BK Magazine BK Currents
Posted by Katie Swalm, Editorial and Digital Intern.
Katie is the Editorial and Digital intern at Berrett-Koehler, a third year student at Westmont College, and a habitual overcommitter. She currently lives and writes in San Francisco.
Today, I stumbled across a site on my newsfeed. “Google Fortunetelling,” the link told me. I clicked on the site, intrigued, and somewhat expecting a legitimate answer to my question, because Google know all.
As soon as I start typing into the search bar, the site starts to complete the question for me, saying “Where can I find a safe place?” Immediately afterwards, I am directed to a page that says “OF COURSE WE CAN’T PREDICT YOUR FUTURE. But 60 million refugees ask themselves every day if they have a future at all.”
The page, while different than my original expectations, brought to the forefront of my mind the crisis of millions and millions of displaced persons in crisis. Visitors to Google Fortunetelling (not a Google creation, but by a Dutch company committed to raising awareness,) could take action, like donate or share the page on Twitter and Facebook.
I will be upfront about my views at this point - I believe the United States should accept these refugees, and I am disappointed that the conservative right - the side that considers Christian faith in their policy - has has not given a unanimous YES when considering this issue. In fact, there has been pushback from many members of the church, which is disturbing to me. I will also be upfront about the fact that I am a member of said Christian church.
In fair consideration of all sides, several events may provoke fear responses in those opposed to accepting refugees:
One, the recent Paris attacks by the Daesh; two, the San Bernardino shootings in California by a radicalised man and his wife; and three, the 9/11 attack which provoked Islamophobia among the general public. These events are absolutely tragic and in no way excusable.
However, as a manifestation of these fears, presidential candidate and Republican Donald Trump recently called for a “total and complete shutdown” on all Muslim immigration to the United States. It’s rightly being called out as a complete lack of respect of human rights and a humanitarian failure, and contrasts his refusal to address other safety concerns in the US - namely, gun control.
Donald Trump fortunately doesn’t have power to make decisions on the fates of the refugees - but unfortunately, many other people in power have adopted similar viewpoints - over thirty states elected to ban these refugees from entering the US. They, without the Federal government don’t any power to do so, as proven by Texas, who has now settled eight refugees within its borders, and Obama plans to resettle 10,000 refugees by February.
It should be noted that only about 2.3% of refugees that the US will accept are Syrian, and about 22.8% of those are men (according to this site), as opposed to the 77% that Ben Carson said.
It is strange that those who are hoping to lead the country from base beliefs of nationalism and Christianity and yet choose to ignore what is written on the base of the Statue of Liberty, below:
Refugees are the least of these. We cannot push them out now, at the risk of abandoning our faith.
We have a terrorism problem already - and it is not coming from outside of the country.
All refugees are not Muslim, and all Muslims are not radical - proven through the billions of Muslims that live peacefully, and opposed to the violent, radical minority that disagrees with their faith. We experience violence from radical Christians within our country on a higher level than we do from radical “Islam”.
We should address these issues first and not project our fear of outsiders onto innocent people, especially as a church community; we should be the first ones to open their doors to refugees.
As Renee Stearns, who works with World Vision, writes in her blog ‘Welcoming Their Former Enemies,’ says:
Lebanon has taken in one million refugees into their country of 4.5 million people. This example of radical love and acceptance is modeled in Christianity. My hope is to see American Christianity, especially in its leadership, practice aligning with the actual teachings of faith, instead of a paradigm of fear of the outsider.
We have the power to make a change for good. Let’s hope we (all) do it.