Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees

On Friday, January 27, Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, suspending America’s refugee program entirely for 120 days, and barring all people from certain ‘terror prone’ countries for 90 days. The list of ‘terror prone’ countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia – are all Muslim-majority countries where Trump does not have business ties.

He signed the order on Holocaust Memorial Day, a time when we should remember that millions of people were murdered in Europe because they were Jewish. And because no one – including the United States – would give them refuge.

As a Christian, I believe that the only requirement for receiving help is the presence of need. I cannot and will not discriminate on the basis of religion, ethnicity, national origin, or any other criterion. And I believe that it is immoral and unjust for the United States to do so.

As the writers of the Soviet Jewish Refugee Solidarity Sign-On Letter say, we “must not turn our backs on the human beings who are fleeing violence and persecution… nor abandon our highest national values and the demands of basic decency.”

Amen.

Note: Between writing and publishing this post, a federal judge issued a stay on Mr. Trump’s executive order. While I’m thankful for this, it does not mean that the fight is over.

Right now, there is a movement in churches and nonprofits arguing that charity is toxic, that helping hurts, and that the entire nonprofit sector needs to be reformed to truly lift people out of poverty. These charity skeptics are telling Christians that traditional charity deepens dependency, fosters a sense of entitlement, and erodes the work ethic of people who receive it. Charity skepticism is increasingly popular; and it is almost certainly wrong.

Now available from Wipf and Stock’s Cascade Books imprint, Radical Charity: How Generosity Can Save the World (And the Church) weaves together research and scholarship on topics as diverse as biblical scholarship, Christian history, economics, and behavioral psychology to tell a different story. In this story, charity is the heart of Christianity and one of the most effective ways that we can help people who are living in poverty. Charity—giving to people experiencing poverty without any expectation of return or reformation—can save the world and help make God’s vision for the church a reality.

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