1. The Prime directive to love my neighbor (including my enemies) does not require a pacifist response in the face of violence against others.
  2. The responsibility to defend the innocent does not relieve me of the obligation to love my enemies.
  3. The current ‘Just War’ legal model of permission is different and often in conflict with the ancient Christian discipline of striving to become the sort of human being who naturally and virtuously handles the responsibilities of being a ‘just warrior.’
  4. Loving my neighbor does not require that I support the first or most obvious concrete proposal of how to do so/ It is appropriate to question short sighted ‘obvious’ solutions with the potential of creating greater evil in the long term.
  5. The Christian duty to love my neighbor begins at home and works outwards. This is not an excuse that relieves anyone of their obligation to love. It is an effectual focusing of the obligation, which is made necessary by the limitations that come with being finite creatures.
  6. Demands made of me that I love a neighbor who is far away seems to inevitably be accompanied by inattention to the needy neighbor that is lying under our own noses. Claims that one would ‘shelter every refugee that you send me’ seem rather uncharitable when one considers the homeless that surround us already.
  7. Self-righteous public justification is a perennial problem.
  8. In the end the true enemy is other than any human being.
  9. Appeals to scriptural concerns regarding refugees seem never to mention the scriptural context and assumptions that accompany those concerns e.g. “Israel certainly had plenty of people of non-Israelite origin living there. However, they did not just become naturalized citizens, were distinguished from Israelites in many ways in their identity, rights, and privileges, and were not really able to make Israel into a multicultural society. There were prohibitions on intermarriage. There were laws to prevent land from being alienated from Israelite owners. There were restrictions on the practice of other religions and strangers had to abide by practices such as that of the Sabbath, the removal of leaven, abstaining from blood. They could suffer the death penalty for blasphemy. Resident aliens were particularly subject to conscription for the construction of public works and for the most manual of labour, as we see in the verse after the one Hughes quotes, where Solomon calls up every one of the resident aliens to bear burdens and hew stones to construct the temple. Strangers were also typically menial workers (Deuteronomy 29:11).” Alastair Roberts (See comment).
  1. Questioning the wisdom of admitting immigrants of a particular ideology does not relieve me of the obligation to cheerfully attend to the needs of those immigrants who are here; nor of figuring out how to offer real aid and relief to those who are not.
  2. Even in situations where there is no ‘legitimate’ grievance, sinful human nature resorts to violent scapegoating based upon differences. The more obvious the difference, the more likely the conflict.
  3. In Christ (i.e. in his body the church) all scapegoating is abolished and natural identities relativized.
  4. It is a mistake (that ignores an apostolic admonition) to expect those who reject the Christian gospel to live as if they embrace it. It is a mistake of an irresponsible kind to build public policy on the expectation that those who reject the Christian gospel will live as if they embrace it.
  5. The prevalent, popular ‘common sense’ American conception of ‘religion’ is a myth of secular American Civil religion that is in conflict with the lived experience of humanity in general and historic catholic Xianity in particular.
  6. National ideologies and narratives are in no way consistently distinguishable from ‘religious’ ones
  7. ‘Religions’ do not agree about the nature of ultimate reality, humanity or human flourishing. Asserting otherwise is a clear faith commitment, which distinguishes itself from many other faith commitments by being irrational. In this obvious sense religions are not equal.
  8. Islam is distinctly and radically rooted in a violent origin, expansion and ideology, which are clearly at odds with the Western inheritance regarding the Transcendentals, humanity and human flourishing. Denying this aspect of Islam is dishonest.
  9. Many (apparently the majority) of Muslims have moved towards a more ‘Western’ way of interpreting their own inheritance. This is the reality, and the sincerity and legitimacy of their understanding ought not to be questioned.
  10. Every adherent of Islam is an encounter away (whether through a book, media or personal interaction) from discovering the more ancient and violent understanding of their inheritance.
  11. As with most paradigm shifts, it is a felt experience (whether a negative one regarding the community that one is leaving; or a positive one in the community that one is joining) that ultimately lies behind the new identification.

In summary-

“My Christian faith demands of me—and my country, I believe—a response of generosity, charity, compassion, and hospitality toward all who are now fleeing the brutality and horror of ISIS. But this judgment need not entail unrestricted and indiscriminate admission of refugees. Other considerations, moral and political, are also legitimately in play here. These considerations need to be thoughtfully identified and discussed, without fear of being labeled xenophobic, anti-American, or whatever.

I am tired of twitter-bites masquerading as prophecy and wisdom.”- Fr Aidan (Alvin) Kimel