No Religious Test for Compassion

No Religious Test for Compassion November 16, 2015

“And I think our focus ought to be on the Christians who have no place in Syria anymore.” (Jeb Bush on Sunday’s Meet the Press, with similar comments on CNN’s State of the Union.)

“We need to be working to provide a safe haven for those Christians who are being persecuted and facing genocide, and at the same time we shouldn’t be letting terrorists into America.” (Ted Cruz at a press conference on Sunday in South Carolina.)

Gentlemen, your Christian privilege is showing: Your assumption that Christians are good and that Christians cannot be terrorists. Your interest in only taking care of those who you identify as like you. Your insistence upon using the term “radical Islam” while never once having uttered the phrase “radical Christianity” to refer to Timothy McVeigh or Scott Roeder or Eric Rudolph. Refugees_from_Syria_to_Sweden_04

And the President is ready to call you out on it:

“And when I hear folks say that well maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have a religious test for our compassion.” (Barack Obama today during a news conference at the G-20 conference in Antalya, Turkey.)

Bush and Cruz are reflecting the more widespread Islamophobia infecting their party, as witnessed by recent actions at the state level:

“At least six governors say they will not accept Syrian refugees in their states in response to Friday’s attacks in Paris. The governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan and Texas say their top concern must be the safety of state residents, and there is a chance the refugees include people with terrorist ties.”

In response, this morning @pastordan tweeted out a series on hospitality as a biblical mandate, central to the Christian tradition, including these:

If the bible is your thing, I’ll leave you with a few words:

“The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 10:34)

“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)

“Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” (Matthew 25:45)


Image via wikimedia commons.


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