Governor Herod & Syrian RefugeesNovember 16, 2015
It seems the "War on Christmas" started today. More than twenty governors across the nation declared they would reject Syrian refugees from being allowed in their states. So much for celebrating birth of a refugee who also fled violence!
Seeing all the governors attack Middle Eastern refugees reminded me of the title Clarence Jordan gave to Herod in the Cotton Patch Gospel translation of the New Testament: Governor. Ironically, many of these governors ran with campaign rhetoric about how their faith guides their politics. They either lied or haven't read the Bible very well.
Consider the difference in opinions between our governors and the Bible.
"Don’t oppress an immigrant. You know what it’s like to be an immigrant, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt." Exodus 23:9BREAKING: Texas will not accept any Syrian refugees & I demand the U.S. act similarly. Security comes first. https://t.co/uE34eluXYd— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 16, 2015
"Also do not pick your vineyard clean or gather up all the grapes that have fallen there. Leave these items for the poor and the immigrant; I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 19:10I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way. We refuse Syrian refugees. https://t.co/HTpflJUiPc— Gov. Robert Bentley (@GovernorBentley) November 16, 2015
"When immigrants live in your land with you, you must not cheat them. Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 19:33-34I just signed an Executive Order instructing state agencies to take all available steps to stop the relocation of Syrian refugees to LA.— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) November 16, 2015
"The land must not be permanently sold because the land is mine. You are just immigrants and foreign guests of mine." Leviticus 25:23I’ve issued an executive order directing state agency heads to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in GA. https://t.co/4b41tsIYcm— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) November 16, 2015
"[God] enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt." Deuteronomy 10:18-19My 1st priority is to protect the people of NC. That is why I am requesting federal gov’t cease sending Syrian refugees to our state #ncpol— Pat McCrory (@PatMcCroryNC) November 16, 2015
"Don’t take advantage of poor or needy workers, whether they are fellow Israelites or immigrants who live in your land or your cities. ... Don’t obstruct the legal rights of an immigrant or orphan." Deuteronomy 24:14,17In wake of Paris attacks, I'm directing all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of addl Syrian refugees in IN https://t.co/Gtg5ccjMsU— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) November 16, 2015
"'Cursed is anyone who obstructs the legal rights of immigrants, orphans, or widows.'All the people will reply: 'We agree!'" Deuteronomy 27:19Gov. Kasich says NO to new Syrian refugees in Ohio. https://t.co/cBvy2YCL3m— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) November 16, 2015
"The Lord: who protects immigrants, who helps orphans and widows, but who makes the way of the wicked twist and turn!" Psalm 146:9As Governor I will oppose Syrian refugees being relocated to Arkansas.— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) November 16, 2015
"No, if you truly reform your ways and your actions; if you treat each other justly; if you stop taking advantage of the immigrant, orphan, or widow; if you don’t shed the blood of the innocent in this place, or go after other gods to your own ruin, only then will I dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave long ago to your ancestors for all time." Jeremiah 7:5-7Phil Bryant Says Refugees Not Welcome In Mississippi // https://t.co/S0BBx5Ibwx— Local 24 News (@LocalMemphis) November 16, 2015
"The important people of the land have practiced extortion and have committed robbery. They’ve oppressed the poor and mistreated the immigrant. They’ve oppressed and denied justice." Ezekiel 22:29Read about our efforts to keep Arizona's homeland safe: https://t.co/hz5pfAvQCh— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) November 16, 2015
"When you distribute the land as an inheritance, the immigrants who reside with you and raise families among you are considered full citizens along with the Israelites. ... This is what the Lord God says." Ezekiel 47:22-23It’s clear the influx of Syrian refugees poses a threat, which is why WI will not accept new Syrian refugees – https://t.co/8uyGzHEXBZ— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) November 16, 2015
Both lists could go on ... more governors against refugees and more scriptures for refugees. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican presidential hopeful, even went so far as to say he'd reject Syrian "3-year-old orphans" from entering. That's pretty close to a biblical standard. King (or Governor) Herod was scared of 2-year-olds. And his murderous violence sent Jesus, Joseph, and Mary fleeing as refugees. Sadly, we've already seen what can happen to 3-year-old Syrian refugees.
It's almost time to declare, "'Tis the Season." Unfortunately, it seems many governors are getting their festival spirit from the wrong Christmas character.