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Tag Archives: Migration
As I wrote in my last blog post, I’m pretty upset about Franklin Graham’s idea about deporting all Muslim immigrants from the United States. I think it’s a plain out stupid idea, not the least from an evangelistic perspective. And Franklin’s dad happen to be one of the greatest evangelists of the Western world. So I had to make a sketch about what I imagine (or rather, hope) that Billy’s reaction to Franklin’s proposal would be like:
I talked to a sister about this yesterday and she said that she was constantly shocked every time a Christian started to argue against immigration. Because of fear and comfort almost no Western Christian dare to go as missionaries to totalitarian Muslim countries – and when Muslims then show up here, where it’s super easy for us to share the Gospel, we want to deport them!
Deportation is anti-evangelism. A person is not saved by being forcefully transported by the police to a country they fled from, it just decreases the chance for them to hear the good news about eternal life through Jesus Christ. How then can evangelist Franklin Graham propose deportation of all Muslim immigrants? My theory is that either he didn’t think much at all, or he believes that Islamic terrorism is only a problem when it’s taking place in the United States. Even though most people who are killed by terrorism are Muslims in the Middle East – those whom Franklin doesn’t want to welcome in his country.
Now, I’m not entirely sure that Billy would react in real life as he does in the video – he has had some goofy moments in his later years, such as suddenly changing opinion on Mormonism after Mitt Romney became the Republican presidential candidate. The Billy character in the video surely represents my opinion though. And as you can tell, I don’t think Franklin’s proposal is anywhere near smart.
Almost a year has passed since Charisma Magazine published the op-ed “Why I am Absolutely Islamophobic”, which argued that the United States should sterilise, deport and/or kill 100% of its Muslim deportation. The deportation part was literally labeled “D.A.M.N.”, Deport All Muslims Now – and this was written by a Christian, mind you! The article was eventually removed by Charisma after people protested against their promotion of genocide, but it’s still accessible here.
Christian support for the “D.A.M.N.” policy hasn’t ended though; recently Franklin Graham, the son of world evangelist Billy Graham, wrote on Facebook that he want to deport all Muslims due to the risk of Islamic terrorism:
“Four innocent Marines killed and three others wounded in Chattanooga yesterday including a policeman and another Marine–all by a radical Muslim whose family was allowed to immigrate to this country from Kuwait. We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled… Let your Congressman know that we’ve got to put a stop to this and close the flood gates. Pray for the men and women who serve this nation in uniform, that God would protect them.”
As the title of this blog post suggests, I think that the extreme idea if deporting all Muslim immigrants (which a “stop all immigration of Muslims” means in practice) is stupid, evil and non-Christian. Let’s start with the evil part:
Should Christians welcome or deport asylum seekers and other immigrants? Is aid to refugee camps really better than receiving refugees? And is it a Christian duty to christianize territories and then protect them against islamization?
These are some of the issues I talked about at my seminar Jesus vs Xenophobia on the annual summer camp for the Scandinavian Vineyard movement. A friend filmed it all and I have now uploaded it to the Holy Spirit Activism YouTube channel. The first part deals with what the Bible says concerning migration, borders and refuge, the second part describes the global refugee crisis and discusses some of the arguments anti migration advocates use, and the third part is a short Q & A.
So what do you think? Who would Jesus deport, and why would He do it? Let me know in the comments 🙂
Have you ever wanted to meet an angel? If so, let some homeless people into your home.
Scripture says: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebr 13:2). And even if the person we’re hosting turns out to be mere human, that’s not a very big problem since we are then simply doing a very good deed: “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Rom 12:13).
In Sweden where I live, almost 50% of all the households are single households, meaning that only one person lives in them. We have almost half a million vacation houses standing empty most months of the year. And yet, so many – even Christians – are arguing that we don’t have space for more immigrants, that we should send Syrian refugees back to war and Romanian beggars back to misery. How about showing some hospitality instead?
As poor people are being oppressed by rich people, the poor paradoxically often blame other poor people for their misery. The apostle James, Jesus’ own brother who is one of my favourite author, writes in his letter about how strange it is for the Christians of his time to despise the poor while the rich oppressed them:
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? (Jam 2:5-7)
I have read in the news that in South Africa, some people suffering from unemplyment and marginalization violently attack immigrants from countries like Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, accusing them for “taking our jobs”. At the same time, white South Africans earn six times as much money than blacks, which of course means that if whites earned less there would be more money to employ people with, just as this American CEO could raise the wages of all his employees by lowering his own.
The European colonisers who plundered Africa’s natural resources, installed racist segregation and enjoyed wealth and luxury in gated communities while the indigenous population suffered in poor townships, are the immigrants that black South Africans should really be caring about, since most of their white descendants still are much richer than the rest of the population. SA is one of the most unequal countries in the world. Yet, the poor starts to blame other poor people from other countries. Why is that?
Christians have so many times ignored the teachings of Jesus and become racists instead. It happened during the crusades. It happened in Nazi Germany. It happened in apartheid South Africa. Christians argued for racism, xenophobia and inequality, claiming that white Europeans were elected by God to rule over and even kill other ethnicities. There arguments however, have been extremely weak, since the Bible does not support white pride. Come on, Europeans are hardly even present in the Bible, and the Saviour of the world is a middle eastern Jew!
Yesterday, the xenophobic Swedish party known as the Sweden Democrats forced re-elections after refusing to let the government’s budget go through, and they also threatened that they will do so with every budget that doesn’t accept their demands of cutting non-white immigration. Since neither the left coalition nor the right have majority, this means trouble. Needless to say, this has produced a lot of debate in our little country, and while most Christians emphasize that we need to push back against the rise of racism and neo-fascism, more and more Christians are either joining the Sweden Democrats, or lobbying for the conservative coalition, where the Christian Democrats is a member, should listen to and cooperate with the racists.
As we’re experiencing a racist revival among Christians in all of Europe, the old bad arguments that were used by Nazi Lutherans and Apartheid Presbyterians pop up again. I will deal with these in depth when I have time, but for now let me just give some quick comments to the most common ones:
“Acts 17:26 says ‘From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.'”
The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow
to kill the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.
But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. (ps 37:14-16)
Europe has a lot of experience in killing dark-skinned people, and this has by no means ceased. The Mediterranean Sea is a giant graveyard, where 2000 people have been killed just this year, and 25,000 the last 20 years. These are refugees, fleeing from war-torn countries like Syria or impoverished economies like Libya. Italy has had a rescue mission called Mare Nostrum which has saved countless lives that otherwise would have perished, but it has now ended. Instead, the European Union’s border police Frontex will start a mission called Triton, but it will have a much smaller budget than Mare Nostrum and not be allowed to go as far as the Italian operation could.
Just as Italy halted the Mare Nostrum mission, the British government decided to stop its funding of rescue missions in Mediterranean. They will only provide one “debriefer” to Triton. The reason is that they think that the rescue operation is a “pull factor” that gives more refugees incentives to come to Europe.
The Guardian rightly calls this “an outrageous and immoral act. It suggests a government so alarmed by Ukip that it has lost all sense of proportion. The Italian-funded Mare Nostrum exercise, mobilised after 300 refugees drowned off Lampedusa a year ago, has saved thousands of lives.”
About a month ago, Charisma News published an article called “Why I Am Absolutely Islamaphobic” by Gary Cass as an op-ed. The article is now removed since quite a lot of people were upset over the fact that Cass wants to steralize, deport and kill Muslims. You can still view the article on Cass’ website, and it’s not a pleasent reading. He collectively describes all Muslims as potential mass murders and says that there are only three “solutions” to the Muslim problem:
- Conversion to Christianity,
- “D.A.M.N.: Depart All Muslims Now.” (his words) or;
Cass immediately rules out option 1 because, in his opinion “History does not record a mighty move of God in saving masses of Muslims. I believe the scriptures militate against mass Muslim conversions.” Which means that he wants us to depart all Muslims, and wage war against them. “First trust in God, then obtain a gun(s), learn to shoot, teach your kids the Christian doctrines of just war and self defense.”
Oh, did I mention that he wants to “force them all to get sterilized” as well?
As a charismatic Christian, I think it’s totally unacceptable that Charisma lets this awful, hateful piece of shit on their website, and I think that they are extremely weak and cowardly to not issue an apology or any other sort of comment to the fact that the article is now removed. Cass’ Christian Islamophobia is one of the most extreme I’ve seen, but it’s unfortunately not rare in charismatic and evangelical circles nowadays to hear hate, prejudice and xenophobia towards Muslims. In my country, the racist party Sweden Democrats grew tremendously in the latest election, and since they build their politics on Islamophobia it has become more common these days that Christians dare to express hostility towards Muslims more clearly than before.
As the election to the European Parliament gets closer, I want to highlight some of the biggest European sins that unfortunately are not very present in the political debates.
Let us, as usual, look at the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia to get a definition of today’s deadly sin: “Pride is the excessive love of one’s own excellence… By it the creature refuses to stay within his essential orbit; he turns his back upon God, not through weakness or ignorance, but solely because in his self-exaltation he is minded not to submit. His attitude has something Satanic in it.”
I would say that Europe is overflowing with pride. It is because of their pride that European politicians promote economic inequality with Europe at the top, and because of pride they oppress the poor through neo-colonialism, destroy the planet and refuse to give enough aid so that poor people die abroad. And if that wasn’t enough, pride creates xenophobia, racism and evil migration policies.
It’s not any big news that xenophobia and racism is spreading across Europe. Xenophobic parties want to stop immigration of people from the so called third world, they are hostile towards Muslims and want to limit freedom of religion, and they emphasize their own culture and nation (which always is very pathetic in Europe since basically all countries here have changed culturally, geographically and politically over and over again since the fall of the Roman empire).
What jobs can Christians have? Many would probably answer “all, because Christians should spread the light everywhere” but that would be an overstatement. Should Christians for example be prostitutes? Even if Jesus never said “Don’t be a prostitute”, we understand from the Biblical ethics that prostitution is not a very suitable Christian workmanship. In the early church, the Apostolic Tradition from 215 AD lists prostitution as a non-Christian job, along with some other very interesting occupations:
If someone is a gladiator, or one who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he shall cease, or he shall be rejected. If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. A military man in authority must not execute men. If he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall be rejected. If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. (Apostolic Tradition 16:7-11)
According to the early church, Christians shouldn’t be gladiators, soldiers or governor. Ron Sider has written more about this in his book The Early Church on Killing. Even “rulers of a city” is ruled out. They kill and hurt people as well, indirectly. The political power is power through violence. The early Anabaptists and the early Pentecostals rejected political power for the same reason as the early Christians: they wanted to change society through love and the Holy Spirit, not by force or swords.
Restricted migration is intrinsically racist, because it is much easier for white people to enter Western nations then for people of other ethnicities. In fact, migration was almost totally open for white Europeans to enter the United States and Canada during the 19th century. Even today, it is very, very easy for Europeans to become Americans and for Americans to become Europeans. And within the European Union, migration is totally free.
For non-white people in other parts of the world though, it is extremely hard to enter Westen nations. Even Syrians, who clearly have very good reasons to leave their country right now, do not have open access to the West. The United States only allows 2000 Syrians to enter, after making sure they aren’t terrorists. Sweden is one of very few countries within the European Union to give permanent residency to Syrians, but still it is illegal for Syrians to get a visa to Sweden, so they have to enter illegally. That’s insane, people.
Yet, even Christians support the horror of restricted migration. The influential website GotQuestions.org says that Christians should oppose illegal immigration and not help illegal immigrants hide:
“Romans 13:1-7 makes it abundantly clear that God expects us to obey the laws of the government. The only exception to this is when a law of the government forces you to disobey a command of God (Acts 5:29). Illegal immigration is the breaking of a governmental law. There is nothing in Scripture that contradicts a nation having immigration laws. Therefore, it is a sin, rebellion against God, to illegally enter another country.”
The other day, my American friend Robert Martin tweeted “Hey, @micaelgrenholm… Sweden is 5th happiest country in the world… congrats!” I jokingly responded “5th?? Now I’m definitely not happy!!” and he wrote “Well, at least 4 of the top 10 are Scandinavian… check it out. US is # 17″ Yup, Denmark was in fact number 1, and Norway number 2. All I could think about at that moment was actually racism and xenophobia.
How come? Well, a couple of years ago a Swedish journalist published a book called “The Happiest People in the World“ about racism in Denmark. While citizens enjoy a high standard of living with extensive welfare and social security, it’s very, very hard for non-whites to become such citizens. In fact, Denmark is probably the most xenophobic country in northern Europe. Even though the racist Danish People’s Party has not been part of a government, other parties have used similar rhetoric and even policies in order to prevent more people from joining them. The result is of course that DPP’s ideas of a multiethnic Denmark being a “national disaster” has formed national policies.
How about Norway, then? The day before Martin tweeted his message to me Norway had their parlamentarian election, and as the Conservative Party won they proudly announced that they would govern together with the xenophobic Progress Party. This is the first time a racist party has entered a Scandinavian government.
How do I know that they are racist? Well, for instance, they want to ban Romani people from the country. Furthermore they have all the traditional charesteristics of xenophobia: they are hostile to islam, they want to decrease immigration, they are patriotic and wants to defend “Norwegian values” against multiculturalism, etcetera.
A couple of days ago the leader of the main racist party here in Sweden was holding a very weird speech. Besides stating that you cannot separate what’s Christian and what’s Swedish, and demanding that Swedish churches must be built with Swedish material, he used the horrible sarin gas attack in Syria as an argument for not receiving refugees from there. Yeah, you heard me. He said that since the crisis in Syria is so severe, it is horrible for the Swedish government to waste money on asylum immigration instead of supporting the refugees in their local areas, i.e. refugee camps.
Perhaps he missed the news about Syrians wanting to return to the conflict because the circumstances in their Jordanian refugee camps are killing them.
I mean, God bless the UNHCR, we should really give as much as we can to them right now, but they can never ever offer the same security, welfare and peace that a Western country can. It’s ridiculously stupid to say that it’s cheaper to help refugees in their local areas than welcoming them to the West, because the results are extremely cheap as well. And no, the refugees that manage to get to a Western country don’t want to be deported to a refugee camp. If we really care about Syrian lives, we must welcome them to our countries.