With everything that is going on in the Middle East and Paris, debate has raged on what to do with Syrian refugees who are attempting to flee the violence in their homeland. There seems to be evidence that ISIS took advantage of the refugee situation to sneak some people into Europe, and Europe seems to have exacerbated that problem with, well, laziness in vetting people who were coming in. Add the fact that the America’s immigration policies are either broken or often unenforced, and this issue is a recipe for some strong emotions.
Predictably, politicians, the media, and social media have used the refugee crisis as a political weapon to demonize their opponents. If you’re for taking in as many Syrian refugees as possible, many Republicans will accuse you of being naive, ignorant, and irresponsible with the security of the American people. If you’re for closing our borders temporarily, you’re accused by Democrats for being heartless, paranoid, and possibly even xenophobic or racist. This is why political discourse is so much fun in this country (not).
Interestingly enough, the Bible has been brought up in social media comments and memes by Christians and even non-Christians. Doesn’t the Old Testament command that believers should be welcoming and kind to the foreigner or sojourner? Shouldn’t we be open to giving them asylum, no matter what? To say otherwise is to invite personal attacks of being unloving and unbiblical by fellow Christians and, again, even from non-Christians.
As straightforward as this sounds, it really isn’t that simple. Let’s look at a few passages in Scripture about the alien or sojourner and see what application they have to this situation.