Remember: Jesus was a refugee, too

To the editor:

Terror is no respecter of race, creed, or nationality. Not to diminish the terrorist attacks in Paris and Mali, but terror attacks resulting in massive numbers of casualties have occurred in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Nigeria. These attacks have resulted in large numbers of refugees desperately seeking safety for their families.

As Christmas approaches, we recall that Jesus and his family were refugees, fleeing the terror of Israel’s harsh ruler, Herod. Imagine if Egypt’s borders had been closed to them! Jesus was a direct beneficiary of extravagant welcome. And from Jesus we have learned that we are all sojourners in this world, dependent upon the goodwill of others.

America has historically been a beacon of hope to refugees. Lady Liberty: “I lift my Lamp beside the golden door.” At times, though, America has failed in this charge, including the Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany. Presently, America risks being bested by the generosity of several smaller countries whose resources are far more modest than ours.

It is important to challenge politicians who demonize entire races and religions, stigmatizing all for the horrendous actions of a few. Otherwise, we embrace division and hatred, defying Biblical mandate for “perfect love” as the antidote for evil.

It is possible that terrorists are amongst the world’s 60 million refugees. But it is also possible there are peacemakers, artists, musicians, teachers, believers, and the “repairers of the breach.” The charity of Christian love and the enduring American ideal of inclusiveness will always trump terrorism.

Some of us from Peace Community Church write this letter because our congregation is emblematic of this refuge, this haven. “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.” In this season of hope, we add our voices to those of reason, to those of charity, to those of love, to those of help, to those of forbearance for the refugees of the world, who after all are our brothers, our sisters.

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Sarah Lockard

Cindi Byron-Dixon