An Open Letter to my Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Photo from CBC News

A Guest post from Robert Short Sr.

This message is only for those who claim to follow Christ, it does not apply to others as they cannot, and should not, be expected to live like Christ followers.

 

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Even if you have been living under a rock, you have heard about President Trump’s recent actions on immigration. For clarity, I am speaking of the at least 120-day ban on all refugees, at least 90-day ban on all people from seven countries, and the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. You also likely have your own opinion on this issue, and I will not provide you with any new facts today, however, I hope to provide you with a perspective that you may not have considered.

These Muslims are fleeing countries where it is, either de facto or de jure, illegal for Christians to tell others about Christ, and where people who get saved face death. They are begging to be allowed to come to a country where they can hear about Christ, where they will not have to choose between rejecting Christ and martyrdom. Yes, that isn’t why they want to come, but the woman didn’t go to the well to meet Jesus either. 

We are told that Satan is the father of lies, that he deceives people, and is active in our world. After hearing of the barbarisms of ISIS, I cannot see how anyone doubts this. Yet, the main reasons people in the Church cite for supporting the ban are all based on lies. No refugee has killed a single person in a terrorist attack in the US. The countries that have actively sponsored terrorists that have attacked the US homeland aren’t even on the ban list. Whether other Muslim majority countries allow refugees in or not is beside the point, we are not called to live and act as the world does. In fact, we are commanded to do the opposite, for Christ said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

This is not to mention the fact that we are not called to sit inside our safe zones and worry. We are meant to be taking the fight for the lost to the enemy. As Christ said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”, and as an infantry veteran, I can tell you, when you attack you don’t bring the gates.

We are commanded to go into all the world and tell them about Jesus, and part of the world we have been shut off from is begging us to let them come here. Our choice by brothers and sisters cannot be more clear, do we give in to fear and the petty politics of this world, or do we set the concerns that hinder us and run this race that he has set before us, because anyone who is against letting the lost hear the word is not serving the Word.

Remember:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Your yokemate in Christ,

Robert W. T. Short, Sr.

 

R.W.T. Short, Sr. is an accountant and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a civil libertarian and Veteran’s Rights activist. He lives in Covington, Va. with his wife of ten years, their three children, and their dogs. He can be reached via email at Robert.W.T.Short.Sr@GMail.com and on Twitter at @RobertShortSr.

Fear of Radical Islam

Image from George Takei's Facebook page
Creator of image unknown

Toward the end of First Friday, the monthly Republican luncheon for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, my former pastor rose from his chair and asked the audience how many of them feared radical Islam.  Although I couldn’t see the entire group, I believe that everyone in attendance raised their hands…with the exception of me and the fellow sitting beside me.

Now, that’s not to say that I am not at all concerned about terrorists who commit terrible acts on behalf of their religion, but I do not wake up every morning worried about what these radicals will do in our country nor am I concerned that some or all of my Muslim neighbors (supposedly about 7% of the Harrisonburg population) will rise up and begin killing or enslaving the rest of us.  According the news that I’ve heard in the last several years, it seems more likely that local Muslim property will be vandalized by non-Muslims due to religious disagreements than the other way around.

As we all know, as a result of the actions of some radical Muslims on 9/11, many Americans have been living in fear of this religion and those who practice it.  Although there were some vague mentions of Islam before 9/11, I don’t recall it being particularly pronounced and when it was, it could be disregarded as religious bigotry.

Unfortunately, due to the fear generated against radical Islam, our citizens and our lawmakers have surrendered many of our civil liberties and greatly expanded the power of the federal government through legislation like the Patriot Act and new government agencies like the TSA and Department of Homeland Security.  Patrick Henry’s famous cry of “give me liberty or give me death!” has been replaced with “do everything you can to keep me safe!  I don’t mind if you take away our liberty!”

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying.  Our government has both the right and responsibility to keep its people safe from all threats, including those posed by radical Islam.  Any person, group, agency, or government who seeks to deprive any American citizen of his or her life, liberty, and/or property without the due process of law must be held to account.

Image from the Libertarian Party of Colorado
Image from the Libertarian Party of Colorado

Have we become so hyper-sensitized to an over-imagined threat of radical Islam on American soil that we have forgotten that it has supposedly been the longstanding policy of conservatives to push back against growing government power?  Yes, it is hypothetically possible that terrorists hiding in caves in the Middle East can deprive us of our lives, and I certainly don’t want that to happen to anyone, but it is also quite true that the legislators in Washington D.C. and our state capitols, not to mention black robed men and women in our court system, have been slowing eroding our liberties, taking more and more of our tax dollars, deciding what does and does not constitute as free speech, degrading our religion, imprisoning people for years without trial, and even depriving some people of their lives through the use of drones.  Politicians are marching us toward a police state.  Which of these two actions, in the grand scheme of our nation, poses the greater and more pressing danger to our well-being?

As President George W. Bush stated on September 20th, 2001, “They [the terrorists] hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”  Well friends, if we have taken away our freedoms and replaced them with fear, then who can make the argument that the terrorists have not won?  If the terrorists are as irrational and hate-filled as our leaders claim, why in the world would we ever want a citizenry or a government which emulates them?

Yes, we must not allow radical Islam to succeed.  Stand firm against evil!  But, I urge you too to resist the call to surrender to fear!