanctuary from the Nazi murderers. In 1939, our fear sent nearly 1,000 men, women, and children back to Europe, where half of them died in the Jewish Holocaust that followed. Seventy-six years later, will our fear once again send the innocent back to death’s door, or will we trust in God, and accept the Syrian refugees as our second chance to do what is right?
©Jack Linton, PhD. November 17, 2015