The argument is less nutty than it sounds, I promise. But I’d still bet he’s in the minority of evangelicals on this.

Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, told BuzzFeed News on Thursday that he was shocked by the “overheated” rhetoric being employed by high-profile politicians in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

“Donald Trump is saber-rattling about shutting down mosques in this country, which, as somebody who works every day on religious liberty, I’m astounded that we could have a presidential candidate of either party speaking in such a way,” Moore said. “Evangelicals should recognize that any president who would call for shutting down houses of worship … is the sort of political power that can ultimately shut down evangelical churches.”…

“I don’t think we ought to have a religious test for our refugee policy,” Moore said, adding that a rigorous vetting process could still make room for innocent Muslims. “We really don’t want to penalize innocent women and children who are fleeing from murderous barbarians simply because they’re not Christians,” he said, though he added that persecuted Christians in the region haven’t received enough attention from the U.S.

Santorum’s not recommending that refugees be left in Syria for inevitable liquidation by ISIS or Assad. He wants them resettled, just closer to home. And there’s good sense in that, per Reihan Salam:

Recently, one of the most articulate defenders of refugee resettlement, Daniel Byman, a professor of security studies at Georgetown and a regular contributor at Slate, warned that “the true terrorism danger is that the refugees are not cared for or are welcomed briefly in a fit of sympathy and then scorned and repressed.” He’s right. The trouble is that Syrian refugees are not a monolithic bloc, and even the most generous resettlement policy might feel repressive to, say, Syrians who believe that the doctrines of gender equality and sexual liberalism represent an affront to their religion. Policymakers don’t have the power to decide how their actions will be interpreted. Nor do they have the power to dictate how ordinary Europeans will react to Syrians on a human level…

There are certainly Europeans who believe that it is the duty of affluent countries to absorb brutalized refugee populations, particularly among the more educated and better-off. Resettled refugees, however, tend to reside in lower-income neighborhoods, where employment opportunities are relatively limited, and where their neighbors are Europeans, including European Muslims, who may well see them as competitors for access to scarce social goods. Given the manifest failure of France, Belgium, and Germany to successfully integrate native-born Muslims into the cultural and economic mainstream of their societies, despite decades of fitful efforts to that end, what reason do we have to believe that these governments will succeed in 2015? Byman writes that if Syrian refugees are not successfully integrated into local communities, “they risk perpetuating, or even exacerbating, the tensions between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Europe.”

America does a better job of assimilating its immigrants than Europe does but there’s no escaping the clash of values that Salam describes here. He endorses the idea of creating economic incentives for Arab countries in the region to take in more refugees instead of Middle Easterners traveling en masse to the west. Help Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE fund special “industrial zones” that employ refugees and you might solve several problems, easing the tension in the west over integrating Muslims and potentially creating better economic opportunities for refugees than they’d have as marginalized western workers. They’d also be far better positioned geographically to return home to Syria or Iraq or wherever their country of origin is if/when the region stabilizes. That’s Santorum’s point. ISIS, he notes, is engaged in sectarian cleansing of Mesopotamia; whether that’s achieved by bullets or by mass emigration by the persecuted group may be academic to them. If Arab Christians move en masse to Europe and the U.S., the odds of them returning even to a peaceful Syria will diminish. If you want the region to be safe-ish for Christianity again someday, you should think carefully before encouraging Christians to flee far abroad.

Now all we need to do is dangle some cash and convince the Arab countries to accept many thousands more refugees. That should be easy, no?