The world is going crazy all around us and you can’t watch T.V., or even get on Facebook without another talking head shouting about the refugee status. We have people Cheering the Governors who are refusing to allow any in their state. We have people screaming at them too. We have Senators and Congressmen passing laws that have been written in fear of what happened in Paris happening here. We have Senators and Congressmen condemning those that are introducing and voting on those laws. Even as Christians we have a serious divide on this issue. I thought I knew which side I was on until a little trip to my Heart Doctor today.
Now to be open honest and fair here my Heart Doctor is a naturalized citizen, meaning that he was born outside the U.S. to non-American parents. He came here on a student visa and then took the test and became an American Citizen. He loves his country and it shows in his office. There are patriotic touches everywhere. What country was he born in you might wonder and so would I have until my appointment today. He walked in the exam room and asked how I was feeling and then asked what I thought about the situation in Paris and the results it was having here in my town. For those that don’t know we are one of the cities that are going to receive refugees 150 of them. I was honest with him and said I think we as a country have gone a bit crazy on this subject. That while I understand the fear that is feed this I have to stand by my faith too. Which tells us to help the widow and orphan. To feed the hungry and clothe those without clothes. To lift up the downtrodden.
That was when my doctor pulled his phone out of his pocket. He fiddled with it a little bit and then showed me a picture of two young girls about my grandsons ages. They were filthy and standing in front of a large green canvas tent. Like those being used in the refugee camps. They were his nieces. With tears in his eyes he told me how his brother and family have been in those camps for two years while they were vetted every way they could be so that they could come to Charleston to live near him. He explained to me how they’d had background check after background check, physicals, mental evaluations and even had the C.I.A. investigating them. Now after two years they were finally on the list to come here and be safe.
Then he scrolled a couple of photos and showed me another photo one that burned itself into my brain; a photo taken by his brother just before they escaped to the refugee camp. It was a photo of hundreds of Children shot to death and laid in a mass grave. He said to me “This is what they are fleeing. People are scared and reacting to 127 people getting killed by ISIS terrorist who were all citizens of either France or Belgium.”
Suddenly I was the one apologizing, not because I agree that we need to open our borders wide. No, because I’d never once thought about those being used a pawns in this war. People like my doctors nieces. Children who just want to go to sleep and not worry about being shot before they wake up or when they wake up.
Was my views changed by that short time with my Doctor? No not completely ,but what I did realize is that we are all reacting without finding out the facts for ourselves. Where we come down on this issue and most others I thought on my way home is all about our personal point of reference. If we close our borders to those seeking what we are supposed to have, peace and security, then ISIS wins without ever having to fire a shot. Do you honestly think that will keep the terrorist out of the U.S.? We know it won’t if they want to come here and kill then they will find a way. But I for one after sitting with the man who literally might end up with my heart in his hand one day can’t say keep those Syrian’s out not when I’ve seen those two little girls with fear in their eyes. Why don’t the media and the government tell us about all the screening these refugees are going through? Maybe because to do so would tip ISIS off to how to beat that screening. But now I know two years of screening for this one family. Maybe we need to change our point of reference before we jump to a decision. Remember the mess that made for us after September 11?
Let’s take some time and remember the poem on the Statue of Liberty and think about what America is supposed to be. “
The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“”Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”