“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”
– 1 John 3:17
Does God’s love abide in America? For so many here, the US is the epitome of a Christian nation. Yet this country continues to turn its back on its brothers in need.
Since 2015, more than 60 million people have been displaced worldwide; Syria alone has 6.6 million within its own borders and another 4.8 million in nearby countries. The people of Syria have been ravaged by war for nearly six years. They have lost their families, their homes and any other semblance of a normal life.
But rather than lend a helping hand, yesterday, our new president signed an order to ban those who need us most. Now, I am not devoutly religious, but I grew up in a Christian home. There is one thing I know: You cannot be a Christian only when it’s convenient or twist it to fit your desires. You either live by the word or you don’t. Yesterday’s executive order clearly shows that we do not.
Sadly, I don’t believe it was by accident that this order was signed on Holocaust Remembrance Day. It was meant to send a message that we are slowly redesigning the fabric of America – a fabric that lacks color and consists of only one moral fiber. Without uttering the words, we let the world know that we value certain human lives more than others. And with that, we closed our hearts to millions in need.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/195306938″>REFUGE | Human stories from the refugee crisis</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/magnacartatv”>Magna Carta</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
But why are Americans so frightened? Has people’s faith become so fragile and tenuous that it cannot exist in the presence of another religion? Or is it simply that our politics have overpowered beliefs or corrupted them in some way? I do not believe in bringing religion into politics, but I also know politics are about people, and religion is a large part of our people’s lives. And when it is balanced and coming from the right place, we generally are better for it.
This week I saw the best of humankind as people traveled to south Georgia to help families recover from our recent deadly tornadoes. I see this year after year. People drive long distances to help others in need – people who may or may not share their religious beliefs. Yet, we cannot do the same for our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.
The people of Syria want the same things as the people of south Georgia – to return to some level of normalcy in a place they can call home. They want to regain everything they have lost. If we can take care of our family here in Georgia, why can’t we offer that same hand to our family in other lands?
I do not believe this country has turned down the darkest path just yet, but we are letting our politics and fears overpower who we truly are as a nation. Americans help those in need. We always have; I hope we always do. We are a fair and loving people when we are at our best. But right now, we are not at our best.
We have allowed a few to fill us with doubt and darkness. But we are a strong nation with strong people who have always shed light on those in need. I ask if you are reading this, listen to the people in this video without any filter of politics or religion. See them only as the humans that they are – like a neighbor down the street.
America, we have all of the world’s goods. Are we strong enough to share them?