Soon after the November attack at Ohio State University, we learned the Somali Muslim perpetrator had been welcomed to the United States as a refugee by Catholic Charities of Dallas. This bit of news caught my attention because years ago I worked there for a brief time.
In the early 1990s after graduating from college, I served there for a year as part of a volunteer stipend program, helping immigrants caught here illegally prepare their cases for immigration court. My roommates worked on the refugee resettlement side, helping newly arrived families with refugee status.
I’ve continued to be fascinated with immigration and looked for ways to be helpful. It’s what drew me to teaching English to immigrant students. But my perspective widened and concerns grew as I learned more about our porous borders and problems throughout the West with assimilation, and as I witnessed the growing influence of a warped multiculturalism that convinces many to quash any uneasiness about newcomers, no matter how reasonable. In voicing my concerns, I’ve been slammed by other Christians who’ve called me ignorant and uncaring.
Although I worked for Catholic Charities, I’m a lifelong Protestant. I was raised Lutheran and for many years now have attended conservative Presbyterian churches. Multiculturalism long ago began to muscle its way into mainline Protestant churches but is now running amok in conservative churches, too, with many Christians fearful of being called a bigot for criticizing other traditions and beliefs.
While those in mainline churches tout diversity in a way that differs little from those outside the church, more devout Christians have adopted multiculturalism as a way to better evangelize. Emotion and sentiment have taken over reason, leaving people without the resources to sufficiently analyze threats to our culture and safety, and in some cases, even a diminished interest in doing so. The more pious shame others for their concerns, saying sacrifice and saving souls should come way before worries about ensuring America’s survival as a strong nation.
Many Evangelicals Don’t Seem to Get It
Trump did well among evangelicals in winning the presidency. Many conservative Christians cited Supreme Court picks as the top reason they were voting for him despite his personal moral failings. It’s far from clear that Christians en masse would fully support proposals to seriously restrict Muslim immigration, especially once they face the wrath of activists and journalists more determined than ever to smear them as racists. Also, there’s a strong movement among intellectual evangelicals to embrace Muslim immigration.
In December 2015, more than 100 evangelical leaders met at Wheaton College to discuss how Christians should respond to the migrant crisis that began early that year. They released a statement that gave only passing mention to security concerns while focusing primarily on telling Christians not to be fearful.
“We will not be motivated by fear but by love for God and others…We cannot allow voices of fear to dominate,” the statement read. But rational fear is a healthy thing. It serves to protect, and in protecting, shows love. The Bible has plenty of examples of God’s people taking measures to protect their communities. There’s no reason to fear every single Muslim we meet, but in looking at the bigger picture, there are perfectly valid reasons to fear the violence and political and cultural change a growing Muslim population can bring.
Some of my devout Christian friends insist we shouldn’t speak out much about atrocities Muslims have committed because if we do, Muslims won’t be open to hearing the gospel from us. Neither, they say, should we voice too many criticisms about religious differences that might upset them. But how can there be any hope of having a functioning multicultural society if there are taboos against criticizing traditions that aren’t your own? This misguided quest to be nice and welcoming creates space for the strong-armed to run over the weak, the very type of scenario you would think Christians concerned about justice would care about.
Muslims Aren’t Just Another Denomination
I’ve also heard Christians point to successful assimilation of immigrants in years past as proof that waves of Muslim immigration will work out just fine, too. When migrants began pouring into Europe, my friends shared stories of their ancestors arriving at Ellis Island, as if there are few differences between what happened then and what’s happening now. I recently got into a discussion with a Baptist pastor who says we shouldn’t worry since competing Protestant sects as well as Catholics were eventually accepted into the mainstream of American life.