This past week I have read many comments by Christians saying that our nation must admit the refugees from Syria into our midst as that is our “Christian” obligation. Secularists make the same argument but on purely humanitarian grounds. I will not concern myself with the latter in this essay, but rather address my fellow Christians who hold the former position. I will also address the companion view that we should not be asking our leaders to, in the words of Donald Trump, “Bomb the ‘stuff’ out of ISIS.”
First, I will concede that Scripture teaches us to help the needy, the oppressed and the poor among us. Yet every one of those passages are addressing us as individuals. We are to help those less fortunate “as we have the ability.” We have the example of the Gentile churches in the book of Acts (and as recorded in 1 Corinthians) sending their collective funds to the needy Christians in the Jerusalem church. Having said this, however, it cannot be extended to government, for that is not the purpose and function of government.
Individuals form societies from which governments arise because they need a mutually agreed upon entity to ensure that everyone’s rights are equally protected. For this reason they give over to the government some of their natural rights so that justice and orderliness might prevail. In short, the purpose of our government is to protect our inalienable rights of life, liberty and property, and as is stated in the Preamble to our Constitution, to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” For the government to allow into our society those whom we are unable to vet regarding their threat to our inalienable rights is a monumental failure of its prime directive. It is also a failure for it to bring into our republic those who will not assimilate into it and adapt our values, for in so doing the very fabric of our society (and by extension our liberties) will be unraveled.
As for waging unrestricted warfare against these who are sworn to the barbarism we have witnessed over the past two decades, remember that God has throughout history used governments to punish peoples and nations. Paul wrote in the book of Romans that governmental authorities “do not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” Also, the Lord through the prophet Isaiah called the godless nation of Assyria the “rod of my anger…against a people who anger Me.” How are we to know whether or not we, the United States, are today the “rod of God’s anger” to destroy the evil being perpetrated against Christians and other innocents by these monsters?
Bottom line, if you wish to contribute to some charitable organization to assist those refugees, such is the “Christian” thing to do; but such is not the purpose of government. Its purpose is to protect us from evildoers and to punish those who seek our destruction. As Vladimir Putin, certainly no Christian, aptly put it in regards to the terrorists: “It’s up to God to forgive them; sending them to Him is up to me.” For once, I agree with Putin; if only we had a president who understood this duty as well.
-November 20, 2015