Since the attacks in Paris, I’ve intentionally posted about the plight of Syrian refugees. I’m sure some of my FB friends are wondering when this will let up – and when I’ll get back to the Daily Bunny. I’ve said it before. I’m not a one-issue kind of gal. However, how we as a nation are responding to this tragedy sheds so much light on who we are and what we trust to be important that as a person of faith? Well, it demands the bandwidth. The bunny can wait.
For me, this issue revolves around two central theological issues. The first is a form of Christian Supremacy/Dominionism. (Not familiar with that latter? Look it up. Don’t blame me for the nightmares that follow). In essence, it is the whole “America is a Christian nation” trope on steroids. It’s this stance that brings the whole idea that all of Islam is evil. The problem is, there is little support for any type of dominionism in the Bible, especially in the New Testament. Even the theological basis for dominionism (rooted in the Genesis narrative) is based on a poor translation of the Hebrew. The second is similar – it is a theology that is based on fear. Again, there is little to support this (especially for this Calvinist who professes that God alone is Sovereign).
Several conservative folks have taken on the various memes that link the plight of the refugees with the Christmas story. They have a point. Jesus *was* a refugee (the flight to Egypt) but there is nothing to suggest that the family was unwelcome there. Mary and Joseph when seeking lodging in Bethlehem were not refugees… although, it can be argued that they were seeking refuge. Memes aside, from verses about ‘entertaining angels unaware’ to the Matthean rendering of “Lord, when were you hungry…” offer plenty theological fodder to suggest that our response to refugees should be one of compassion. And, no. Sending them back to bombed out buildings is not a form of tough love any more than sending Jews back to Europe was an expression of the same. And, no. We really can’t use the excuse that we’ve got enough poor vets/children/homeless here that need our resources (it’s a false dichotomy – we should do both). Indeed… when Jesus encountered the woman from an area that now includes Syria, his response was similar.
Of course, we know the story doesn’t end there.
But she answered him, “Sir,[h] even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”29 Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.”30 So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. (Mark 7 – NRSV)
What we do next as a people will shape and define us for years to come. Surely, we can spare a few crumbs. Jesus did.