Webster’s Dictionary defines a refugee as “an individual seeking refuge or asylum; especially: an individual who has left his or her native country and is unwilling or unable to return to it because of persecution or fear of persecution (as because of race, religion, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion)”
A friend of mine who is co-leading an effort to transform the lives of 10 million people through digital entrepreneurship, https://promisehub.com/, calls them: Humans.
In America, our President, and many in Congress, and a significant percentage of the American people, see refugees as a threat to our way of life.
We have taken to calling them so many different names: immigrants, illegal immigrants, undocumented aliens, asylum seekers and a variety of other descriptive devices.
The grinding of teeth in American politics, as much so elsewhere in the world, has neglected to remember that each of these people began like every other one of us.
As a baby human.
For those who believe in God, they also all began as a child of God.
There are 65 million of these humans throughout the globe who are trying to find a home. Or, to desperately find their way back home.
Yes, it is true, there are amongst this 65 million people some of the worst that humanity has to offer.
It is likewise true that among the other 7.2 billion people on the world there exists some of the worst that humanity has to offer.
Lest those of us in America believe we are the only nation in the world fighting and arguing over what to do with those who voluntarily or involuntarily flee to the safety and security of our borders, I want to assure you that we are not.
This past June leaders of the European Union gathered for an emergency “mini-Summit” to address the growing challenges of refugees in their country.
European leaders are having the same battles over border security. Immigration laws. What to do with those who have fled into their country, to their borders or are attempting to do so in the future.
It’s complicated and it’s not.
It’s a conflict born out of political necessity for those who seek to divide one another regardless of where one stands on these issues.
I believe in strong borders. I believe in the sovereignty of nations. I believe in comprehensive, enforceable immigration laws.
I also believe in mercy, grace and understanding.
I believe in humans.
I also understand that humans are imperfect creatures of a perfect God.
In many ways in which I am not biblically familiar, but I sense there is truth I believe God has created many tests for us on Earth.
One of the most important tests I suspect has to do with how we treat the least fortunate amongst us in the world we all live in on Earth.
Truth be told, Donald Trump isn’t the first world leader to cast aspersions on an entire category of human beings. Nor, to be honest, is he the only world leader doing it today.
I understand it is fashionable to lump him in with the worst despots in human history.
To do so lessens their viciousness and level of inhumanity to millions of lost souls.
It also distracts us from focusing on what ought to at least provide us with common ground as we reflect on the difficulty of finding solutions to immigration and migration and immigrants and refugees.
Sometimes we spend too much time focusing on trying to find words to describe things, events or, people.
Maybe that’s the first place we need to start when we try to find common ground in tackling the issues that confront us on this planet.
I admit, it could be Pollyannaish.
On the other hand, what do we have to lose?
All of the other approaches start from the proposition that we have a problem and a crisis to solve.
Maybe, instead, we should start from the proposition that we have humans to help.