Our Christian Call to Help Refugees

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.

A Visit to the Italian Senate

By Brittany Gamlen

This past summer I studied abroad in Italy with the Baylor in Italy program.  Besides eating too much gelato and pasta, I was lucky to have the privilege of visiting the Italian Parliament.  While eating breakfast in our hotel one morning I mentioned to Dr. Smith that I was interested in visiting parliament.  One phone call later, and Dr. Smith and I had an entire day booked with parliament, including a private lunch with a congressman.  It proved to be a whirlwind, but it was unlike anything I have experienced.

After taking an early morning train, Dr. Smith and I arrived in Rome at the Senate House.  We handed over our IDs in exchange for badges that granted us access to the Senate gallery.  After passing through metal detectors, we were admitted into the main hallway of the building.  The elevator brought us to the second floor, where we were greeted by two more guards.  The guards took our personal belongings, as the senate has a strict policy against taking any photos of the senate’s session.  We were briefed on the proper behavior for observing the senate; you must sit up straight, limit your talking and not show any emotion.  Once in the gallery, the guard sat behind us during our visit so he could ensure that we continued to follow the protocol.  Furthermore, if the senate were to go into a closed conference, we would have to leave the gallery until they were finished. A closed conference could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.  To our luck, we only had to leave the gallery once for about fifteen minutes during hour two-hour visit.

The Italian political system is much different than ours.  For starters, their Senate has 315 senators, their Chamber of Deputies (the equivalent of our House of Representatives) has 630 members, and there are twelve parties.  Thus, thinks are chaotic by nature.  Each party is too small to accomplish anything of its own, so parties get together to form coalitions.  There are two main coalitions in Italy, and they get into conflict with one another the way our parties do in the United States.  People often say that Congress can never get anything done, but I can assure you our Congress is nothing like the craziness of the Italian Senate.

The morning we visited, the Senate was arguing about the best way to solve the current banking crisis (or at least that is what Dr. Smith translated for me since my Italian skills end with “ciao”).  Many senators advocated for centralizing the banks, while many others were strongly against it, and the rhetoric became incredibly heated. At one point, a female senator began yelling violently, prompting several senators to run towards her.  A few guards rushed onto the floor and formed a circle around her, preventing her from being harmed.  Like I said, the disorder of our congress is nothing compared to that of the Italian Parliament.  Even so, there was some elements that were not so different from the United States.  The senators were unfocused on the speaker and instead were on the phone were their staff, away from their desks socializing with one another, or absent from the floor entirely.  When it was time to vote, the floor suddenly became full of senators sprinting to their desks.

Maybe politics is crazy everywhere, and we do not realize how much more efficient we can be in the United States (even if it might not always seem like it).  Regardless, things are not as rambunctious as they are in the Italian Senate.


Brittany Gamlen is a senior majoring in political science.

Communism as Critiqued by Karl Marx

Note: Communism and socialism are treated as synonymous in this article as they were by Marx and Engels. What is today termed ‘socialism’ (free healthcare, basic income, free education, and so on) will be called ‘social-democracy’ or ‘the welfare state.’
I will never claim to be an expert on Marx—a position that, I think, is ridiculous. This series of articles on Marx, scientific socialism, and its emergence as the radical sublation of liberal philosophy (particularly German idealism) belongs to an 18-year-old student who has, not even a year ago, just obtained the right to vote and buy cigs and, more importantly, has only been reading Marx for roughly three years. My interpretation of what I’ve read has changed drastically throughout these years and will hopefully change again.

This kept in mind, my only aspiration in writing these very short, introductory articles is to invite the reader to take up Marx themselves, for I think Marx (and, really, his method of critique) is indispensable for a generation that is feeling the brunt of neoliberalism’s attack on labor, a reemerged threat of nuclear war, a crushing crisis of student debt, a continuous militarization of the police-state, a racist ‘War on Drugs’ to feed prison labor, policies of ‘never-ending war,’ global warming and its consequential disasters, a surge in mental illnesses such as depression, and an increasing threat of white supremacy against non-white people. I cannot think of an aspect of the status quo that isn’t openly decaying in front of the masses of people.

It would be unjust, then, to not clarify why the promises of the state and the ‘American Dream’ are not materializing for the overwhelming majority, and would be even more unjust to lull the struggling workers, students, and youth into a naïve hope that ‘everything will be okay in the end.’ This is the work of contemporary capitalism’s ideological apparatus; and Marxism sets itself the task to radically critique the powers-that-be’s conception of these issues.

This means, fundamentally, that Marxism is not an impartial science which any member of any class can pick up, use, and dispose of. There are no ‘Marxian’ economics, nor are there Marxian anthropologies, sociologies, philosophies, etc. Marxism is the Kritik (German for critique/criticism) of all of these fields of study, seeing them as ideology, justifications for the continued existence of capitalist production and the theoretical practices of the ruling class, viz. the capitalist class. One cannot be a Marxist while studying, say, political economy and a non-Marxist at home. To do so would mean that one’s study is half-hearted and incomplete, for the Marxist critique of political economy necessarily ties itself to certain practical conclusions, conclusions that are favorable to communism, that show its necessary origin in the self-destructive nature of capitalist production. Marxism is not a profession, but the “ruthless criticism of all that exists” (Marx, 1843) which—as we will learn—can only be from the standpoint of the wage-laboring class.

This necessary devotion to critique and method, as opposed to dogmatism and system, is personally why I feel Marxism is a worthwhile ‘weapon’ workers, students, the youth, and, in general, all oppressed groups can use to make sense of their situations and, most importantly, change it (cf. Marx’s eleventh thesis on Feuerbach). The campaign promises of politicians in bed with the rich mean absolutely nothing, a feature of the capitalist state that has become strikingly evident with the presidency of Donald Trump and his cabinet of businessmen and women. In such a time, I’ve seen struggles erupt and criticism of the status quo arise. It is, however, pertinent that this recent wave in the class struggle does not fall for past mistakes and dead ends, but takes up a ruthless critique of both the contemporary ideology and the ‘movements’ led by liberals and the middle classes, and thus locates the working-class position in all these issues—a position, Marx will argue, that is the only position “which alone can form the real basis of a higher form of society, a society in which the full and free development of every individual forms the ruling principle” (Marx, 1867).