We shouldn’t let fear keep us from helping others.
There’s a famous line C.S. Lewis’ classic novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in which Mr. Beaver is asked by a child if Aslan—the lion who represents God in the series—is safe.
“Safe? … Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Mr. Beaver wasn’t warning the children about Aslan hurting them (that’s an important distinction). He was telling them that they would be asked to do things that would put the needs of others ahead of their own; to trade fear of the unknown for trust in the unseen; to suspend their doubts and rely on faith.
It’s a powerful line. And right now, it seems more relevant than ever.
Misconceptions About Refugees
This week, governors across the U.S. and several presidential hopefuls said they did not want refugees from Syria to be resettled in the United States.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Congress would vote on legislation that would effectively suspend the program that allows families from Syria—escaping violence, oppression from ISIS and a civil war that has displaced millions—from finding refuge in the U.S.
Their motivation for such dramatic action—which would deprive 10,000 Syrian refugees from receiving a new life in the U.S.—was remarkably singular: Fear.
The terrorist attacks in Paris, which left more than 120 dead, stirred up fears that similar incidents could happen in other parts of the Western world. But while fear is a rational, human response to this sort of news, we shouldn’t allow that fear to prevent us from helping others who are fleeing terror themselves.
The lawmakers and politicians proposing to suspend the refugee program were responding to groups of voters who were afraid that by letting in refugees, ISIS terrorists would infiltrate the homeland.
This, of course, is in spite of the fact that the 10,000 refugees selected to come to the U.S. would be highly vetted through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Defense Department, the State Department, Resettlement Support Center, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and would be selected because they are among the most vulnerable families who have fled the war.
Statistically, many of the concerns are simply unfounded. As Rep. Xavier Becerrapointed out, of the 750,000 refugees resettled in the U.S. since 9/11, not one has been arrested on domestic terrorism charges.
The example of the Boston bombers is inaccurate, because they were not refugees. Their parents sought asylum, which means they came to the U.S. and self-identified as victims of political, social or religious persecution in their home countries. The 10,000 refugees, on the other hand, are being intentionallyselected and brought to the U.S. They aren’t simply arriving here.
The other ironic fact that seems lost in the fear that ISIS will use the refugee program as a sort of “Trojan Horse” to sneak their way in is that these individuals coming the U.S. are the ones directly affected by ISIS. They are the ones whose lives have been ruined by the Islamic radicals. They’ve seen the reality of the evil of ISIS firsthand.
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