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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Friday, February 3, 2017

On Trump's Immigration And Refugee Ban

Trump's executive order (EO) to temporarily ban immigrants and refugees from 7 Muslim nations has aroused a variety of hostile responses. From my internet reading, most of the responses from religiously conservative Christians and their leaders who defend Trump's ban can be qualified as knne-jerk reactions and are caused by what could be called political tribalism. Because Trump is a Republican candidate representing conservatives, many religiously conservative Christians feel obligated to defend this order from enemy attacks because they are political conservatives. Of course, not every conservative Christian defense of Trump's EO comes from tribalism. Some of it comes from the perceived need to protect America and its interest.

A religiously conservative Christian response that provides a breath of fresh air to the discussion comes from an interview Joe Carter conducts with Matthew Soerens from World Relief (click here for Joe Carter's brief bio and click there for Matthew Soerens' bio). The interview was published on the Gospel Coalition website (click here for the interview).

The hostile reaction to Trump's EO revolves around the charge that this EO results in a, not the, Muslim ban that was once promised by Trump in his campaign.. There is significant evidence that supports the charge. This interview really doesn't address that issue. Rather, this interview addresses the need for Trump's EO and who is hurt by the order. Rather than resorting to fear mongering, Matthew Soerens, who appears very competent to answer the questions about Trump's EO and the refugee problem, gives reasonable answers supported by sufficient evidence. And what he clearly says is that this EO does not provide more protection for the US. In fact, because Trump's EO seems to reinforce the perception that the US is not concerned about the lives and welfare of Muslims, it could, according to Soerens, increase the danger some Christians outside of America face. In addition, Trump's EO can unnecessarily hurt some of the refugees by the ban.

To support the claim that Trump's EO does not provide greater protection for America, Soerens gives a brief description of the effectiveness of the current system in terms of the percentage of registered refugees who are directed to the US, the length of time the vetting process takes place, and the participants in the vetting process. We should also note that none of the Islamic terrorists who have attacked America on our own soil come from the nations in Trump's ban. In fact, Soerens makes the point that, since 1980, around 3 million refugees have been allowed to enter the US and none of them have ever been involved in a terrorist attack. Here we should note that those who give a knee-jerk defense to criticisms of Trump's EO are not aware of the information Soerens provides. Soerens also notes that the limits spelled out in Trump's EO will seriously hurt the number of remaining refugees who can enter the US during this fiscal year adding that a high percentage of those who have been admitted are Christians.

More is described in the interview than will be covered here and so people should click the link to the interview so they can read it for themselves. I also recommend sharing the article containing this interview on social media and with friends who are not aware of the facts presented in the interview.

However, we should note that this article does have weaknesses. The first weakness is that the title of the blogpost containing the interview is a bit presumptuous. The second weakness is that it does not address whether this EO by Trump qualifies as a Muslim ban. It appears that the person interviewed, Matthew Soerens, seems competent to express an opinion on that. Another weakness of the article is that, while expressing concern for the refugees of the world, it fails to mention or examine any possible connection between US foreign policies and the increased number refugees in the world. And that seems rather strange. For we should note that the majority of nations listed in Trump's ban have suffered attacks from our military and/or our attempts at overthrowing their governments. And it would be more than a cruel joke to both continue policies that increase the number of refugees and other immigrants while reducing the number of those immigrants and refugees who can enter our nation. How can we develop both effective and moral immigration and refugee policies if we don't first address American policies that possibly increase the need for people to come here to seek relief?

The interview being reviewed here is not that long. And this review does not cover the whole interview. And the reason for that is to encourage anyone reading this review to read the interview.


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