Let the Afghan Refugees Come Unto Me

In this global moment, we’re called to heed Christ’s command to open our hearts and hands.

As we can see from the gut-wrenching images in Afghanistan, most of those wishing to flee the Taliban will never be able to escape, even many who faithfully helped the United States in the twenty-year war there.

Some, though, will be able to make it to other countries—including the United States—to seek shelter and to start a new life. As evangelical Christians, we should resolve, even before our new neighbors arrive, to ignore those who would ask us to fear these refugees.

Historically, those wishing to ostracize refugees take a number of different tactics. They sometimes speak of them in language of “uncleanness”—using metaphors such as rodents or insects—or they might suggest that the asylum seekers are themselves vectors of disease. They sometimes, though less often, speak as bluntly as some are now of refugees as an “invasion” of those who are coming to “replace us” (with “us” almost always referring to white and nominally Christian Americans). But perhaps most often, they speak of refugees as a threat.

Just as we saw with Syrian refugees and Kurdish refugees in years past, we will soon hear the insistent cries of those arguing that Afghan refugees are terrorists, or at least that they might be, since they are “unvetted” and we know nothing about them. These claims aren’t true.

As Elizabeth Neumann—a former high-ranking Trump Administration national security official—demonstrates, even if a terrorist wanted to play the long game of twenty years of pretending to be a pro-Western, anti-Taliban figure, the vetting process for all of these refugees is intense and rigorous, using extensive biometric and biographic checks. And …

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