In terms of the responses to yesterday’s post on the west and Islam, I am left a trifle puzzled. Our old friend Scoop commented:
So a different opinion might say that the “lazy thinking” (C alluded to in his post) is to limit one’s analysis to a single precedent action (our reactionary involvement in the Gulf Wars) and of course blaming ourselves (or more specifically the U.S. – the victims of their preemptive violence) for the refugee crisis resulting from these Middle East conflicts. Of course, we do not mention the unprecedented attacks of Bin Laden’s group on the World Trade Center, the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam, the failed attempt some years before on the World Trade Center, or the Iranian hostage crisis some years before . . . not to discount the sporadic terrorist attacks on planes and ships.
Try as I might, I can’t see what 9/11, Kuwait or the Iranian hostage crisis contributed to the current refugee crisis. That was, like it or not, the consequence of our actions. The lives people were living were disrupted by the actions of an American-led coalition, and to indulge in ‘whatabouterry’ evades the issue of what should be done with the human victims. The same is true of the distinction without a difference between ‘refugee and economic migrants’. If we look back to the European settlement of North America, were the Pilgrim Fathers refugees or economic migrants, and would the distinction have mattered? As Christians Christ does not tell us to draw such distinctions – or perhaps I am misreading the parable of the Good Samaritan?
When Mrs Merkel accepted so many refugees her motives were not purely humanitarian. She knew that German population growth has fallen below replacement level, and saw here an easy source of new, cheap labour. As a society we contracept and abort to such a degree that across the West we are not replacing ourselves. I am not quite sure that turning aside refugees or economic migrants will aid in the slightest in defusing this demographic time-bomb?
Behind all of this lies something we are unwilling to confront – the reality of sin and wrath. For all the talk of a Christian society, our invasion of Iraq and behaviour in Libya and Syria has had nothing to do with Christianity; it is equal parts hubris, false confidence and ignorance. That sinful behaviour has created the current problems. No one made us abort of contracept to the degree we do; we created the demographic time-bomb. Do we, as Christians, not recognise that sin has consequences? Sure, we can retreat into the privacy of our ‘Benedict option’, but there may not be much left if we decide to come out of it later.
If the Lord Jesus had wanted us all to retreat to monasteries or small, pure, private communities, I suspect He would have told us that. We could ‘send back’ every refugee and every economic migrant, but I am unsure what that would accomplish. These people would simply be going back to an unviable situation, but with a motive for revenge on those who had rejected the. It would do nothing t solve the problems created demographically by our hedonism, indeed, in some ways, it would be in the spirit of modern hedonism – all too much trouble for us to cope with, leave us alone, let us get on with enjoying ourselves, or praying in a corner for things to improve. None of these seem very Christian options. We have brought upon ourselves the wrath that is the consequence of sin – so we could at least accept our guilt and repent. But as I have commented before, for followers of a faith founded on repentance, Christians often have a real problem with the concept. The correct respons eto a sense of sin is not ‘what about that lot over there?’ It is to repent and follow the Gospel message. None of that involves easy options.