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I Don’t Want America to Be Great Again.

I don’t want to make America great again.

I do not want to make American great again if the vision of greatness is for only the few and at the expense of the many.

I don’t want to make America great again if it’s for the many at the expense of the few.

I do not want to make America great again if it means the rewards are for white Americans and not for brown Americans.

I don’t want to make America great again if we seek our riches, and wealth, and oil at the expense of breaking land treaties again with our fellow (Native) Americans.

I don’t want to make America great again if it means minimizing our past that includes slavery, the Trail of Tears, Jim Crow, segregation, Japanese internment camps, and calling immigrants trash, dangerous or criminals.

I do not want to make America great again if our foreign policy oppresses the freedom of other nations to elect their own leaders.

I do not want to make America great again if it means trade deals that hurt the poor in our nation and abroad so that we can become even richer.

I do not want to make America great again if we repeat our history of racism towards each new immigrant group and refugee people that arrives on our shores.

I do not want to make America great again if it means to put America first.

I do not want to make America great again if greatness is tied to a meaningless campaign slogan that is used to manipulate and mobilize racist sentiment.

I do not want to make America great again because America is great already.

America is also deeply flawed and sinful.

I do not want the vision of America that is being promoted in the slogan “great again.” It ignores and minimizes our sinful past. We are not a country that was only good in the past. We have done much that is wicked in the past.

A slogan that longs for a time in our history that brings pain to black Americans and Native Americans and repeats the racist anti-immigrant sentiments we have held towards different immigrant groups since our foundation is not a good slogan.

America is a great country when we live up to our constitutional ideals of “all men are created equal” even when we have had a history that did not give equal voting rights to men and women, black and white for many years after that phrase was coined.

America is great when we are striving to be good.

America is great by living a personal and corporate life of repentance for our past sins. We show we are repentant when we don’t minimize and ignore the voices of our minority countrymen who still hurt under those sins because they are not only in the past but are in the present. We are repentant when we turn to God seeking forgiveness and then forgiveness from one another. We are great when we don’t encourage the voices of the KKK but call the sin of racism what it is: wickedness.

A good America has Christian citizens who do not agree with all of the immorality of the land but are faithful to walk with Jesus, share the good news of the gospel, and not call evil good so that we get votes for a candidate who demeans women, immigrants, and minorities.

Seeking a good America might have the consequence of persecution or lawsuits for those who want to be faithful to the Bible, but it does not call wicked racism good or sexual abuse victims liars so that we have a higher status in this country.

A good America does not put America first because Jesus said it is greater for the first to be last and the last to be first. We are a good nation when our policies and worldview seeks to do good throughout the globe and make prudent decisions that benefit the rest of humanity as well as America. A good nation cares about the environment because humanity is made in God’s image and wreaking havoc on the environment hurts the food and water sources of poor people globally while our big businesses get richer.

We are a good nation, a great nation, when our greatness is tied to the good of all people.

America is great by striving to be good.

Tomorrow I hope you vote if you have not already. It is a difficult year to vote but I hope you will not vote for a vision of greatness that has been cast by enforcing prejudice, anger and hatred.

Vote for America to be good.

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Moral Issues and the GOP

I wrote a LONG impassioned version of this post called The Moral Issue You Shouldn’t Dismiss. However since the world lives in bullet points, I will give you the shortened version if that is easier to digest.

Refugees and American safety have been used as a political tool this year and it is tragic. The information that I hear daily from the more than half of Republican governors wanting to stop Syrians from entering their states to the cries for an end to the refugee resettlement program have been based on falsehood. This is my attempt to shed some light on a serious moral issue. If you want more facts and statistics or explanation, click on the longer version.

1.) Terminology. The term “refugees in Europe” is NOT the same as the way the US uses the word refugee. In the US, it is a legal status given by the UN after a nearly 2 year process of vetting and legal permission to resettle somewhere. Equating our refugees who have gone through the resettlement program with those landing on the shores of Italy is like equating apples and oranges, both needy people fleeing conflict, but not the same in legal terms.

2. Did you know that a refugee goes through 14 steps over 18-24 months before they can be resettled including 5 security steps? Watch the process here in 4 minutes.

3. The Paris attacks were NOT done by Syrians or refugees. They were done by Belgian and French nationals. 

3. Did you know the average refugee spends 17 years in a refugee camp? If you click on the longer post above you can read about one such people group being resettled in the US from Nepal.

4. The US Refugee Resettlement program has been in place since just after WWII. It is NOT “Obama’s refugee program.” Please stop making this a partisan issue.

5. If you are a Christian, God’s Word, the Bible should be your supreme authority. Not a political party, Fox News, what your governor or senator says, or even what that famous pastor of choice you listen to online. If he disagrees with God’s word, he is wrong.  The Bible talks about the foreigner from cover to cover. We have no excuse for not welcoming people with open arms. Fear of safety is a bad excuse.

6. Uh, one more thing Christians, Jesus was a refugee. Remember that whole flight to Egypt because Herod wanted him dead as a child? Yep.

7. If you fight for the right to life of the unborn and want to promote legislation to block out refugees from your state or country, you have lost your moral authority. Both are death sentences. A political campaign comparing refugees to Skittles shows zero respect for the sanctity of human life. If you want to live for your own safety over the safety of those fleeing from conflict zones, you are forgetting the gospel. We do not live for our safety but to pour out our lives to serve Jesus and others.

8. If you are a Christian, we believe Jesus died for and loves Muslims. How do you validate the argument to keep them out of the US?

9. Contrary to popular sentiment of “we don’t know who they are.” Yes, we do. You cannot say that until you tell me what is missing in the vetting process.

11. The total number of refugees globally at the end of 2015 reached 65.3 million — or one out of every 113 people on Earth, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The number represents a 5.8 million increase on the year before. It is more than after WWII. The US is NOT taking on an inordinate amount.

12. We are taking 85,000 this year and worried about a few that “might be terrorists.” My next door neighbor might be a terrorist. I don’t know. I don’t live worrying about that. The campaign trail has thrown about numbers all over the place about the number of refugees or number of Syrians coming that have been grossly exaggerated. In 1980 the US took 205,000. We could increase our numbers surely. Coming to the US as an official refugee to become a terrorist would be the worst strategy ever. It would be a slim percent and it would take years. It would be much quicker to come on a tourist visa to visit Disney world.

13. If we are going to address terror in a serious way, we would address struggling youth who were born in the US, UK and other parts of Europe who are disenfranchised and angry. Those are the most likely people to be funneled into terror groups. Why don’t politicians spend more time asking why Americans are causing terror here? (Boston, Orlando, Fort Hood) That would be a more strategic use of our time.

14. “I will keep you safe” is a lie. In fact, I am going to use the Biblical word of “it is idolatry.” We have been promised that the world can be controlled, terrorism can be ended, and we will be safe if one candidate is elected. Americans. Do not be duped. Your safety has been a campaign strategy and a wicked one at that because it is pushing you to flee from doing good.

15. The GOP has based their campaigns this year on instilling fear into people so that governors, senators, representatives and a president will be elected. It has been based on fear and not fact. As we analyze the moral issues at stake in this year’s election, do not dismiss the rhetoric that has come out of this party that has been used to deceive as “minor” or a “lesser evil.” It is wicked to use some of the most vulnerable people on earth as a tool for wielding inaccurate political propaganda.

I have a history of voting heavily GOP and cannot this year because of what the Bible says about the refugee and foreigner among us, to ignore this would be disobedient, sinful and a disgrace.

Write your governor and say you don’t want refugees used as a manipulative tool to play on peoples’ fears just so they can win elections. It is a moral tragedy.

 

 

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Anti-immigrant propaganda that is in a US history museum in DC :

March 1890 The Proposed Emigrant Dumping Site.

Statue of Liberty: “Mr. Windum, if you are going to make this island a garbage heap, I am going back to France.” 

 

Just read this and meditate on our history repeating itself for a moment. It makes me feel ill to read it. It makes me feel even more ill to think we repeat this over and over. Anti-immigrant sentiments have been used towards the Irish, the Japanese, the Chinese, Jewish people, Catholics and many others. The fearful lie we are believing about refugees now has been used before, just for a different war and a different people group. History MATTERS.