The Holy Bible in the New Testament says:
Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.‘ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Jesus never qualifies his words to say that “this person here” or “that person there” is not our neighbor. He does make it clear in the famous parable of the Good Samaritan that even those people who are hated and despised are our neighbors. Jesus leaves the inescapable conclusion that all human beings on the face of Planet Earth are our neighbors. The scripture above means serious business, and no one can run away from its demands.
After the attacks on Paris, many zealots of Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism in the United States are making it clear that hatred of all Muslims is the ice-cream flavor of the month. They refuse to concede that the Muslims who are shooting up cafes and theaters in Paris are just an extreme minority element within the Muslim world. In fact, I dare say that many of them are most likely thinking:
Only a few of those Muslims may be doing the shooting and bombing, but every last damned one of those Islamic bastards in the Middle East are sitting in front of their television sets at laughing, cheering, and clapping at all of the death and wounds they are inflicting on people in Paris. And they are coming after us here in the United States next.
These same Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals have been feeling desperate because they cannot do anything personally about the terrorist carnage. They have been feeling a need to kill and maim some Muslim butt to get their revenge too—just about any Muslim butt would do. But alas, they are not French policemen or military men, and they have a boring life and an equally boring job to go to each morning.
Then suddenly—their dream came true:
“But Wait!!! What’s this!!!??? The U.S. Government wants to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to temporarily resettle them in the United States!!!??? There’s our big opportunity for our own personal revenge!!! We can stab a knife into the backs of all those worthless, Jesus-hating Muslims by demanding that our government refuse these people entry into the United States. We can claim they might have embedded, radicalized terrorists in their numbers. Yeah!!! That’s the ticket!!! That’ll keep them out and fix their sorry Islamic butts good!!! We can get our personal revenge after all!!!
Listen up Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals—and all you other Christians too. These 10,000 Syrian men, women, and children are the “least of these” Jesus referred to in the New Testament:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)
These 10,000 Syrian refugees are your neighbors—just as Jesus said in the scripture at the top of this post—and they are those He called “the least of these.” They are ordinary people like you, your mom, and your first cousin Bill. They are homeless, tired, hungry, bereft of their possessions, and the victims of incredible violence that has killed many of their relatives and friends. Jesus loves these Syrian people, and He expects you as Christians to do the same because they are your neighbors. He expects you to get out of the way so we Americans as a whole can shelter them, love them, and meet their needs in this desperate time of trouble and need for them. If you turn your back on them in this misguided desire for revenge against individual people who have done you no personal harm, then you are turning your back on Jesus. Get out of the way, and let God’s people do God’s good work!!!!