Some Common Sense On Refugees and Migrants
That group was Californians.
I am a native Oregonian and in the 1960’s and 1970’s our state was openly hostile to Californians moving here to escape what had become of their own state.
I will not recount all the actions I personally took to help the cause as I’m not sure the statute of limitations has ended on some of them.
We were afraid of Californians…afraid that they would not assimilate to Oregon culture, but would turn our state into what they had left.
Those fears were not without some merit…
Now there are more of them than there are of us and we all seem to have survived the invasion.
Today, we are witnessing another mass migration to Europe from Syria and we are being asked to receive thousands of them into our home land.
(As a side note, I find this desire to do so by our government puzzling as we have refugees from Central America and Mexico in detention as we speak.)
When the Californians came assimilation was relatively easy…they spoke the same language, ate the same foods, and shared in the cultural religions common to our country.
Even at that, there were cultural differences that led to some community hostility.
Imagine how the sudden appearance of thousands of foreign refugees with none of the commonalities of our culture is going work.
It’s not…not unless we are prepared well in advance at the community level to help do so.
I have always been an advocate for refugees and migrants.
I believe with all my heart that it is a Biblical imperative to be so.
I’m not an advocate of receiving them without clear guidelines for how they will be assimilated into the greater culture and without careful examination of their intent of coming here.
Being compassionate and hospitable does not require us to receive those who wish to harm us or who would take away the things that make us a desirable place to dwell.
Simply dumping a group of aliens into a community is unfair to both the refugees and the community and leads not to greater compassion, but real extended conflict.
May God give us the wisdom on how to love the stranger among us while being wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.