Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Pope On Palm Sunday: "Indifference To Migrants Like Pontius Pilate"
In his homily at Palm Sunday Mass, Pope Francis compared Jesus' sufferings to the treatment of modern day outcasts, asylum-seekers and refugees, saying those who are indifferent to their plight are like Pontius Pilate.
This gives any Christian---Catholic or Protestant---pause.
No sincere Christian wants to act as Pilate did.
But is Godly compassion and Godly wisdom mutually exclusive?
Is it indifference that causes nations to secure their borders, or wisdom?
It was the Roman procurator Pilate who having given Jesus over to His enemies, washed his hands in full view of the crowd and told them, "I am innocent of this man's blood"--"it is your responsibility."
Pope Francis told the tens of thousands in attendance Sunday that Jesus was "sold for thirty pieces of silver and betrayed by a kiss of a disciple whom He had chosen and called His friend."
"And," he said, "I think of the many people, so many outcasts, so many asylum seekers, so many refugees, all those for whose fate no one wishes to take responsibility."
His homily is a touching account of the passion of Christ, particularly at a time when more than 2 billion Christians reflect on His crucifixion and celebrate His resurrection.
It may be true that many in our world "wish to take no responsibility," but does that accurately reflect the attitude of America?
Or does our reluctance to remove the borders reflect a deeper and more biblically accurate Truth?
Pilate's conversation with his wife and others regarding what he should do with Jesus clearly shows the depth of his uncertainty and conflict. It also revels that his was a political, not a spiritual or moral decision.
There is indeed uncertainty in our world as how to handle the millions of refugees flooding into Europe and elsewhere from Syria and the Middle East, but is it merely "indifference?"
We wonder if Pilate is an accurate metaphor.
Germany and other European nations are demonstrating that simply opening the borders to unaccounted for migrants to flood the country is not an act of compassion, but an abandonment of a nation's responsibility for its own citizens and sovereignty.
BBC has broadcast and published a piece titled, "Migrant Crises: Migration To Europe explained in Seven Charts."
The charts and pictures are well done, informative and identify the crisis and the extent of the crisis, but offers no solution.
Germany has been overwhelmed by migrants, now admitting they don't even know how many are in their country---and certainly don't know who they are or where they are.
At least some of the migrants are terrorists. Explosions continue to kill people in Germany, Paris, Turkey and elsewhere, while the social structures of the host countries are collapsing.
More than a thousand women reported being raped in Munich this past New Year's Eve at the town square celebration. Most all the rapes were committed by migrants.
At first, German officials and even the press were reluctant to report to the public the extent of crime and terrorism that was resulting from their opening their borders.
Now it is completely out of control.
This week, the Washington Post is reporting that Germany has now come up with a plan---a solution.
They have begun paying migrants to go home.
Germany, once a so-called open borders, welcoming nation, now has a backlog of 770,000 asylum requests, with well over a million already in the country.
Some are calling Germany's new plan a "bribe;" whatever you want to call it, Germany is in panic mode and is writing checks to the migrants if they will leave.
The Post recounts the story of Lauand Sadek from Iraq. "A month had passed since he arrived in the promised land of migrants, yet the 21 year old was stuck in a crowed refugee camp. Unable to speak German, he hardly went out. Then this overwhelmed nation made him an interesting proposition: Go back home, and we'll help build you a better life there."
Sadek says, "I was alone and confused" when he got he offer.
The German government offered to buy him a plane ticket home and about $6,540 (US) to invest in a small business---a little grocery store in Irbil.
Sadek told the Post, "I would have stayed in Germany longer, but their offer helped me understand it was time to go."
This hardly sounds like a long term solution for the millions of migrants flooding into Europe.
Honestly. How many more would not mind spending a month in Germany for a plane ticket home and $6500 bucks to start a new small business?
And speaking of "bribes," Turkey is now proposing they will handle the problem---or at least part of it, for a price. A price that the EU must pay. And the monetary price is staggering---billions of euros.
Otherwise, Turkey suggests they will allow unlimited numbers of migrants to flow through their country into Europe.
The press says German Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted, "We are seeking a balance of interests," in response to the suggestion the Turkish delegation are enjoying the upper hand over the European Union in this last week's migrant crisis talks.
Nigel Farage from Brussels has blasted the "blackmail" of Turkey and compared Turkey's demands of the EU similar to the gold ransom required by 9th century Vikings.
This is the result of the open borders beliefs, held by liberal Catholics and the Progressive Religious Left Protestants. They see open borders as the solution, not the problem---and often misuse various Scriptures to support their world view.
At the heart of this matter is not what anyone or group of people say about it---What does the Bible actually say about it?
John Vinson has written an excellent overview of what the Bible says about nationhood, immigration, and borders. Take a moment and read it.
Vinson concludes with this: "Compassion unrestrained by wisdom and temperance is a sentiment that degenerates into reckless folly, a situation that benefits no one. For righteousness' sake, feeling cannot replace foresight. On a personal and national basis, the words of Proverbs 13:22 apply, 'A righteous man leaves an inheritance for his children's children.' Preserving our nation also ensures that we will be able to help others."
Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Wise. Be Prayerful.