Judging PenceOctober 05, 2016
Last night's vice presidential debate featured two candidates known for their devout faith. Both mentioned their faith backgrounds and talked about how faith impacts their politics. What's frustrating, however, is how Republican Mike Pence fails to connect the dots between his faith and the issue of welcoming refugees. In the debate, Pence essentially boiled faith in politics to just the issue of abortion (while Democrat Tim Kaine also connected faith to the death penalty, racial justice, and more).
As governor of Indiana, Pence sought last year to block the U.S. government from resettling refugees in the Hoosier State. He joined governors from more than half the states, even though governors don't have such authority. Pence went further than most other governors by actually trying to stop funding for resettling Syrian refugees.
This week, a federal appeals court panel of three Republican judges blasted Pence's actions as illegal discrimination. The judges noted Pence's claims also came "without evidence" and consisted only of "nightmare speculation." When Kaine mentioned the ruling at the debate last night, Pence dug in and insisted he's right to demonize refugees.
Fortunately, many Christians understand the clear biblical mandate to welcome refugees. And so many Christian groups ignore the fear-mongering of politicians and continue to lead efforts to resettle refugees. In fact, the organization Pence sought to withhold funds from is a Christian group. That's a pretty bad move for a politician who likes to say he's "a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican - in that order." As he bashes refugees and embraces Donald Trump, it seems Pence has reversed the order.
Christians must listen to the Bible, not the Trump-Pence campaign. We are called to live by faith, not fear. And we are called to welcome refugees, immigrants, and others who are among 'the least of these.'