The Innkeeper’s Dilemma

4Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

Christianity is a Refugee story. Jesus was born illegitimate, an “anchor baby” to a district and province where his destitute mother did not live or have family, carried there by a man who was not his father. He remained on the run for years in yet another country [Egypt] until the politics of the time made it safe for his questionable family to finally return to his home country and town.

That, friends is the beginning of the story that continues to save the World. All of this was physically possible because the political authorities guaranteed individual freedom of movement and open borders. If Joseph, Mary and Jesus had attempted that journey today, it would be virtually impossible. Map here

Please hear me very clearly on this extremely important point: I am not making a political statement. I am clearly stating what the Gospels themselves record in historical context. The Gospel writers were very careful to steer clear of polemics against, or endorsements of, any historical or political figure. So should we. The only sovereign unequivocally honored and worshipped in the holy text is the Christ, the One born in the gutter; the poorest of the poor; the Man acquainted with sorrows. This is who God says He is. In the world’s eyes, Jesus is a loser. In His Father’s eyes, Jesus is the most important thing in the universe and beyond. And because of Jesus, so are we

In light of this inconvenient Gospel truth, friends [and naysayers] sometimes attempt to draw me into pointed discussions with a political bent. There are endless false dichotomies to sour the stomach, and abundant forums to spew what comes up.  A recent letter by one of Christendom’s leading influencers is making the rounds right now and, as a result, set the front burner on “11”.

The man’s name is Dr. James Dobson, whom I admire for many things. First, the ministry he founded, “Focus on the Family”, has had a tremendous and positive influence on thousands of marriages, families, and churches. The media and materials they have produced in the past 40 years still guide the spiritual formation of millions of Evangelical Christians around the world.  Second, Dr. Dobson paved the way for a new generation of Christian broadcasters and opened up the airwaves to voices of conscience and a redemptive worldview, while the ‘Me’ Generation was hollowing out the spiritual core of America. All of us trying to do more than merely recycle Sunday sermons for radio are deeply indebted to him.

As a man of his generation, it is no wonder that he is deeply steeped in the political accommodations the Socially-Conservative Evangelical Church has made with the Republican Party. Even in his 80s, his sentiments ring loudly in the hearts and Facebook feeds of millions of Christians who, like him, were born well before the Baby Boom. With his permission, I have copied below his report on his recent trip to the U.S. Southern Border and Immigration Intake Centers. I am deeply encouraged that Dr. Dobson took the time to personally travel and see for himself as much as possible in the time allotted. Not many bother to go, or are allowed to. As we’ve learned firsthand in many countries, refugee work is a constantly moving target and prone to many wild gyrations. It is virtually impossible to have a comprehensive view of even a small segment of the refugee issue. Yet we all have our own ideas…

Dr. Dobson is no longer affiliated with “Focus on the Family” but he remains a force to be reckoned with, and his latest syndicated radio program “Family Talk” is heard by tens of thousands every day, including the major network where our Compassion Radio Broadcast is also heard. I’m sure his continuing influence and lasting presence is why President Trump invited him to travel to the U.S./Mexico border.

Before Dr. Dobson’s letter, here are a couple of my own ideas. I have also supplied footnotes to respond to particular observations, opinions, and statements by Dr. Dobson. I understand this is a long read, but I sincerely hope you’ll take the few minutes to digest it. I also invite your comment and prayer over an issue that will have a profound and lasting effect for many generations on the entire Body of Christ.

  1. No matter your particular position, if you take any amount of time genuinely discussing abortion, the word ‘baby’ cannot be avoided. The same is true today with immigration and the word ‘refugee.’ There are many kinds of immigration and emigration and many differing perspectives on it in the countries being emptied, and the ones being filled. The Kingdom of God is called to use one lens, and one lens only in viewing the reality in which people find themselves. That lens is ‘what Love requires’ as defined in the Word of God. We must pray for the discernment of the Holy Spirit that we might perceive ‘others’ as God sees them; as they really are. Our politics are to be informed by our Faith. Our faith is not to be defined by our politics. This is so fundamental to living in the world as a faithful follower of Christ that I’m almost ashamed that I have to remind us of it.
  2. As people of Faith, we are taught that there are always solutions to problems. Sometimes the most important first step is not creating more of the latter. Opinions and answers about the many can be easily espoused by one person. Other than the things God reserves for Himself, however, solutions for the needs of many are never accomplished by only one person. As Christians, we know that God has some things for us all to know and to do. As we serve His purposes in this world, God also has specific things that He is calling us to personally understand and to personally do.
  3. As Christians, it is imperative that we recognize that we have great freedom in our opinions but we have no right to argue with or disobey the express will of God revealed in the Scriptures. If the Word says “take care of the widow and orphan,” then take care of the widow and orphan! When things seem impossible our prayers should never be “Lord, should we really obey You when You say…”. Our prayers should always be “Lord, how should we go about obeying you in this situation? It seems impossible. Help us to remain faithful and to honor You in everything.”

The world has plenty of ‘impossible’ in it. What it has always needed is faithful people who worship and obey a God who specializes in the ‘impossible.’ Now to the letter…

Dr. Dobsons July 2019 Newsletter

Dear Friends,


Several weeks ago, I was invited by White House staff to visit our southern border at McAllen, Texas, where federal agents are struggling to deal with a massive influx of poor and destitute human beings. They come in never-ending waves. Please believe me when I tell you that the media and leftist politicians have not been truthful about what is going on there. It is a human tragedy. 1

I promised the exhausted U.S. Custom and Border Patrol agents that I would go home and tell as many people as possible what I had seen “up close and personal.” Today, I am attempting to fulfill that commitment.


Approximately 5,500 people show up every day in districts organized along our southern U.S. border. McAllen is the site of only one of them, but it is the busiest and most besieged. The “refugees”2 arrive exhausted and ragged from walking hundreds of miles. Among them are large numbers of children, many of whom are unaccompanied by a caring adult. Last year, 382,000 aliens were apprehended for illegally crossing3 into this country and almost 100,000 of them were minors. Some of the kids have been abused along the way. Many of them carry lice, scabies or other diseases4. Currently, the facility I visited is experiencing a flu epidemic, and there are no additional beds on which to lie. Some of the women have been raped. More than 70 people of all ages are sent to local hospitals daily along the southern border. Doctors and medical staff are overwhelmed by their patient load. Remember that word, “overwhelmed.” It describes every aspect of the effort5 to deal with the situation there.

The most heart-wrenching experience occurred during our tour of the holding area. It is a huge gym-like building consisting of dozens of fenced-in areas. Each one is crowded with detainees standing or sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on benches. They stared out at us with plaintive eyes.


I noticed that almost none of them were talking to each other. The children looked traumatized and frightened. Tears flooded my eyes as I stood before them 6. They had no toys or dolls, except for a few items bought by compassionate border patrol agents. One tiny little girl clutched something that resembled a doll bought for her by an agent. There are few provisions made to accommodate the children. The week before we were there, a delegation of agents went to meet with members of Congress and begged them for additional money to buy Pampers, toothbrushes, and other necessities. They were turned down flat. These meager supplies have to be purchased with the border patrol budget, which is stretched to the limit.


I then walked up to a fenced area holding many skinny young men. An agent standing beside me asked if I would like to speak to them. He offered to translate for me, to which I replied, “Please tell them that God loves them.” Then I said, “Now tell them that I love them, too.”7 They smiled and waved timidly.


My heart aches for these poor people. Lest I be misunderstood, let me make clear that I am among the majority of Americans who want the border to be closed to those who attempt to enter illegally8. There has to be a better solution than this. I have wondered, with you, why the authorities don’t just deny these refugees access to this nation. Can’t we just send them back to their places of origin? The answer I received was “No,” 9 for reasons I will explain.


Only 10 percent of the detainees are Mexicans. This year alone, people have come to our southern border from 127 countries, including 10 Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, India, China, Palestine, Albania, San Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and other nations around the world. They speak their native tongues, which means they can’t be understood by each other or the staff. What are we to do with them? 11 The Mexican government will not take them back, and there is no place to send them. Our current laws do not permit us to repatriate them to their country of origin. This is a disaster with no solution 12 or projected conclusion.


Let me tell you how these desperate people come to be our responsibility. They are the lowest rung of many societies. They sell their shanties and any other possessions to scrape together $3,500 to $10,000 to pay “coyotes” to guide them. I don’t know what happens to those who can’t meet this demand. Apparently, most manage to pay the fee, and arrive penniless and profoundly needy. I was told that 13 some of the vulnerable children are “recycled” repeatedly to help men gain entry to this country. An unknown number of these men are hardened criminals and drug runners 14, and they are difficult to identify. Most make their way across the border.


Here’s something else you should know. I have been under the impression that 15 these would-be immigrants try to cross the Rio Grande River and outrun or evade the agents. That is not true of most. They come in large groups, from 100 to 400 people at a time. As I write this letter, a record 1,200 people arrived together at El Paso. The refugees quickly give themselves up to agents. That is why they have made this journey. They know they will be fed, medicated, and treated humanely, even if they are in holding areas while they are in our custody. Then they will be released on American soil. This is the system set up by a liberal Congress and judges. It is a well-known fact that President Obama’s administration established many of these unworkable policies 16, and Congress is steadfastly unwilling to change them. Every effort at reform has been overridden or ignored. It is set in stone. Democrats want massive numbers of immigrants who will someday become voters 17. Some Republicans support the policies because they want cheap labor for agricultural purposes. The border could be fixed 18, but there are very few in authority who seem to care.


Getting back to my story, our group of national faith leaders and humanitarian organizations was taken to a grassy park underneath the international bridges where the “coyotes” bring the refugees. We stood 50 feet away from them and watched as about 200 people sat on the ground. Then buses arrived to transport them to Border Control. Agents have to work fast because another group will be showing up soon, and then another and another. The would-be immigrants are taken to the center and given cursory medical exams. Then they are segregated by sex and age and placed in the fenced-in areas to be held for the next 20 days until they are processed and given a Notice to Appear. If that sounds inhumane 19, what would you or I do? There is simply no other place to “house” them.


Mismanagement of the border has a long history. A federal judge years ago issued a ruling called the Flores Settlement Agreement. It is still the source of many problems. It requires that any unaccompanied alien child must be released within 72 hours 20. This is now the law of the land, and poor people around the world know it. A single male typically seeks to find a child and a woman to help him “game the system.” 21 Clearly, many of these are “fake families,” but there is no documentation in Pakistani or Bangladesh to challenge their claims. Lawyers at home have told them to claim that they are fleeing from oppression or seeking asylum. They are allowed to plead their cases to judges, but there are too few of them to keep up with the volume. These people are given a court case and released. The vast majority are never seen again. Most then become “anchor babies” 22 who are citizens with rights to bring members of their families. Others are given transportation to an American city where they disappear into the culture 23.

In addition to this influx of people from places around the world steeped in poverty and despair, Senator Chuck Schumer authored and helped pass a “lottery” system, whereby winners are brought to the United States. They become permanent residents, who then begin bringing their families to our shores. Thank you, Senator.


Ten years ago, 90 percent of illegals apprehended at the border were single males, mainly from Mexico. Now, more than 50 percent show up with babies and children, and 90 percent of them are from countries other than Mexico 24 with 64 percent being family units or unaccompanied alien children. Together, they claim to be “families” and within three weeks, they will be home free in America. Is there any doubt why there have been more than half a million illegal immigrants this year alone? 25

Before I conclude, I must tell you about the agents who have to deal with this chaos. They are compassionate men and women, sworn to uphold federal law and protect our borders.


They obviously care about the detainees, and I respect them highly. They work tirelessly feeding people three times a day and providing clean clothing. They must also maintain the portable toilets in the cells. It is a never-ending task. There are only two large showers in the facility, one for males, the other for females. Their capacity is for only 20 people at a time, which is insufficient 26.


The border patrol agents administer this program, but most of them didn’t sign up to be caregivers. Agents were trained to patrol the border and apprehend drug runners, traffickers, smugglers, murderers, and every kind of lawbreaker 27. This is very dangerous work. But, please understand this: the border patrol agents are so busy caring for refugees seeking entry to the United States that they have very little time to police 28 the borders. It is so porous that huge quantities of contraband, including all kinds of narcotics, flow into this country every day 29. Then it is transported northward to America’s cities to be consumed by adolescents and millennials 30. Lawless gangs, such as MS-13, are also pouring into the culture, making violence for inner cities a way of life.

There is one more aspect to the work of the agents that you should know. They are openly hated by citizens who resent the work they do. They are routinely vilified and mocked and demonized. Their families are also subjected to ridicule. These agents need our appreciation and prayers. They have one of the most thankless jobs in America.


The situation I have described is the reason President Donald Trump’s border wall is so urgently needed 31. He seems to be the only leader in America who comprehends this tragedy and is willing to address it 32. Those who oppose him do everything they can to impede his effort. That is why I went to the border to see the situation for myself. I came away with an array of intense emotions. First, I was profoundly grieved over the misery of thousands of people. Second, I felt a deep appreciation for those who are doing their best to help in an impossible circumstance. Third, and frankly, I was angry at the political fat cats who have deliberately allowed this chaos to occur for political or financial gain. They, and their friends in the fake media, have told the American people that there is no crisis 33 at the border! Shame on them all.


What I’ve told you is only a glimpse of what is occurring on the nation’s border. I don’t know what it will take to change 34 the circumstances. I can only report that without an overhaul of the law and the allocation of resources, millions of illegal immigrants will continue flooding to this great land 35 from around the world. Many of them have no marketable skills. They are illiterate and unhealthy. Some are violent criminals. Their numbers will soon overwhelm the culture as we have known it 36, and it could bankrupt the nation. America has been a wonderfully generous and caring country since its founding. That is our Christian nature. But in this instance, we have met a worldwide wave of poverty that will take us down 37 if we don’t deal with it. And it won’t take long for the inevitable 38 consequences to happen.

Thanks for letting me set the record straight.

Dr. James Dobson's Signature


P.S. I want to conclude this disturbing account of the border situation with a suggested “action item” for the reader. There is one solution as I see it, which is for people of faith to pray for our President 39 as he seeks to deal with this humanitarian crisis. He is facing enormous opposition from both political parties, the mainstream media, the entertainment industry, the judiciary, portions of agriculture, powerful lobbies, and virtually every dimension of the culture. I know of no one with political influence besides the President who seems to care 40 about the crisis at the border. Will you join us in making it a matter for concerted prayer?


This letter may be reproduced without change and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from Family Talk. Copyright, 2019 Family Talk. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Printed in the U.S. Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk is not affiliated with Focus on the Family.

[Dr. Dobson’s commentary can also be found here]

 

1 I have struggled greatly with this statement. I don’t know of anybody,  conservative, liberal or libertarian who has claimed: “there is no crisis,”  or “what is going on at the Border is not a tragedy.” There is plenty of disagreement on the scope of the crisis and what must be done to addresss it. If there are deniers, they would likely be a segment of the alt-right. I honestly don’t know how Dr. Dobson arrived at this conclusion and how it is a ‘fact.’   back
2 We start with airquotes. The farther we go into the issue, the more clear it becomes that the vast majority of recent U.S. land immigration fits the definition of “refugee“. As we’ll see soon enough in Dr. Dobson’s own account, many of the arrivals at our southern border are genuine refugees who have been blocked at every other point of entry, fleeing war and starvation. Desperation keeps going until it is satisfied or it is killed. back
3 Like many others, Dr. Dobson is supergluing together the terms ‘alien’ and ‘illegal’. If they also happen to be ‘refugees’ then we have a moral and legal impasse, for refugees have internationally recognized and guaranteed rights. back
4 It’s hard not perceive this as indiscriminate aspersion. If you had made that trek, slept where they slept, ate what they ate, you would too… So it’s fair to ask: “If you were somehow stranded in Central America and had to walk back to America, arriving diseased and covered in bugs, should we accept you?” back
5 I’d simply add “People and systems get overwhelmed, not efforts”. ‘Efforts’ are the product of values. Good efforts may be inadequate to fully address the need, but they are worthy and effective as far as they go. It is time to ‘overwhelm the overwhelmedness.’ back
6 I’m glad Dr. Dobson experienced overwhelming emotion to the ground truth in front of him. It is a start, but it is also dangerous, potentially causing some unhelpful responses, such as 1] More overwhelmedness. 2] Unproductive pity. As Belinda Bauman calls it – “high-functioning apathy.” 3] Self-righteousness – concluding that the misery you see must somehow be the fault and responsibility of those doing the suffering. Assuming that ‘those who suffer have brought it on themselves’ is one of the most insidious sins of the modern Church. When our faith is only validated by the lack of suffering or the presence of abundance, we truly deny Christ and His sacrifice for us.  back
7 It is frighteningly common for Christians who ‘go’ to feel compelled to ‘tell.’ It is always a temptation for us to desperately want others to understand what we think of them. I’m learning that what those who suffer really want, even more than relief, is to be heard. To know that someone, somewhere cares that they exist and acknowledges their value and uniqueness. If we really want others to believe that we love them; that God loves them – we will listen to them. Their story matters very much to God. It should matter, at least a little, to us. back
8 By earlier defining all immigration as illegal, I’m afraid Dr. Dobson has backed himself into a corner. In this position, even legal applications for asylum and protection are to be denied due process, simply because they cross the border and surrender to U.S. authorities. What this is really saying is that the moment a refugee steps onto U.S. soil, they are no longer a refugee, but a lawbreaker and subject to prosecution and punishment. This position doesn’t hold up to cross-examination, logic, law or morality. back
9 The answer is “No” for many reasons, and many of those reasons are predicated on internationally recognized rights and moral foundations. Some of the legal reasons we currently use, and policies we write, may be very sketchy and unsavory to some. Solutions to the legal and logistical problems of refugee rights and resettlement can solve specific problems individuals and populations face, but they are not solutions to the problems that caused mass migrations in the first place. Those problems must be addressed in concert with the immediate and pressing needs of immigrants and refugees.  back
10 As mentioned above, many of these 127 countries are being torn apart by ongoing religious, environmental, economic and military conflicts. Most of the countries mentioned have current American military presence and involvement. These refugees are being refused at every turn by all major nations, especially the United States.  back
11 This is the pressing question, and there is no option to ignore it. Yet the American Evangelical Church seems especially devoted to doing just that.  back
12 I’m afraid that this not an acceptable response, especially from the Body of Christ. We know we have everything we need to address the pressing needs in front of us, if we have courage, resolve and moral rectitude. And we can do it, even if the governments of the world do nothing at all. We have God’s command, sufficiency, blessing and promises to back us up.  back
13 “Objection, Your Honor! Hearsay.” As a journalist, I would very much like to interview the sources and determine the veracity of such a claim. It might very well be true. And if so, would still require its own focused response, not more willful disengagement. back
14 ‘Unknown’ is right. It is not at all clear to whom Dr. Dobson is referring, or if they are, in fact, drug runners. If they are being apprehended at the border holding babies, I think it unlikely they are packing drugs. They are fully searched and locked up for weeks or months in detention. The vast majority of drug runners are already in the United States and probably U.S. citizens. Clint Eastwood’s theatrical release “The Mule” shows the reality of drug-running in America…  back
15 This is, perhaps, the most important and revelatory statement Dr. Dobson makes. Instead of simply making unchallenged proclamations, he states his own ignorance, and how the facts changed his perception. I’m very glad he included this.  back
16 ‘Unworkable’ means ‘impossible to implement’. I’ll hazard a guess that the Obama era policies were implemented and that many continue to be enforced. Whether they are the most effective policies is debatable. And it’s fair to ask what effective policies should effect. Obama era policies might very well be very effective at things Republicans find objectionable. Again, Christians should be viewing law and policy through the lens of the Gospel, not politics. The Gospel is our Constitution.   back
17 Unfortunately, this is simple pandering. Do Republicans not want immigrants who will vote Republican? It is, frankly, a not so subtle racism at work here. “We don’t want ‘those’ kinds of people in our camp.”  And I’m not being snarky when I say that. 5 minutes of honest thought bare this truth. As Christians, if we hear anyone voicing couched racist remarks, it is our duty to confront it in the Love of Christ.  back
18 I’m not sure how this fits with his earlier statement that the problem is unsolvable. back
19 The correct and honest statement here would be: “This sounds inhumane – and it is – but I can’t think of any other way to handle it.” Soft-peddling the reality with a false hypothetical if/then statement is intellectually dishonest. This is no hypothetical. Intentionally making the unacceptable seem reasonable is evil. We should not do that. I know that I know Dr. Dobson is not intentionally intending such a thing, so I will presume this is a coping mechanism. back
20 This is policy and settled case law because it is demonstrably inhumane to intentionally, or neglectfully traumatize children. The text here seems to indicate that these children are released on their own recognizance. That is not so.back
21 Conjecture at best. Self-righteous judgmentalism below that, and racist at worst. back
22 This is nonsense. Children who are already born somewhere else can’t rebirth themselves in America. Being born on American soil to a mother who is not an American citizen is what ‘Anchor Baby’ means. They aren’t suddenly becoming American citizens with or without this ‘Second Birth.’ I have no idea what Dr. Dobson may have honestly intended by this comment. It ends us as a cynical slight. back
23 I find this an odd phrase. ‘Disappearing into the culture’ would indicate these new arrivals are quickly indistinguishable from the majority of Americans. If that was so, what does a good ‘American’ have to worry about? They’d look like, talk like, work like, worship like, and vote just like… you.   back
24 Goes to the argument that something fundamentally different is going on than economic opportunism. When something is seriously broken in the world, and the shards are washing up on your shore, the proper response is not to fret about why these are not ‘Mexican’ shards. It may not be natural to us, but it is required that society lift its eyes and ponder the pillar of smoke on the horizon. If not the whole nation and its government, then at least the faithful citizens of the Kingdom who live here. back
25 No, there really isn’t. And yet it is fascinating that hope and desperation for America so persistently infect people from every country on Earth. For all our moral failings and insecurities, refugees and immigrants the world over pine for a land built by refugees and immigrants. It tells me that the children of earlier immigrants don’t understand the power of their own story – the value of their own birthright – and resent people just like their own parents. Those risking their lives to share in the American experiment very much do understand.    back
26 Insufficient for the immediate need.  This is simply logistics. In a bigger sense, we must reclaim ownership of our sufficiency as a people. We have tremendous capacity compared to nations who are taking in refugees willingly. Lebanon and Jordan are hosting nearly half their native populations in refugees, meaning approximately 33% of the current population of those countries are refugees. The totals accepted by Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway represent 1% of their respective populations. America would have to accept  3.5 million refugees to match that proportion. However, we have accepted less than a 1/10 of that amount over the past dozen years. Citizens of the Kingdom should doubly understand and act with confidence and compassion. We are not ‘insufficient’ to the challenge when we have the God of all sufficiency at our back. We may simply be unwilling. back
27 As defined earlier by Dr. Dobson ‘every kind of lawbreaker’ includes immigrants who step onto American soil without a visa. Border patrol should be thrilled to intercept this kind of lawbreaker and defend real Americans. But they are not. That should tell us plenty about the moral quandary in which they find themselves. back
28 …but if they’re all lawbreakers then they should go to jail, right? It would still be a police action and within their purview. They know full well the refugee crisis is something much more than an immigration issue, and that people better prepared to deal with trauma should be involved. That is what they are asking for. back
29 I’ve read a lot, in conservative and liberal sources. I can find not one iota of evidence or testimony that illicit drugs are being transported and trafficked through refugee intake centers or by refugees. Statements like these, again, don’t pass the sniff test any better than claiming every immigrant male between the age of 18 and 90 is a rapist, (which has been claimed.) I will, again, assume that Dr. Dobson did not have the time or inclination to investigate this further and trusted an unquoted source. There is no doubt, however, that vast quantities of illicit drugs are being smuggled into the United States. And they are still being transported the usual ways – unregistered ships, boats, and planes; by major trucking companies, freight trains and trans-oceanic cargo ships; in produce and manufacturing shipments; on scheduled airliners in freight and personal luggage; in the bodies of ‘mules’; through the U.S. Postal Mail. Drugs don’t make or sell themselves. Vast production, transportation, and distribution networks have been established because Americans keep demanding and buying drugs. Once we build a 1900 mile-long wall on our southern border, we still have 5500 miles of ‘unprotected’ International border with Canada and 12000 miles of ‘unprotected’ coastline. [details here.] The flow won’t stop till the demand stops.    back
30 If you’re an adolescent or millennial, register your protest now! According to solid research, Dr. Dobson is correct that a greater percentage of young people use drugs than older people.  But they ain’t the only ones. Here’s who is addicted to illicit drugs and/or alcohol in the U.S.:  4% of 12-17 year olds; 14.8% of 18-25 year olds; 6.4% of 26-65 year olds; 3% of people 65+.  The percentage of the elderly that abuses drugs is climbing fast. Most of the adult addicted population came to their dependence through prescriptions. And with the population of 26-65 year olds currently 51% of the total U.S. population, at least 1,100,000 people in that age range are addicts. 5,250,000 millennials are addicted and moving quickly into the next age bracket.  back
31 I simply do not follow Dr. Dobson’s logic. If the problem is dislocation and desperation you treat the disease where the epidemic has erupted. [A valid analogy: We hunt down Ebola in Central Africa so we won’t have to in Atlanta.]  The United States is devoting a vanishing fraction of the money spent on armaments to the support of refugees and internally displaced persons in the regions where they first find themselves displaced. Even Fox News has stated that construction of the southern border wall will cost at least $25billion. Money, which if it was spent where a vast majority of refugees first find themselves would obviate the need for a physical barrier here. Invest that kind of money in economic development and good governance in the Americas including a renewed ‘bracero’ program, we would stem the tide of citizens fleeing their corrupt and devastated countries in our own hemisphere. Spend $25 billion on the Americas and you don’t have to spend $25billion on defending yourself against the Americas. Plus we’ll create new and robust markets, growing prosperity and stable democracies… for everybody.

Now for the philosophy: You don’t put yourself behind prison walls and ignore the screams of agony just beyond that wall and call yourself ‘safe’. It is simply not morally justifiable, or really safe. We rightly express our disgust at the North Korean regime for starving its own citizens and preventing them from reaching help in China or South Korea. We also rightly despise Chinese policies that forcibly repatriate North Koreans they catch. Both actions are morally indefensible. Back to our situation: A wall and no relief is a fist in the face of basic decency and humanity. The Faithful know this. They should be beating government doors until they either pony up or get out of the way.  If they won’t then Christians should be willing to do the government’s job if necessary and, by doing so, honor their King. This is absolutely the biblical, moral and Christ-centered response. It even happened in China just a few years ago. There has apparently been zero discussion in any media about what comes next if the Wall actually gets built. Are we ready to build and supply refugee camps for millions on the Mexican side of the border? If our government won’t, will the Church? If those claiming to be followers of Christ will not do so even then, we are directly complicit in the suffering and death of millions. On Judgment Day we will have no excuse.  back
32 I’m not sure that Donald Trump is the only leader who perceives and addresses the problem. There are certainly many, many people of influence, position, or power who perceive the problem and also have ideas. What we don’t have is consensus or will to act. And, again, a wall is not a solution to a refugee crisis. It is merely one breakwater. In the Church here in the West, I sense a profound malaise and unwillingness to even ask God what He might want done, what He might require of us to do it, and how He might provide for us to accomplish the task. If I am correct about this then the Church is willfully choosing to refuse the power and presence of Christ in our midst and trading it for a junior seat at the political table. Spiritual power and authority are not experienced when serving our own desires and ego. They are discovered in faithful obedience and radical risk-taking. We will never discover how deep is God’s treasure house without it.  back
33 Again, I don’t know who ‘they’ or the ‘fake media’ are that are claiming there is no crisis. I’ve got my pen and notepad out – Start naming names, Dr.! back
34 Yes, you do. And we do too. Can we do that, please? Can we at least get started? Dr. Dobson, you hold one of the most powerful and effective pulpits in America. Can you imagine the power of true compassion that would be unleashed if you persuaded us it was the right thing to do? If you turned our hearts back to the Gospel of Peace? If you chose to remind us how Christian families should respond to the needs of all the families around them? All the families?… back
35 Yes, Dr. Dobson. As long as the root causes of conflict and plight are not addressed, this will remain the state of our world.  back
36 Can we stop regarding refugees and immigrants as low-grade labor commodities, somehow unacceptably disgusting and strange in their ‘otherness’; as wicked and violent; as an existential threat to all that is somehow ‘American’; ignoring the fact that this American culture was created by, is managed by, transformed by, evergreen because of immigrants? Can we acknowledge that God Himself for some reason has brought them to our doorstep? Please? back
37 How could someone else’s poverty ‘take us down?’ What is really being insinuated here is that American largesse has its limits and not to test it. I would remind the doctor that our entitlements to ourselves, and our pathological fear of being ‘second’ in anything – especially military hardware – has already completely bankrupted us. We are impoverishing ourselves. We are unwilling to change our spendthrift ways; admit our addictions; repent from our sins. And we’re blaming the world’s poor for it. Shame on us.  back
38 Bad things are only inevitable to the unfaithful. The suffering of the faithful is always a possibility and something Jesus warns us comes with the territory. I would encourage this great leader of the Christian faith to examine his conclusion and place it at the foot of the Cross. back
39 I absolutely agree we should be praying for our President. And that also means we should not pray against him. But to suggest that this is the only solution to the problem is a problem.  back
40 I sincerely hope that Dr. Dobson will meet more people of influence than Donald Trump. I think he will discover there are many, many people who genuinely care and would risk much to do the right thing. back

 

Bram Floria

Bram Floria has been President and Host of Compassion Radio since 2016. He succeeds CR's long-time President, the Rev. Dr. Norm Nelson. Bram spent 10 years as CR's Executive Producer and has travelled extensively in pursuit of transformational stories. Bram met his wife Sandi doing adventurous missions work in the 1980s. They live and work from Texas, where they spend free evenings enjoying world-class sunsets across an acre of spring-fed lake.
Bram Floria

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