bcf screen captureI recently created a Facebook page for the AGC Refugee Sponsorship Initiative and invited many of my Facebook friends to like it. One of them, a parishioner from a church I pastored at almost 19 years ago, responded by sharing a web page with me (click on the image to enlarge a screen capture of it) and asked me, “Are these the people that the AGC want to bring into Canada?”

I know that not everyone is convinced we should bring Syrian refugees to Canada, so I thought I'd share my response to him in case some of their concerns are similar.


 

Dear D.W.,

I read your question (“Are these the people that the AGC want to bring into Canada?”) and visited the “Muslim ‘Migrants’ Raping Women and Children in Camps in Germany” page you shared with me.

Though you have not stated exactly whom in that article your question pertains to, since you sent it in response to my invitation to like the AGC Refugee Sponsorship Initiative Facebook page I have a pretty good idea you are referring to all Muslim refugees (even though you put “migrants” in quotes).

But, if your question refers alone to rapists, let me assure you that the AGC has not specifically targeted rapists for refugee sponsorship in Canada. In fact, we agree with the Federal Government’s security screening requirements that rapists (whether they be refugees, migrants, or tourists from developed countries) be denied entry to Canada.  If this is what you were truly asking about I hope my answer renews your confidence in the AGC and your church which is one of the original founding churches of the AGC.

Now, if your question refers alone to women and children who are victims of rape, the answer is, “Yes, that is one of the refugee case types we want to offer refuge to in Canada!” Of course, any women who are brought to Canada as refugees should maybe be warned that according to the Justice Institute of British Columbia one of every 17 women in Canada is raped at some point in her life (assaultcare.ca/sexual-assault/sexual-assault-statistics). We should also keep a careful eye out for any refugee children we bring - just as we do for our own children - since 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males in Canada experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18 (www.safekidsbc.ca/statistics.htm).

D.W., I know that there are many things to be mindful and concerned about in relation to the Syrian refugee crisis. I have the internet too. But there are lots of sites on the web that are stoking the fears of people into being terrified and hating toward all Syrian refugees. The site containing the page you shared (blazingcatfur.ca) is but one site doing exactly that. I exhort you to be more discerning in the sources you are using to inform yourself about the refugee crisis – especially as a follower of Jesus. Jesus is conspicuous by His absence in the secular and Westernized (small “c”) christian arguments against refugees.  As (capital “C”) Christians we have vowed to follow and obey His teachings on how to live whatever kind of times we are living in.

One book I recommend to you is “Defying Isis” by Johnnie Moore. This book is an accurate revealing of ISIS’s actions in Syria and Iraq and their ultimate intent and goal of conquering the whole world in the name of Islam. I think it’s a "must read" for every Christian in the West so we can be informed and respond wisely as we seek to help the innocent refugees of that part of the world. I know that some people think there is no such thing as an innocent Syrian refugee and that all Syrian refugees are all really just part of an Islamic plan to take over the world. But in light of the fact that in 2011 ten percent of Syrians (2.3 million) were Christian, it simply can’t be that all Syrian refugees want to conquer the world for Islam? Furthermore, Muslims and Christians have lived together in Syria (with a few smaller Jewish communities as well) for hundreds and hundreds of years.  The vast majority of Syrian refugees who are Muslim couldn't even be bothered to kill the Christians and Jews in their own country.  These are but two examples of how the fearmongering about all refugees being secret Muslim conquerors just doesn’t add up. For even more examples of anti-refugee hype that is simply not true visit: smashinglife.co.uk/3-bullshit-posts-about-refugees-you-need-to-stop-sharing (not my title, by the way).

D.W., when I was one of your pastors 19 years ago, you were already retired. God has blessed you with a long life. Finish well!

Reject the voices and messages of those who react to the refugee crisis with fear, prejudice, and hatred and who have no knowledge or interest in the ways of Jesus. The apostle Paul commanded, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5+6) Paul also instructed, “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.” (Titus 2:2)

God has called us to love and care for refugees and that includes Muslims who are fleeing ISIS as well. Craig Greenfield explains this truth wonderfully at: www.craiggreenfield.com/blog/2015/9/8/muslims

Ryan Duek also does an excellent job of expressing our responsibility to refugees as followers of Jesus at: ryandueck.com/2015/09/16/im-sorry-christian-but-you-dont-get-to-make-that-move

And if I may be so bold as to do so, I encourage you to listen to my recent sermon on how God would have us respond to refugees. You can listen to “Jesus the Stranger” at: www.westsidefamily.org/messages/jesus-the-stranger

We are living in a time of great challenge and tremendous human suffering. Western Christians are under attack by ungodly and pagan people whose arguments and influences seek to cloud our minds and souls with panic and fear about what will happen if we help Syrian refugees.

Are these the kind of people that the AGC want to be like in Canada?

To become like them and to join them is to give up the rest God has for us in Christ and abandon the hope we have in the Gospel, which is the power of God to save all peoples on earth. (Romans 1:16)