Everyone needs to stop their vacuous moral posturing over the refugee crisis

Oh, we’re going to “vet” those refugees, you say? We’re going to background check them? Please, tell me how that goes. Go on, explain the process bit by bit. Are we going to look up refugees on Syria’s probably nonexistent high-tech terrorist watch list and biometric database? Are we going to send ICS agents to Raqqa, under French bombs, to interview those people’s former employers? Should we Google them and see if they “like” ISIS on Facebook? Explain to me, step by step, how we “background check” millions of refugees from one of the world’s worst war zones in a reliable way. I am genuinely curious.

But please, whatever you do, in the name of all that is holy, if you don’t go to church on Sunday, and if everything you know about Christianity is second hand, don’t lecture me about my own religion. Yes, Jesus said to help the stranger. Yes, Jesus said to love even unto self-sacrifice. And also in the real world there are competing goods. I’m pretty sure Jesus would have wanted me to love my friends’ friends who were murdered last week, but now I won’t have a chance. If there’s a moral issue out there, Christian tradition has wrestled with it for millennia, and in this specific instance has recognized that there are competing goods: We should love foreigners, but we should also love our own community. Christian tradition has generally recognized the merits of regulating immigration for the sake of one’s own community. It’s complicated. But hey, you can throw a Bible verse in my face and call me a hypocrite. Good for you! Thanks for fulfilling the cliché that progressives are always sensitive to the complexities of every culture, except Western Christian culture.

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