By Katie Mendez
The Trump administration has decided to pull out of the Global Compact on Migration, which is intended to: address all aspects of international migration; make an important contribution to global governance and enhance coordination on international migration; present a framework for comprehensive international cooperation on migrants and human mobility; set out a range of actionable commitments; be guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda; and be informed by the Declaration of the 2013 High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development according to the International Organization for Migration’s website.
This is one of the latest moves by the Trump administration to not allow refugees in the country due to his dislike of Muslims and other ethnic groups, as demonstrated by his response to the bombing of an Egyptian mosque.
President Trump also tweeted three videos by an European alt-right organization accusing Muslims of multiple crimes, which were then proven to be false by multiple journalists, government agencies, and officials, such as Teresa May. Trump’s actions have alienated us from our allies, with many British governmental officials calling for Trump to be banned from entering the country.
Trump’s actions regarding Muslims and refugees are important for multiple reasons: they alienate us from our allies, they give Daesh and other terrorist groups material to recruit more people, they “prove” to the Middle East that the United States never cared for them, and they violate our Christian calling to help refugees.
There are currently 6.3 million displaced Syrians with 4.5 million Syrians in hard-to-reach areas of conflict. Another 5.4 million are considered persons of concern. These refugees and populations of concern are at higher risk of human trafficking. The refugee crisis has contributed to higher rates of modern slavery in the areas of sex trafficking, labor trafficking, debt bondage, and child soldiers. Women are bought and sold at markets in Raqqa, Syria, sometimes for as much as $40,000.
While many other countries have failed to support refugees to the best of their ability, the United States is especially held accountable because it has often been the cause of much of the instability in the Middle East, often touts itself as the moral agent of the world, and consistently talks about being the richest nation in the world. Another factor sets it apart from other nations: it claims to be Christian. Further, the majority of Evangelical Christians claim that Trump is the first president to uphold Christian values in decades.
However, Trump’s actions—and many Evangelicals who support him—seem to ignore the Godly calling to help the destitute. Many seem to forget that God judges individuals and nations for their lack of support for the needy and poor: “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy” (Eze. 16:49, ESV). The call to help the refugee is not simply an Old Testament calling that become null and void with Jesus’ death on the cross. In fact, in the book of Matthew 25, Jesus tells us that God will judge all the nations and separate its people based on who was righteous and who was not:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to ’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
The Bible is not silent on what God expects of us. Multiple times, God condemns nations for their lack of empathy and aid to those who needed them most. The old prophets often proclaim God’s judgement on the nations for not feeding the hungry or helping widows and orphans.
Isaiah 58 is another of the many Bible verses that speaks of God’s condemnation for what is called “false fasting”:
1 “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.
The true fast, God says, is:
6 to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed[b] go free, and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
When the United States acts, when we vote, do we vote in accordance with the true fast, or do we vote for the false fast? Is our worship useless to God? If we want to call ourselves a Christian, if we want our worship to be heard and noticed by God, we have an obligation to welcome and take care of the refugee, maybe even host them in our home, as God says in Isaiah 58:7. May we be more concerned with God’s laws than those of our government.
Katie Mendez is a senior in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core.