Should Christians Love Muslim Refugees?

Both the Old and New Testaments teach us to love our neighbor. Christ took the love mandate a step farther in the command to love our enemies. So we may assume that the answer is obvious, that of course we should love the Muslim refugee.

In fact, this is the message of a recent article published by World Watch Monitor entitled, “Call to the European Church to stand with refugees.” The essence of the article is that we must extend the love of Christ to these refugees today in order to win them, or otherwise in the future they will become a militant enemy in our countries.

However, the answer to the question above may not be as obvious as it initially appears.

A thoughtful answer first requires that we identify the term “love.” In the commands of Scripture to love our neighbor and enemy agape is in view, which can be defined as seeking to benefit another. This is not a feeling type term but one of intention and action. We can’t make ourselves generate warm feelings toward our enemy, but we can choose actions that will benefit him. Therefore, it is this intention and action type of love that Christ had in view.

Then we need to define “refugee.” ISIS has made refugees of millions of Syrians and Iraqis, leaving men, women, and children destitute and vulnerable. However, reports indicate that an overwhelming majority of Muslims entering Europe are not Syrian and Iraqi refugees. An article in The Daily Mail reports that only about one in five of the Muslim refugees arriving in Europe is from Syria and Iraq where ISIS is inflicting its horrors. The impression that the majority of these families are families fleeing this war zone has been fabricated by the media and does not correspond to reality. It seems that most of those have gone to Lebanon and Jordan.

If these people are not refugees in the traditional sense, what motivates them to enter Western countries? Most of those coming to Europe are not refugees per se, but people from countries such as Afghanistan who are pursuing European economic benefits. The tendency of these “refugees” is to gravitate toward countries like Germany and Sweden where government benefits are the greatest.

This is problematic on two counts. The most immediate and obvious is that government handouts are not comprised of money that the government has earned, but funds that the government has extracted from wage earners. Therefore, in essence these “refugees” are posing as refugees so they can enjoy a higher standard of living by taking money which citizens of host countries have earned. That is essentially immoral.

The worst problem begins with the reality that Western countries tend to have more because of their Christian heritage, which has engendered a higher standard of living. Granted, in many of these countries that Christian heritage has long since been severed from its biblical roots. Nonetheless, societal momentum has left many of the hallmarks of Christian culture, which supports a level of affluence. If these Muslims were open to abandon their Muslim background that has engendered the poverty from which they have come and embrace the Christian worldview that has produced the affluence they seek in the West, we might be more enthusiastic about their entrance into Western countries. However, their rhetoric and actions indicate that they have come to take our money and take over our countries, imposing their religion, and thus implanting their poverty-inducing culture in the West.

This leads to the more disturbing fact that Muslim culture not only engenders poverty, but it also includes high rates of immorality. For example, almost everywhere (if not everywhere) that Muslims have gone in Europe the rape statistics have gone through the roof.

These realities bring us back to the initial question. Should we show love to, seek to benefit, these Muslims seeking to come into Western countries? This takes us to the teaching that we should love our enemies. If your enemy slaps you on the right cheek, give him a shot at your left one also. If he insults you, bless him. Easy enough.

However, what if your enemy, who is a rapist, shows attraction toward your neighbor’s 17-year-old daughter? Should you seek to benefit him by allowing him to stay in your home until he gets settled elsewhere? Does not that potentially make you an accessory to the rape of your neighbor’s 17-year-old daughter? In other words, should you love the perpetrator at the expense of the innocent? The blanket call to “love the refugee” in effect leads to that result.

As already mentioned, I am not suggesting that all refugees are rapists, and that we should not help any. I am suggesting, however, that where evidence exists that these people will be harmful economically, culturally, physically, spiritually and otherwise in our society, we must consider not only their benefit, but also the welfare of others who will be hurt by them. In brief, Muslims seeking entrance into our countries are not the only consideration in who will receive agape love. Our neighbors, wives, and children also have a claim to it. We need to be wise enough to consider whose claim is more legitimate. Unfortunately, not only liberals but even evangelicals seem to struggle to come up with the answer.

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