CGlobal issues are utterly fascinating to me. So much so that I earned a Masters degree in Diplomacy and Communications from The Patterson School at the University of Kentucky. One of the many things that I learned that still rings true today is that the world is much more complex than we can ever imagine.
How many of you have spent the time reading and researching ISIS? Have you just lumped them in with all other terrorist organizations? How many of you have spent any amount of time researching, reading and understanding the complexities of refugee migration or have you just jumped on the bandwagon that seems to be running rampant across our country?
I have to admit and state right up front I do not know all the details nor do I have time to sort through all the dynamics at play here. At risk of oversimplification I will try and unpack the challenges that are before us as an American and as a Christian.
The Islamic State is no joke. In their ideology, they are more fervent and more radical than even a group like Al Quaeda. One of their end goals is to help usher in the “End Times”. They have installed a caliphate and the rules and regulations placed on this religious and political leader are unforgiving. There is no ability to compromise in their governance. Unlike most terrorist groups they live in the open and have a very clear agenda taken directly from the Koran if you have read or choose to read the Koran you too could figure out what their plan is and why they are developing a “country”.
Their tactics are brutal and their treatment of infidels and apostates are barbaric. Which serves to create fear and disgust in the western world and recruitment material in the Islamic world. They have taken to practices of bombing, kidnapping, and public murder to further both agendas. But what most people do not understand that their modus operandi is to first and foremost purge the Islamic world of those who are not puritanical enough in their views of their faith. A similar comparison would be what if a radical christian organization arose and tried to literally live out a faith defined by Exodus and Leviticus. For example, Leviticus 18 1-28 defines every type of detestable sexual situations and ends with this:
‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people. This means that anyone having sexual relations not aligned with Levitical law would be killed. This radical christian group would be coming through each and every town cutting off everyone who was not living according to these laws. This is what ISIS is doing. They are terrorizing the Muslim people who are not in line with their 7th century hermeneutic of the Koran.
I want you to think about some simple things…could you imagine being killed for having mold in your house, for not wearing the correct clothing, for simply eating fat or blood in your meat, for having a tattoo, for wearing the wrong clothing, or for doing any amount of work on the holy day? As ridiculous as that sounds to our ears...this is the plight of the Syrian refugees.
Here we are in the United States…six months ago we crucified a dentist for killing a lion and yet we have not taken the two minutes to stop and think how one bad apple is going to stop us from letting people who have been persecuted for speaking the wrong words or wearing the wrong clothing or not saying prayers correctly. Worse yet are people who claim Christ leading the charge to deny the foreigner any level of justice. Any reading of the bible makes it clear that we are not to let fear rule in our hearts. We are to work on behalf of those who are vulnerable (widows, orphans and the foreigner literally). We are to take up their case of injustice. If fear is our modus operandi for denying Syrian refugees in our country/state then we really have to wrestle with how little faith we have or what political gains are trying to be made. .
Global issues are complex and require a deal of work to get a clear picture of what might be happening in any corner of the globe. However, as a Christian it is clear and quite simple: We are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. It is time for Christians to stop being cowards and start acting more like the man who put His life on the line for us. The Syrian refugees are not our enemies and they need our help and prayers.