Saturday, February 4, 2017

As A Matter of Fact

Facts matter, or at least I think so.  They matter because they help us discover the truth of the matter—whatever the matter may be.  

Franklin Graham has become a self-appointed “pope” for some alleged Christians, attempting to help his followers understand Mr. Trump’s positions on many hot issues, including the recent executive order on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”  Mr. Graham declares “It’s not a biblical command for the country to let everyone in who wants to come, that’s not a Bible issue.”  This is nonsense if you take the Bible seriously.  I remember so well the Reverend Billy Graham’s (Franklin’s father) oft-repeated phrase:  “The Bible says…,” implying that the Bible had something to say about everything.  But now, says Franklin, how we treat refugees isn’t really a biblical issue?  Is that a fact?  See Zechariah 7:9-10, Deuteronomy 10:18, Leviticus 19:33-34, Matthew 25:34-36, and Luke 10.  Not only does the Bible have an opinion on the subject, but the subject of immigrants and refugees is at the very heart of the biblical faith. 

Some might argue (as has often been done by both religious and secular folk) that this stuff is certainly in the Bible (we ought to be nice to foreigners) in a religious way (whatever that means) but that has nothing to do with the present political, economic, and practical issues of our country.   Since the executive order is a political matter and since the government is not a religious institution, then is Franklin Graham saying that the Bible, “…has nothing to say about how governments should protect their borders. Oh really? You’re going with that?  Religion needs to stay out of the government’s business?  I know a bunch of people down at Planned Parenthood are going to be excited to hear this change of heart” (Derek Penwell).

President Trump says his executive order is about national security, that it is about keeping us safe.  But is the executive order about security, or is it about ideology?  We all want to be safe.  “But,” as Jim Wallis writes, “these refugees have already been thoroughly vetted.  They are mostly women and children who have had to flee situations of violent conflict….They are in danger; they are not a danger. They are refugees fleeing from violence, not the agents of violence toward us.  The world’s experts around the globe clearly contradict what the ideologues of the new White House are saying.”

Now what are the facts here?  Did you think I was going to tell you?  Facts aren’t somebody else’s statements or opinions.  Facts are facts, as a matter of fact.  

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