Category Archives: Politics

Peace, Unity, and Refugees: the Executive Order

refugee-991232_1280

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people. Romans 12:8

Eric Costanzo, pastor of the South Tulsa Baptist Church (SBC) in Tulsa, OK co-signed a protest letter published in the Washington Post, wrote a facebook article, and posted a blog supporting the Evangelical protest of the temporary immigration halt from seven countries. In the Tulsa World he wrote that we have a “blindness to the degree of polarity between their [refugees’] needs and our extravagance that allows us to somehow justify our selfishness and inaction to their suffering.” The plight of many is desperate. It is also possible that there are more refugees in the world than the entire population of the USA.

His comments are typical of what many believe. “Whether or not we will admit it out loud, our conservative culture is quick to dismiss injustice if those who are oppressed are Muslim. The Bible contains several mandates from God that his people show compassion, provide refuge, and care deliberately for the foreigner who is in need.”
If this statement is true, why didn’t Jesus do this? Jesus fed people who listened to His teaching. This is not what most people mean by providing refuge and care. Jesus had no homes, clothing, money or food to give people.

Pastor Costanzo wrote: “These verses and stories are not hard to find, and their applications to the current refugee situation are hard to miss.” There are many great needs; refugees, our brothers and sisters in Christ in North Korea, the Sudan, China, and families next door. Meeting specific needs is certainly a responsibility commanded in Scriptures. So is providing for your own families and neighbors. Our abilities, resources, time and income are extremely limited. With billions of needy people on earth, what are God’s priorities?

“I believe it is the responsibility of every evangelical leader,” Pastor Eric wrote, “and every believer, to speak out against injustice; to take action on behalf of the refugee; and to be willing to step into the messiness of their lives in order to be good news.”
How does speaking out against injustice help us to teach and preach the Word, glorify God, worship, and make disciples? Great injustices have been committed in the name of speaking out against injustice.

He wrote “Of all the countries who have accepted and are accepting refugees from the Middle East, the U.S. has accepted a very low percentage. This has been true regarding refugees for decades.”

According to the UN, however, “The United States is the world’s top resettlement country for refugees.” “In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the United States resettled 69,933 refugees and in FY 2013 (the most recent data available) granted asylum status to 25,199 people.” migrationpolicy.org/article/refugees-and- asylees-united-states. According to the UN, though there are over 21 million refugees in the world, only 107,100 have been resettled. unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a- glance.html So about 70% of all resettled refugees in the world are in the USA.

From the Ice Age, the time of Job and Abraham, through the New Testament, refugees in the modern sense did not exist. Until recently, everyone on earth either owned enough property to properly take care of themselves or they were property, in other words, a slave. You either found some way to take care of yourself and your family, you died, or your were enslaved.

The letter Pastor Eric signed in protest of President Trump’s executive order says, “we are deeply concerned by the recently announced moratorium on refugees.”

Why? This letter dwells at length on the plight of many people. It also makes many false implications about those who do not agree with their position.

In an attempt to correct some of the worst errors in the Washington Post letter, here are some quotes from the actual Executive Order by President Trump, “the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by- case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.” Sec. 3. (g) “Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program.“

Defining terrorism-related attacks is difficult. Some make a definition which claims that there have been very few assaults since 9-11. Others use a very broad definition which leads to hundreds of thousands of assaults. It is pointless to attempt to convince anyone whose mind is already made up. There is no question that the Boston marathon bombing was terrorism-related. The thousands of unsolved homicides by illegal aliens in LA are not as clearly connected to terrorism.

Section 1 “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”

It is so sad that Pastor Eric’s blog perpetuates the myth that “We are afraid that refugees from the Middle East will be our enemies.” A proper understanding of Islam reveals the radical form of the religion of Islam is our enemy. That is understanding, not fear. Radical Islam has declared war on the USA and Christians. Do we understand that?

For an example of how one country handled the very human and laudable desire to open its arms to refugees, look at Sweden. The best intentions to help the helpless turned Sweden into a nightmare where few are helped and many, including both refugees and native residents, regret this misguided attempt at giving refuge.
http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/09/how-sweden-became-an-example-of-how-not-to-handle-immigration/

To briefly summarize, the writer explains the generosity of the Swedish people in accepting disproportionately large numbers of refugees. It details the types of people who came, and what was done to try to help them. And it frankly covers the consequences to the native population and to the refugees, including the youngest people. Gang cultures, attacks on woman, a murder and rape epidemic, and forced child prostitution are just a few of the consequences.

Sweden is known for being one of the most generous, compassionate, and liberated countries in the world. If their hospitality can backfire on them so profoundly, are we so arrogant as to think that our compassion cannot blind us to the potential for a failure just as great?

We have to rightly divide the Word of Truth. We cannot react with well-intentioned compassion that is not guided by a true interpretation of Scripture. Of all the times when we need God’s guidance, one of the most critical is to discern what we can do to show Christ’s love to this world. Humanitarian aid and hospitality to foreigners in distress is wonderful.

But we have a mandate to communicate truth, and the truth is that we can only fight against man’s greatest needs with the greatest weapon, God’s truth in His Word. The weapons of our warfare are not material, but effective to the destruction of spiritual powers.

Thank you President Trump for standing for the Word of God, the rule of law and constitutional rights.

Here is a link to Pastor Costanzo’s blog post: https://ericcostanzo.me/2017/02/09/why-i-signed-the-letter-to-president-trump-on-behalf-of-refugees/

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Best Christian Book Covers of 2014

2015 covers

These are not my Best of 2014 cover choices. They are just the covers for my 2015 Writing Goals

Recently several author groups shared around a post called “Worst Christian Book Covers of 2014”. I’m not going to link to it, because, frankly, I don’t want to give it one single more view. Many sites are set up to include a “worst of” whatever so that people can make clever but snarky and often cruel comments and feel superior. Instead, please share your “Best of” covers. If you can’t come up with just one, that’s okay too.

But I’d like to set some ground rules so we are not just posting one for our best friend or to promo our cover designer, or other criteria than what really IS the best. I also want to encourage people to offer brief but positive and helpful critiques explaining what makes the cover an excellent one.

Part One: Christian and Independent

I’d like to encourage people to chime in and post the best Independently-published Christian book cover you’ve seen this year. When I say independently-published, I mean not with a big, well-known, famous traditional publisher, but with a small press, or a cover made or purchased or fully-approved for that book by the author him/herself.I am not excluding books where the author purchased a premade cover by saying this. I am excluding books that were made in-house by an employee of a publishing house.

Part Two: Fonts

1. Title Fonts: Are they attractive, contrasting, readable, appropriate for the genre, and well-formed and colored?

2. Subtitle/tagline fonts: Are they compatible with the title, the right size and sort to complement and support the title and genre?

3. Author Fonts: Is the author name readable, strong, but not distracting from the title?

Part Three: Image(s)

Does it use images of good clarity, quality, and that evidence care in the choosing? Are they appropriate to the subject? Are they attention-getting without being simply beautiful or startling or attractive without having any relationship to the book’s title or subject? Are they right for the genre, setting, time period, or otherwise truly “right” for the book?

(Let’s make a separate category for covers with handmade art. Some people just irrationally hate to see anything that looks hand-drawn or colored or painted on a cover, but I think there’s a place for it.)

Part Four: Overall Composition/Design

1. Is the effect clean, organized, and drawing the eyes around to the important elements?

2. Are the colors, shadows, lights, textures pleasing, harmonious, and right for that book? Or, if the purpose is to create suspense, terror, or other emotional responses appropriate to the subject or genre, is it effective in doing that? Do things fit together and seem all to belong in the same composition?

I am hoping many people will participate in this, and make it a celebration of the best in cover design, as well as a learning experience for those who want both to learn to make better covers, and to stop being superior and cruel in our critiques.

Please comment or email us at findleymjmc@gmail.com with covers you’d like to see included. Hopefully by the end of the year we can present a Top 100 Independent Christian Book covers list.

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