I’ve heard a lot of hysterical rhetoric about terrorists exploiting the Syrian refugee crisis to enter our country and do what terrorists do. Maybe it’s true. Maybe there will be a problem with it down the road. I realize that it doesn’t take many crazed radicals to do a lot of damage. We’ve seen plenty of evidence of that. But here’s the deal…
OK, so we’re scared. Warranted or not, we’re scared. I’ve heard a number of people say that it’s not about race or religion or culture, and that they genuinely care about the innocents in countries where ISIS and Boko Haram and other maniacal terrorist organizations are brutalizing people. They just don’t want to take the chance that psychopathic killers might come here under the guise of refugee status. I get that. I even hear Christians say:
“We already have more than our quota of such people among our own citizenry. Their neighboring countries should be taking in these refugees and not us. We care about them, but we shouldn’t have to care for them.”
What I don’t get is the knee-jerk reaction and lack of good old fashion Christian hospitality. And I’d have to say, well, if they care so much about “orphans and widows” (oops, did I just quote the Bible?), then they have an opportunity to do something about it. They don’t want the displaced victims of terrorism to come here. It’s just too much of a risk? OK, so they can just wash their hands of Syrians so hungry they’re eating leaves and grass?
I’ve heard it said, “Why don’t these other Muslim countries take them in?” I’m glad you asked. Turkey has taken about 2 million, Lebanon over a million, and Jordan nearly a million. Even Egypt and Iraq have taken hundreds of thousands of refugees.
“We’d do something if we could!” Wait. There is something! You don’t want them here (eating our leaves), but there are a bunch of ministries and NGOs (even non-christians get that something has to be done for fellow humans) on the ground in those neighboring countries caring for refugees. We can at least contribute to these from our relative wealth. That’s relative wealth, as opposed to our wealthy relatives – though it’s not a bad idea to hit them up for a few bucks! For instance…
I know of one Bay Area church that’s sending money to a small church in Jordan to support their efforts to help the 500 refugees that have shown up at their doors. Their money is going to provide winter kits of clothes, blankets, stoves, heating fuel, etc.
My own denomination is responding by sending money to the churches in Turkey that are ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of the displaced.
Here’s a short list of other groups showing mercy. (Of course, you can do your own research or give to your favorite mercy ministry or NGO.)
- Hand in Hand for Syria directly provides aid on the ground in Syria, including food, clothing, water, sanitation and crucial medical assistance to “help people to stay in Syria instead of fleeing to another country.”
- Global Hunger Relief channels funds through Southern Baptist missionaries to “word and deed” relief projects.
- Catholic Relief Services is providing more than 700,000 Syrian refugees across the region with urgent medical assistance, food, shelter, living supplies, hygiene, counseling and education for children.
- Migrant Offshore Aid Station is a Malta-based registered foundation dedicated to preventing loss of life by providing professional search-and-rescue assistance to people in distress at sea or trapped on unsafe vessels.
- Small Projects Istanbul facilitates access to formal education for Syrian refugees through its scholarship fund and to provide supplemental education that will assist students and families to succeed in Turkey and beyond.
I have to believe that these millions of victims of war and extreme poverty are some of the “least of these” that Jesus commands us to feed, house, and visit. So, if we’re not gonna take them in, then we should at least help those who will.
Anyone have other suggestions for good places to send support?
Some other posts that might interest you:
- Some Excuses of Not-So-Good-Samaritans
- Christians at the Border
- Don’t Come to My House!
- I Hate Your Worship!