War breeds hate and fear. Since the bombings in France last Friday, along with those in Beirut, fear and hatred is center stage. Two terrorists are still at large and refugees continue to pour across borders from Syria. (It seems at this rate, all the Syrians will have run from the war or blown themselves up in a suicide bombing.) Meanwhile, Americans argue over the safety of accepting refugees into our states. (I wonder where these refugees are finding the money to pay for the fight.)
I have seen posts on Facebook, suggesting this is the beginning of World War III. Others compare the actions of the terrorists to the actions of Hitler. I see the possibilities in each of these suggestions. Hatred is stirring up among the nations of the earth.
Horrors of war have spread through the world over the past two hundred years, to the point no day goes by without a war somewhere in the world. In most wars, citizens have fled the violence of raging war, seeking safety in other countries. Sometimes they found safety, sometimes not. It is hard to forget the ship of Jewish refugees returned from the United States to Europe, where half were victims of the Holocaust.
Thousands of Christians suffered from prejudice in those same wars, many slain, many struggled for acceptance in a new country. Thousands of Muslims and Hindus died in the battle for India. The challenge of refugees has been a problem from the beginning of wars. Men and women of every country facing war have sought refuge for their families in safer countries.
In all the years of our earth, the commandment has been to love and serve our neighbors. Who is my neighbor? Only the family living next door? Only those living in my community, state or country? Only those of my religion or particular shade of skin? I think not. I think all religious leaders advise their followers to show love to others and give service.
Not all refugees are terrorists; most are fleeing from terrorist activities. We cannot deny a group of people refuge because of their nation of birth or their religion. That would be like fearing all white men are bombers because Timothy McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City.
The refugees need our help; they need a home free of violence and fear. They do not have a right to demand services or benefits. If there is a place for them, there certainly is a home for our veterans; if medical care and jobs are available for refugees, our veterans are as needy. These refugees can have homes, jobs, medical care, and other life necessities in line with others who are also needy.
Each one should pass a rigid background test, as much as is possible for one who has left everything behind in a battle torn home. Each should plan to accept life as it is in the United States, including our flag, our diet, and our lifestyle. They can do the same as many others, who eat what they choose without causing trouble for others; worship as they choose, without demanding special rights.
The United States has accepted people from all over the world, accepting their religions, their dress style, their choice of diet. We will continue to be accepting, though that becomes difficult when refugees and others who migrate to the United States demand we change and forget all that makes us unique.
Wars have been a part of the history of earth from almost the beginning of time. Eve saw her children fight wars, felt their hate, and probably accepted their refugees. These were her grandchildren, after all. She loved them all, but expected them to obey the laws of her community. Can we not expect the same of our refugees?
Will you be accepting of the refugees if they move into your neighborhood? Will you bring them cookies and casseroles? Will you befriend them? What will you do if they move next door to you? Please let me know.