Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mid-East Refugees - Exclude them or include them?

Heightened emotions make dealing with large numbers of refugees from Mid-East conflict very difficult. If our government would openly explain the planned vetting process it would help help.

I believe that trying to provide safe places for these refugees is something we must do. Surely we Christians must try to help.

At the outset we should acknowledge that no vetting process will be flawless. Some people may be kept out who are perfectly OK, and some people may be unintentionally admitted to the US who are dangerous. Still, I think careful consideration needs to be given to helping those we can.

Here are some brainstormed ideas I think might help meet the need of oppressed people for sanctuary while minimizing risk of infiltration by people hostile to the US. I am no authority. My only arguably relevant  experience is a few years in government service. Here are some thoughts.

1. Admit first the refugees who are easy to vet, like people who have worked for the US government or allied governments and have records and references to refer to.

2. In cooperation with our allies, establish places of temporary sanctuary as near as possible to original homes for those being processed.

3. Provide security and supply for those places.

4. Assemble teams of experienced intelligence interrogators to interview refugees seeking admission to the US, both to acquire useful intelligence and assure that those admitted to the US pose no risk to Americans.

5. Refugees who satisfy the vetting process and desire to enter the US  would be admitted to the US at the expense of the federal government (or if able at their personal expense) and in cooperation with state and local authorities would be resettled and given access to employment, school, etc., as lappropriate.

6. Refugees who fail the vetting process continue residing in the places of temporary sanctuary until hostilities in their home countries resolve, until countries allied with the US agree to admit them, or until they personally decide to leave sanctuary.

Again, I offer these ideas without a claim of expertise but with a desire that Americans seriously consider what we can do without exposing our country to unreasonable risk. I offer them only because I consider thoughtful approaches better than political battles between those who would summarily  exclude everyone (which is unmerciful) and those who would indulge in thoughtless admission of everyone who asks to come and has a story that invokes sympathy (which is inviting disaster).We must use our heads and hearts.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Swimming hard through an incredible amount of legal flotsam and jetsam

If I imagined modern life as a swimming competition, I would say that principled Americans are having to swim hard through an incredible amount of legal flotsam and jetsam while holding course toward the objective of ordered freedom. The Supreme Court justices joining or concurring in the decision of Obergefell v. Hodges concerning same sex marriage seem to have joined the imaginative tradition of their historic peers in Dred Scott v. Sandford and Roe v. Wade.

Friday, June 19, 2015

It is wiser to confess, "If perpetuating slavery would have meant a comfortable life for me, I would have gone along with it."

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Jesus Christ

It is long past time for the church of Jesus Christ to pursue complete reconciliation of its people, black and white. Otherwise the people of the troubled world outside the church will have good reason to doubt the authenticity of our faith and of the gospel that Jesus entrusts to us.

Reconciliation involves confession and repentance.

Looking at our American heritage from slavery, and the current reawakening of racial antagonism, I think it is necessary to put aside the defense "I never enslaved anyone." It is wiser to confess, "If perpetuating slavery would have meant a comfortable life for me, I would have gone along with it." We consume goods from other nations that enslave their people. This convinces me that acquiescence to slavery is not dead.

May God grant that in every transaction of my life I shall invest myself in valuing other people, and refrain from justifying walls of separation that devalue them. Then may the gospel of peace flow freely!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Contestant or Onlooker?

Action photography was my hobby in high school. It earned me a place on the school newspaper and yearbook staffs. This entitled me to watch football and basketball games from the sidelines instead of the bleachers, to photograph the action. It felt almost like being involved in the game. But I wasn't in the game - only watching and making images of it.