immigrants & refugees.

Where do I live? What does my country stand for? What Christianity are we invoking? What is the future of the faith I hold so near and dear?

I’m an immigrant in my own native land. I belong to a kingdom that is both here and now and coming. The kingdom of God. It has no political allegiance. There is no binary. The only item on the agenda: love. The party platform, summed up in Matthew 5 when President Jesus lays out what it means to be a follower and participator in The Way.

Two events this week have truly caused me to take pause and really think. I’m not rocked. I’m not overcome by fear. I maintain an ever resilient hope. But I am a bit shaken and stirred.

To ask the government to reexamine the use of torture truly is remarkable. Regardless of what benefit it may provide, this truly is against all it means to be human, to be decent. Claim to be atheist, agnostic; no interest in religion whatsoever–I can understand this position. To beat the drum for the cause I go to work for every day and believe it lines up with Jesus, that’s beyond the pale.

Bless those who persecute. Pray for your enemies. Turn the other cheek. This is the Jesus way. Never have I encountered a single instance of, “Raise the stakes. Torture them till they talk. Treat your enemy as subhuman.”

Then the executive order to ban people from Muslim countries, enact a religious test and suspend the entrance of refugees from the US. Here’s some cold hard facts: A study conducted by the libertarian Cato Institute found that between 1975-2015, the United States admitted approximately 700,000 asylum-seekers and 3.25 million refugees. Four asylum-seekers and 20 refugees later became terrorists and launched attacks on US soil.

“The chance of being murdered in a terrorist attack committed by an asylum-seeker was one in 2.73 billion a year,” wrote the study’s author, Alex Nowrasteh. “The chance of being murdered in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee is one in 3.64 billion a year.”

Compare that with the fact that guns were used in 11,078 homicides in the U.S. in 2010, comprising almost 35% of all gun deaths, and over 68% of all homicides. On average, 33 gun homicides were committed each day for the years 2005-2010.

In 2015, there were 35,092 motor vehicle deaths. Yet I don’t hear calls for banning guns or vehicles anytime soon. In fact, the very side proposing these unprecedented bans–of people, believe more guns should be available.

It’s a sad day and a sad state of affairs when we value objects, things over people. If we’re simply weighing risks and in the name of “keeping America safe” making these decisions, look no further than guns, vehicles and while you’re at it, maybe our environment and food supply. But to exclude people in the name of safety and worse yet in the name of Jesus is the very essence of anti Christ. Friends, following Jesus ain’t safe.

What do I do from here? Where do we go from here? Continue to be ever skeptical of “the establishment”. Be wary of partisan politics. The solution doesn’t lie in an elephant or donkey. No legislation can truly bring about the Jesus way. Only the prophetic declaration of what Jesus stands for.

Work for peace. Work for justice. Work for human dignity. All life is sacred. All people are created in the image of God. To devalue or think otherwise of humanity is to spit in the face of our creator.

This is the representation of Jesus the world is waiting for.

Until I die I’ll sing these songs
On the shores of Babylon
Still looking for a home
In a world where I belong

Where the weak are finally strong
Where the righteous right the wrongs
Still looking for a home
In a world where I belong

Feels like we’re just waiting, waiting
While our hearts are just breaking, breaking
Feels like we’ve been fighting against the tide

I wanna see the earth start shaking
I wanna see a generation
Finally waking up inside

On the final day I die
I want to hold my head up high
I want to tell You that I tried
To live it like a song

And when I reach the other side
I want to look You in the eye
And know that I’ve arrived
In a world where I belong

-Jon Foreman

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