Friday, November 20, 2015

Has America Sold Her Christian Soul?

The ISIS/ISIL/IS (could we please agree on a convention, folks? -- see below) terrorists in Paris have finally pushed America over the top, it would seem.

Well, let the reader decide. Here are just the straight facts:

1. The President proposes to increase the number of refugees authorized to immigrate here by up to 100,000 per year by 2017. This year alone, at least 10,000 will come from Syria.

2. More than 96% of the Syrian refugees the President and the State Department are bringing in identify themselves as Muslim.

3. Since over 70% of the civilian mass murders in recent times have been carried out by Muslims; since ISIS/ISIL/IS proclaims itself to be the re-establishment of the ancient Islamic caliphate; and since ISISILIS (let's just call it that: pronounced I-SIS'-I-LIS, to rhyme with syphilis) has announced its intention to bring Paris-style terrorism to these shores, many Americans think that to bring tens of thousands of Muslims into America from a country where ISISILIS operates is a particularly bad idea.

4. The Republicans in the House, led by their new Speaker Paul Ryan, have introduced a bill that supposedly requires the Government to check all new Syrian emigrants before approving them for travel to the US and resettlement there. The bill is a sham, because its vetting requirements are mostly meaningless, impractical to carry out, and may be evaded with a simple certification.

5. The President, however, is not one to allow the House Republicans to show him up as unconcerned for America's safety. He has announced he will veto the Republican bill -- before he even has seen what it will finally say -- because his administration is already taking the necessary steps to protect usAnd the media, as usual, are right behind him.

6. At the same time, the chief religious denominations in the US are also joining in castigating the Republicans for trying to put limits on the resettlement of Syrian Muslims -- even if some of the immigrants might prove to be terrorists traveling incognito. That is just the price we will have to pay for our upholding Christian principles of charity toward all strangers -- "be not afraid!"

7. Other religious groups and House Republicans -- a definite minority in both places -- point out that it is a little hypocritical for the majority denominations to speak of "simple Christian charity", because it is precisely the Syrian Christians who are being persecuted and driven out of their traditional regions. At the same time, the State Department, pursuant to Obama's direction, absolutely refuses to open up any refugee resettlement slots for Christians.

8. President Obama and the major Christian denominations say that admission to America must never be based on any kind of "religious test" -- regardless of the fact that our immigration laws require that a refugee's religion be taken into account, since one of the most prominent forms of persecution in refugee areas is religious persecution: just as Syrian Christians are, as you read this, being persecuted and driven out of their homes by Syrian Muslims.

9. Evangelical Christians add that they do not need any of their fellow Christians rescued, as they are already "eager to share their faith with [the non-Christian] new arrivals."  So the suffering Christians should apparently just go on suffering, as far as their evangelical brethren are concerned.

10. Meanwhile, as all this takes place, Obama's unilateral changes last year to immigration enforcement policy are allowing over 80% of those already here illegally to stay without fear of deportation.

The end result is that President Obama and his State Department, joined by the media and major Christian denominations, want only Syrian Muslims brought into the country, regardless of their backgrounds. The House Republicans, meanwhile, want to be seen as opposing this policy while also doing nothing  to stop it, or to help Syrian Christians. All of them do not want the immigration laws enforced as written -- if doing so would mean that most Syrian Christians would qualify for resettlement here. The Christians, as a consequence, are left to perish.

As Dave Barry always says, you cannot make this stuff up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Credit Where Credit Is Due

It becomes progressively more and more difficult to find worthwhile stuff about which to blog or comment these days. My erstwhile denomination, the Episcopal Church (USA), has sunk into the mire of blasphemy and irrelevance, and is not even worthy any more of notice. My country is headed by an utterly self-absorbed, pusillanimous and law-breaking President, whom neither his friends nor his enemies will rein in. It has a Congress consisting largely of people so absorbed by their need to get re-elected that they are afraid to have any principles, and consequently are beneath contempt. And it has five Supreme Court justices who simply mock the law and their function as the tribunal of last resort in a putative democracy, and see nothing wrong with making up the law as they go, while openly flouting their contempt for the rule of law.

There remain, I am glad to report, a few voices of sanity in this chaos of lawlessness and cowardice. These voices have the courage to say what they know to be right, to be heedless of the consequences of their standing up for the right, and to press their case for unvarnished truth without ceasing, all in the teeth of implacable hatred and opposition.

That said, it is rare enough when these voices recognize and acknowledge each other.

The always excellent Touchstone Magazine, well worth its reasonable price of subscription and a continuing source of inspiration and refreshment, has published just such a tribute -- from one notable Christian voice of sanity to another. One of its long-time senior editors, Dr. S. M. Hutchens, has written a fine tribute to the crucial role played in our country today by none other than -- yes, you heard me correctly -- Rush Limbaugh. Here is a key extract:
I have a personal interest in what Rush says and how he is treated because the more I listen to and about him, the more I am frightened by the venom and mendacity of charges brought against the sanity and simple goodness for which he stands as a national symbol, his faults notwithstanding. Christians who speak ill of him should in justice recognize him as an ally, for if he sinks, they will sink with him, and for the same reasons. Where the hatred of his accusers, fortified by absolute faith in the rectitude of their madness, is not constrained by law and superior force, it will surely lead to persecution, eventually bloody, because that is the way of the world. Hatred must have a victim to charge with its own sins, and to visit with the appropriate punishments.
Be sure to read the entire brief essay. And while you're at it, consider supporting such voices of sanity by subscribing to Touchstone Magazine.