Perhaps the only thing more annoying than political rhetoric is people’s reactions to it.
Nobody wants to be seen as friendly to the other side, so any reaction to anything political must be a statement about your loyalty.
Take this refugee mess brought on by President Donald Trump’s executive order that bans people from (some) terror-affiliated countries from entering the United States. Reaction from center-left folks has been that it’s a bad, unAmerican idea.
From the center-right, we’ve heard … well, not much.
I’ll speak up: I think the ban, however you want to spin it, is a bad idea. It’s also sad. And frustrating. And, yes, unAmerican. As a conservative, and as a Christian, I feel a little lonely saying that. Why?
Enter that annoying, wrong-headed party loyalty.
Not only are Republican politicians who fairly recently called such a ban unconstitutional now silent and/or approving, but a surprising number of former #NeverTrump-ers are reverting back to their old political habits.
“Republican under attack! Must defend! Something, something, talking points! U-S-A!”
I can’t overstate how much this annoys me. Somewhere along the line, the thinking on both sides of the aisle became, “If the other side is against it, it must be a good idea.”
This is ludicrous.
It’s especially bothersome among conservative Christians (my people), many of whom parrot Republican talking points out of habit because they see Jesus wrapped in an American flag rather than sitting at the right hand of God.
“Nope, can’t agree with a godless liberal. That would make me a godless liberal, wouldn’t it?”
Even when Republicans/conservatives have actual reservations about something, like the refugee/Muslim ban (and let’s be real; it’s a Muslim ban), the urge to line up with the party is just too strong for most to speak up about those reservations. After all, can’t risk not being allowed to hang with the cool kids. Gotta keep that seat at the table, amirite?
My conviction tells me the ban is a short-sighted approach to national security. I keep picturing those images of dead or wounded refugee children, and I hurt for them. I don’t understand how anyone, especially a Christian, can see those images and think, “Sorry, not my problem. That’s just the price of keeping America safe.”
Even if that’s not been an actual thought, it’s the logical conclusion of the position: that you’re cool with innocent, scared kids dying in terrorist attacks so you can make the extremely small chance of you dying in a terrorist attack get slightly smaller. I just don’t get it. Yes, I understand that the government’s primary job is to keep the country safe. I just disagree that this ban will keep us safe. I don’t understand it from a biblical perspective, and I don’t understand it from a logical one.
Seriously, if one of those refugee kids came to you, crying, injured and scared, would you really look at them and their equally scared parents and say, “Sorry. Helping you is just too risky”?
I don’t think 99 percent of people would do that. But, again, never underestimate that good ol’ party loyalty. (And, yes, I know that the government isn’t required to help anyone who doesn’t live here. But that doesn’t mean we can’t.)
I’m not scared of anyone, regardless of religion, race, nationality or any other such identity. No Christian should be. The love of Christ destroys those silly fears. I don’t understand why people choose to bow to their fears rather than their faith.
Despite what the rhetoric might tell you, it’s true that you’re way, way, way more likely to be killed by a falling dresser than by a refugee. If it’s criminals who scare you, there are already plenty of American-born bad guys doing bad stuff that threatens your safety.
Look, I get that some of the refugees could be terrorists. I’ll even grant you that a relative few probably are. ISIS is sneaky and resourceful. I get it. I really do. I still don’t care. I’m not afraid. I refuse to be ruled by fear. And, no, this ban isn’t rooted in caution. It’s just plain fear at best, and bigotry at worst.
To compare it to another crazy topic, it reminds me a little of the gun-control debate. I’m not an anti-gun guy. I’m not a pro-gun guy, either. I’m actually quite indifferent toward guns. But I do know we have a LOT of guns in America. And a LOT of people who probably shouldn’t have guns do have guns. There’s much greater reason to be concerned about gun violence than terrorism, just because of the law of probabilty. But, strangely, conservatives just aren’t afraid of guns. This is despite guns being used in a lot of violent individual crimes, in mass shootings, in suicides and in accidental deaths.
Gun deaths happen by the dozens every day in the United States. Terror attacks don’t. But, yes, as a conservative, I’m supposed to love guns and fear terrorists. I’m supposed to list potential terrorists coming into the country as one of my greatest fears.
I don’t know how else to say it: I’m not scared. I wish people — especially Christians — would stop trying to convince me that I should be.