I’ll freely admit that I haven’t read any of the articles or blog posts I’ve seen about President Trump’s “Muslim Ban.” For the most part, I try to stay out of politics, and focus more on how God can use me where I am. But I do know that the United States seems pretty divided right now. With that being said, I want to share some observations I’ve made, as well as my thoughts on this recent executive order.
First off, can anything truly beneficial come from it? Believe it or not, I think so. The American people really love a good social cause to support–especially if you can “like” and “share” things on social media. We like to voice our opinion and change our profile pictures, but we don’t really do anything about it–unless of course it involves protesting (which is actually just social media in person). However, the outrage of this executive order has led to numerous American businesses to take action; they have begun donating to organizations that will help these refugees that can’t get into the country. Additionally, there is a nationwide call to action fueled by this “rebellious” idea:
If that evil Trump guy won’t help those in need, then we will!
I don’t mean to downplay the awesomeness of this recent development, but…seriously? We’ve just now realized that we can help those in need? It’s as if we’ve always expected the government to help the needy on our behalf. And now we’re upset that the government won’t help the needy for us? What was stopping us before? I’m not even talking about Christians here. I’m talking about major cut-throat corporations that are focused only on profit; I’m talking about Hollywood celebrities that often seem to be too busy living in comfort to notice those who are suffering. This is so cool, guys! Granted, this response might be happening out of spite, but it still shows a national desire to do goodwill and help those that can’t help themselves.
Now, I mentioned Christians a minute ago. Let’s talk about that. Should Christians actively support this type of executive order?
Ideally, no. The Bible gives us an insight into the heart of God, telling us to take in strangers (Lev. 19:34; Dt. 10:19), and to love those who do wrong to you (Matt. 5:43-44; Matt. 25:40). This is why I really do wish we had done something other than barring entrance into the country. You may ask, “Do you have a better idea?”
Well, actually, I think I do! As a Christian, I would have challenged all the church congregations throughout the country to take charge of the situation by supervising the relocation of these refugees from their former countries. In fact, if I were the President I would have put together an official team of church leaders that would attempt to mobilize this compassion effort. These congregations would work together to provide for the needs of these immigrants–teaching them, helping them to adjust to a new culture, even welcoming families into their homes. Sure, it may not be the safest thing for some of the Christians who volunteer for this, but Christianity was never supposed to be “safe.” This is what I think Jesus would want.
Last I checked, though, Donald Trump is not Jesus. Also not Jesus: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Barack Obama. Jesus would never have been elected anyway. For crying out loud, we killed him for preaching love, peace, and repentance the last time he was here. The government’s job is technically not “to do what Jesus would do” anyway. The whole “separation of church and state” thing kind of guards against this for the protection of the people. Please don’t use the Christian Bible to condemn the decisions of this country. After all, you wouldn’t expect North Korea to enforce the laws of the United States. It’s a different nation; it’s a different culture.
The United States is not a Christian nation. The actual Christian nation is spread throughout this entire planet–mostly growing in secret. In fact, I believe there are more legitimate Christians hiding in China right now than there are in the United States. There are even countries that send missionaries to the United States.
This is why I get confused when I see people bashing Christians, and crying “hypocrisy!” over this executive order. Christians didn’t do it. Fake Christians didn’t even do it. The American government did it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t the United States done this same type of thing before? The reasoning has always been the same: national security, and the safety of the people. If there is no way to tell who is safe and who is dangerous, then it isn’t wise to let potential threats into the country. For my anti-gun friends, this isn’t much different from trying to prevent public shootings by revoking one’s right to bear arms. The clear difference is that people are people; guns are not people.
The logic of both situations is the same: safety is vital. It is the government’s job to keep its citizens safe. This is one of the reasons why we even have elected officials. We elect them based on how well we think they can run this country, and make priorities to keep it safe. Would an “America first” mentality really all that shocking, then? As an American citizen who lives in this broken world, I understand all of this. I may not like it, but it makes sense to me.
I am not, however, only an American citizen. I am also a citizen of God’s Kingdom. Remember, these are two separate nations. This Kingdom has separate laws just like any other nation (see Matt. 5-7). It is my duty as a citizen of God’s Kingdom to represent Jesus; it’s my duty to have compassion for those who are abused, and to help those in need–all the while, pointing them to the grace that God has freely given. Anyone who claims to follow Jesus has the same responsibility. As citizens of the Kingdom, we should worry about increasing the population of that Kingdom; your government can worry about itself.
So what do we do now? How should Christians respond? The way I see it, there are two proactive options in light of Trump’s executive order:
1. If the country won’t let the needy in, then you should go to them.
This option is biblical (Acts 13:47; 1:8), and absolutely reflects the heart of God. When we meet people where they are, we have a tremendous opportunity to show them the love of Christ. There are missionaries all over the world right now doing this very thing, and there are numerous missionary-sending organizations that can help you plan this out. However, I realize that most people can’t/won’t do this. That leads me to option 2.
2. If the country won’t help the needy, then take action where you are.
This option is also biblical (Acts 2:38-47), and is a picture of what the church was always supposed to be. Find an organization that has existing ministry programs for the refugees that are already here. Maybe there is a church in your area that does this. It’s good to support these programs (whether volunteering your time, or donating money) so they can be equipped to do what you may not be able to. If you can’t find a program like this, there’s nothing wrong with starting one!
Whatever you do, don’t choose to do nothing–especially if this executive order angers you. By remaining inactive, you kind of forfeit the right to be outraged. How can you be mad at the government for doing what you are already doing?
But hey, I’m just calling it like I see it.