(image via Pixabay)
Let me give you the boilerplate again: Steel Magnificat does not endorse any presidential candidate this time around, because everyone with a snowball’s chance supports grave sin as a major part of their platform. I know that, in this political climate, you can’t speak against one grave evil without being accused of supporting another, but them’s the breaks.
Now, I need to talk about a meme. I’ve seen this meme at least four times today and it’s not even Noon. For all I know it’s been faked, but as far as I can see from squinting at it very hard, this meme was shared approvingly by Donald Trump, Junior, on Twitter.
Due to some outfit calling itself copyright law, I can’t just copy and paste the meme to my blog. I’ll have to describe it for you. The meme shows a bowl of candy which is alleged to be Skittles, but all the Skittles are upside down so that the “S” is obscured; it’s clearly a stock photo of generic candy bits. The text, in white against a patriotic red and blue background, says “If I had a bowl of Skittles and told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? Trump Pence Make America Great Again!”
Now, the photo is of generic candy bits and the grammar is so bad I seriously doubt this got past an actual advertising rep, so I’m sure that Wrigley’s did not okay the use of their product and brand name in this meme. I’ll let you know if I find out I’m wrong.
I have heard similar metaphors, using M&Ms or a box of bon bons, to describe the world’s current refugee situation before. It’s been going on for a year or two, so if the Trump campaign is officially using this meme they can’t be blamed for coming up with the idea for it. It’s just something people say, a less diabetic-friendly version of “one bad apple spoils the whole barrel.”
I’d like to speak to all people who think that way; or, at least, to all people who think that way and call themselves Christians, whether they support Trump or not. If you tend to think of groups of people according to the candy metaphor, I need to talk to you.
Guys: you do know that refugees are human persons, right?
You do know that human persons aren’t products for our consumption and use. Right?
I know every metaphor is imperfect; you’re just speaking figuratively and all. You’ve never eaten a human being and you don’t mean it in that way. But this is a very dangerous way of accustoming yourself to thinking about refugees. Because, right now, the refugees you’re talking about actually are being treated as products for consumption and use by all kinds of people. These people are desperate to get to safety and they have no way of getting there without help. That means they have to trust anyone who seems like they can help, and that leaves them extremely vulnerable to predators. Right now, the men, women and children in that metaphorical candy dish are being kidnapped and trafficked by the people they trusted. They’re being sold faulty life rafts for a profit and sent to sea in them. They’re living in hell and they’re dying, because evil people think of them as products. And if they stay in their own countries, they’re being murdered, because evil people think of them as consumables.
People are not generic candy bits. People are not brand-name candy bits; they’re not even exquisite and expensive candy treats. People are the icon and the tabernacle of their Creator. People are my brothers and sisters, your brothers and sisters. I am allowed to protect myself against threats from my brothers and sisters, if they try to harm me– always with the minimum necessary force and always with the hope that they might become people with whom I can live in peace. But I can never, for any reason, even in my mind’s eye, treat them as things for my personal use. I can never think of them as objects to discard if they don’t profit me.
Even if they are going to kill me.
After all, the One whose seal all Christians bear, is the One who was voluntarily killed by human beings, rather than do them any harm. He became food and the antidote to every poison, so that we might become whole again.
I answer to Christ. I’m not to fear the ones who can only kill my body and not my soul. I am to love them. I never said it’s easy; it’s more difficult than I can express. But it’s required of me, and it’s required of you.
Imagine a candy dish full of human beings. All of them are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Some might be dangerous or try to kill you. All of them will suffer and most of them will die if you don’t get them out of the dish quickly. Now, tell me, what will you do?