So in the midst of all these executive orders being signed by President Trump, Christians and non-Christians taking sides; Americans and non-Americans taking sides, one of my good friends in West Asia asked me a pertinent question:
I assume there's a point where you may say you do not support a policy even if it came from Prez Trump? I wonder where that line is for you..
My response was: I am waiting for that line too. At this point, I just see the lawlessness of the past catching up with the present.
That's a really good question. Like I said in my previous blog, I was not a Trump supporter but accepted it because I truly believe that God has appointed him for such a time as this.
Many people are up-in-arms about the current temporary ban on the refugees' entry into the United States of America. There is also a deep concern about temporarily banning the green-card holders who have legal residence and work in this nation. Christians are being told that they are operating out of fear or lack of love and compassion if they would not accept the refugees. I refer to two links for your information:
1. This link begs the question: Where were the protesters when former President Barack Obama banned all Iraqi refugees for six months in 2011?
2. This second link is from Pastor Jalil Dawood, a refugee himself and his view on President Trump's executive order. It is a must read since it is written by someone who has gone through the pain and suffering, the entire process of vetting and entry into the United States of America. https://worldrefugeecare.org/statement-world-refugee-care-president-jalil-dawood-president-trumps-executive-order-refugees/
As a Christian who is not an United States of America citizen, I tend to look at this issue as a case in high tension like the tight rope-walker who probably has the confidence of walking on the tight-rope but everyone else looking at him or her is afraid or in awe, both experiencing a jaw-dropping stunt.
As a Christian, and as someone who has ministered to Muslim and Christian refugees from Afghanistan and Iran, and now who are my personal friends, I feel for their plight though I probably do not understand the intensity of their plight. Their testimonies are horrific, sad, inspiring and our emotions are on a roller-coaster. These refugees wish to get to a 'safer' place so that they can begin their new lives. The ones I have met were in a 'safe zone' outside of their home country, but still had to wait up to 2-3 years and more to get passage to their asylum country. There are a lot of processes and vetting that needs to happen, apparently. In reality the refugees, who have shared with me, still yearn for their country and they are very sad to leave their loved ones, to see the wickedness that rage in their beloved land and to know that they will likely never return to their original home again.
The beauty of it all is that Christians in the 'safe zone' country reached out and continue to reach out to them in compassion and enthusiasm. The refugees are treated like family, coming into the homes, worshipping and fellowshipping. I had the pleasure of attending a celebration party when a couple of families got their visas to travel to the asylum country. It was a huge dance party and everyone was happy that someone was approved.
I love the refugees I have personally met. In one case, three beautiful women who were awaiting their visas decided to return home because they sensed that God wants them back in their land. Our hearts broke upon hearing their choice but we needed to accept and respect their call by God. The women have returned, they are showing God's love and we are praying for their safety and courage to keep standing for and with Christ.
Let us not forget one more point which the Apostle Paul teaches us in Galatians 6: 10.It is not wrong to look out for the family of believers first. If we cannot take care of our own, how can others understand and trust that we can take care of them too?? Don't we apply this concept in our own families? Do you not take care of your children first - we do know that it is a God-given responsibility.
On the other hand, I am looking at the bigger picture with regards to this executive order to temporarily ban refugees and green-card holders from the seven countries:
1. First of all, this was not a lone decision by one man although he is putting the signature to the order. Let us think logically: it is a team of advisers, policy-writers and implementers who would need to discuss the matter before the main guy signs it off. It is meant to be for a short time so that certain extreme vetting procedures can be put in place.
2. And it sure does not help anybody in the United States of America when there is an intention to introduce and effect sharia law, unless of course, you agree to sharia law.
Technically, no refugee can demand to enter any country. Visas are given and one can hope that out of good faith, entry will be granted. But only a citizen of the country has that right to demand entry if he or she is denied this right. We do need to respect each country's sovereign power, law and order. And that respect begins with the people of the country.
*Note that you can find many more links or videos related to Sharia law in the United States of America. Just search for it.
3. This decision, while sadly affecting people and families from the seven countries, does not affect many more from tens of other nations who come into the United States of America to begin new lives. The vast majority who hold green-cards are not affected.
But let me not belabor point by point. David French from the National Review has done a great job in articulating the facts. French points out some crucial points related to immigrants that should calm all citizens of the United States of America:
Indeed, given the terrible recent track record of completed and attempted terror attacks by Muslim immigrants, it’s clear that our current approach is inadequate to control the threat. Unless we want to simply accept Muslim immigrant terror as a fact of American life, a short-term ban on entry from problematic countries combined with a systematic review of our security procedures is both reasonable and prudent. However, there are reports that the ban is being applied even to green-card holders. This is madness. The plain language of the order doesn’t apply to legal permanent residents of the U.S., and green-card holders have been through round after round of vetting and security checks. The administration should intervene, immediately, to stop misapplication. If, however, the Trump administration continues to apply the order to legal permanent residents, it should indeed be condemned.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444370/donald-trump-refugee-executive-order-no-muslim-ban-separating-fact-hysteria
Do I have any questions? - you bet I do! So, why aren't other Middle Eastern or South Asian nations supporting and contributing towards terrorism joining the Sensational Seven? So, it is not a Muslim ban, is it?
So, where will I draw the line with regard to any of Trump's policy? - the question put forward by my dear friend.
I think of my own country, tiny Singapore, where leaders make decisions and there are people who are not happy with the decisions and there are people who welcome their wisdom. Time usually tells if something is working or not. Or if someone is right or not.
And it is a leader's responsibility to either improve on or reject altogether after analysing the consequences of the decisions. The clear problem here is that no one is interested in giving the Trump administration time to do their job. Every unhappy anti-Trump person, including those from nations outside of the United States of America, are very quick to channel their focus on the worst part of his addresses.
Sometimes I think of the critic, if you can do the job better, why didn't you sign up?
Honestly, I want to say that it is good that I need not draw a line to any of Trump's policy decision as I did not vote for him and he is not my President.
But as a Christian global citizen who has been and continue to pray for President Trump, his administration, the people of the United States of America and against the obvious divisiveness and raging media attack on the new administration, I think that I will draw the line, after much prayer on the following possibilities:
A. If national security is compromised and effectively puts citizens and guests of the United States of America in danger.
B. If murder of life in the womb is considered normal. This is the most wicked thing that anyone can do.
C. The Constitution is opposed, freedom of religion is mocked and sharia law is allowed to take root.
.....and I guess I could go on but I will stop with the above three.
Meanwhile, it is my responsibility and the responsibility of all Christians to continue to pray for the leaders to make wise decisions and not slander them explicitly or implicitly. And we do need to understand that God loves both the refugees, green-card holders and the leaders who made some decisions about them. We also need to understand, and this I agreed with my dear West Asian friend, that sometimes, we need to agree to disagree with respect and love intact.
Blessings my friends,