>This is NOT okay!


>

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. [Jesus; Matthew 25: 35,36]

As many of you who have been tracking with me for a while will know one of my main points on this blog has been that Peace without Justice is Oppression. Now I recently heard Justice defined as being motivated by compassion where compassion, which literally means “to suffer with” or “to suffer alongside”, is an emotional response to the absence of Justice. Put simply compassion is the emotion we feel when we are NOT okay with the suffering we see, it causes us to join with the sufferer on an emotional level.

Thanks to our 24hr a day news media, compassion is often felt by and for people on opposite sides of the world whom we will never meet. Regardless of physical distance and vast cultural or political differences we can all relate to suffering. Who can forget the out pouring of compassion we all experienced just 8 months ago when an earthquake practically destroyed the island of Haiti or even today while flood waters cover one fifth of Pakistan?

Natural disasters are a natural fit for compassion but what about man-made disasters?

Canada is currently debating legislation which would make it legal (although still against the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights) for the coast guard to board ships suspected of carrying migrants while still in international waters and keep them from our shores. Why? Because the minute the ship enters Canadian waters the passengers would have the right to petition for refugee status. This could take years to resolve, usually resulting in the granting of permanent residency and a possible increase in human trafficking.

There is a clear double standard at play here. Why are we so willing to spend billions of dollars to help rebuild shattered lives when natural disasters hit while on the other hand crying foul and claiming we can’t afford to help when war and political unrest force people from their homes and quite literally onto our doorstep? The only crime these refugees have committed is having been born into a culture and a time that puts them in the minority surrounded by people who treat them as second (or even third) class citizens. There is no shame and certainly no crime in seeking a better life on the other side of the world. Isn’t that what our ancestors did with they founded this country?

Those of you who follow Canadian news media of course know that I am referring to the recent wave of Tamil refugees to land on the coast of British Columbia. But similar scenarios have also been played out on the coasts of the United States and Australia.

If you don’t want refugees showing up on your shores the way to stop them isn’t through confrontation on the high seas. You instead need to address the living conditions, both social and economic, that they face at home. How many Tamils would be willing make a risky and uncomfortable journey to Canada if it meant leaving a comfortable life and secure future in Sri Lanka?

Unfortunately debating foreign policy while refugees are knocking on your door is kind of like re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. They’re here we have to deal with them and Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and the Goats, excerpted above from Matthew 25:31-46 is a good one to keep in mind while we do.

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12 thoughts on “>This is NOT okay!

  1. >As for the Tamils, you have it totally backwards. why should they be inspired to make their place better if they can hop on a boat to Canada where it is wonderful . People have to fix things for themselves. You can give all the money and assistance on earth, but until a person or society decides to improve itself, it will never change. Would Mexico be in it's sad state if it didn't get huge amounts of free US money? No, the people who come here and work 100 hours a week to send it home would put that same effort into fixing their country.

  2. >I did not suggest we send unconditional aid to Sri Lanka. But investment, with a resonable expectation of return, is what's needed and what works. Just look at South Africa, Brazil and India as examples of countries that are turning around economically without huge amounts of international Aid. As for the Mexicans who work 100 hour weeks in American the blame lies with the American companies who are willing to look the other way and pay illegal imigrants lower wages for a higher profit, and the American people who only care about paying the lowest possible prices for the goods they consume, not the Mexicans themselves. They are only providing a service that the American companies and people demand.

  3. >In the U.S., a plague at the Statue of Liberty reads:"Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"And yet, the U.S. is ironically struggling hard to close their borders and limit immigration.As a matter of necessity and practicality, there will always be double standards. For instance Lauren, Canada has free health care based on the foundational belief that it is worthwhile to keep everyone healthy. However, with the exception of disaster relief, that "everyone" extends to only those inside Canadian borders. I would argue that I am no less worthy of health care just because I do not live in Canada.I presently believe that is in our best interest to increase global cooperation and harmony across nations to make it easier for the common needs of all humanity to be met, regardless of their country of occupation. I also believe that this is going to be a slow and painful process, but we just have to keep ratcheting forward.@Andrew: I do not think your suggestion is at all realistic for the common man. For example, you could easily dump 100 hours a week into "fixing" the U.S. government without much success, and the U.S. is (arguably) a mostly working system to being with.The more obvious options on the Tamil table are revolution and emigration. Weighing the risks to my family, I think I would be setting out to sea…

  4. >"They are just providing a good or service that people demand."The same can be said for the drug cartels. The corporations that are ignoring labor laws are every bit as guilty as those who are breaking immigration laws. As Christians, we are commanded to obey the law as long as the law does not cause us to sin against God. You know that as a libertarian, I'd throw out 2/3rds of the laws on the books in America. However, as a Christian, I must obey those laws until they change.You named 3 nations that America gives foreign aid to that are doing better than a decade ago. Given that America gives aid and provides defense for much of the world, that is not a good record. In fact, Brazil is doing well financially because Obama and his puppeteer have dumped billions of dollars into Brazil's deep water oil exploration company. (at the same time BHO is banning similar oil exploration by American companies…but that is in no way corruption)As I said, we need to streamline our immigration system to allow good people in but when people show no remorse for disobedience of laws of the land they enter en masse, history calls them invaders, not immigrants. If I break the law by speeding or possessing drugs for example, I am responsible to the law just as Christ told the Pharisees that they were responsible to Caesar. Let's say you are right and we should throw out our legal system in favor of those who find it easier to cross our border and work here illegally, where do we draw the line? Murder? Rape? Forced prostitution? You do realize than many of those who enter America illegally face all those dangers. Back to Brazil… what happens to illegal immigrants entering Brazil or Mexico? Try: life in prison for the lucky ones.

  5. >Andrew I never said do away with the legal system. The legal system says that if I claim refugee status I get to stay, for years while my claim is reviewed. You're mixing up the issue here. You don't stop refugees from coming just by calling them illegal, you have to fix the system by addressing the reasons they left their country of origin int he first place. When I say aid I don't mean no strings attached spending, I mean market driven investment. The countries I list, as well as China, are the poster children of market driven investment, no country has ever emerged from poverty without some semblance of a market economy. Like the Wise Fool said, we need in increase global cooperation, not slam the doors shut. Also, to "Mr. Fool" if you took up residency and paid taxes in Canada you would have free healthcare, it's that easy. If you want it that badly I have a spare room I could rent you.

  6. >One other thing. Somehow this discussion drifted and became about illegal immigrants but that isn't what I intended at all. This is about refugees and there is no such thing as an illegal refugee.Anyone, from any country can walk up to a boarder patrol guard and say "I am a refugee". At that point the boarder guard has no choice but to grant them entry and open a claim. While that claim is being investigated the cliament has the right to stay in the country and enjoy almost all of the benefits of a free citizen, with the exception of voting and in some cases working. Of course if they aren't allowed to work they are offered welfare instead.If the claim is eventually denied there is an appeals process. Not until all appeals are exhaused is the claiment expelled from the country and not until the expulsion order has been ignored does the person become "illegal". What Canada is debating now is giving the coast guard the right to intercept ships suspected of carrying refugees while still in international waters, circumventing their right to meet the boarder guard in the first place. This is a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is no different than if the board guard were to see them coming, slam the gate in their face and run away singing "la la la la I can't hear you!"This isn't about people sneaking in to the country un-detected and trying to circumvent the system. This is about the system circumventing them and turning legitamate refugee claiments into criminals simply because they arrived on a chartered boat instead of a commercial airliner.

  7. >And so you see why so many Americans feel so strongly about our illegal immigration situation. I personally have been turned away from a DMV office for lack of having 3 (THREE) government issued I.D.s while Illegal immigrants needed none for the same government service that taxpayers (like me) pay for. Our pathetic excuses for politicians (in both parties) talk about people paying their fair share but those who pay their fair share consistently go to the back of the line. Your discussion (partially my fault) has gone in the precise direction that our media (and yours too-I have satellite TV) won't touch. People entering this country illegally are lawbreakers the second they step across the border.As for "investments in" or gifts to foreign nations, I'd love for you. to tell me how much America gets back for all we give. Some countries (like Canada, and Israel give lots back, but we donate to more to Hamas, Iran and Venezuela (under BHO) now than to our allies. For instance, TARP money (intended to "stimulate" our economy) went to teach Africans how to "wash themselves" after unprotected sex to prevent the spread of aids. I'm not really against what the money was used for, just that DC and the media said that money was stimulating our economy, not a bunch of horny Africans.Bottom line is the difference between refugees and illegal immigrants is legal status under your laws. BTW, people who arrive by airliner have internationally recognized documents allowing them safe passage into and out of your country. We actually grant refugee status to communist nations like Cuba where people have no say in their government but if we granted amnesty to every country, we'd go the way of the Roman Empire who was unable to assimilate invading "refugees." The entire fallacy of liberal thought is that the whole world should be fair and "equal" from cradle to grave. The Bible gives so many lessons as to why it never will be. However, as I said, I personally favor streamlining our immigration policy to allow more people in after we get a handle on the anarchy taking place at our southern border. There is a very fine line between mass migration (immigration) and invasion. To see the difference google "reconquista movement" and note how many supporters of that movement are pro open border.@WiseAmerica has had border problems with mexico before. Look at how they ended.

  8. >Andrew; Over the next few weeks you'll see where I'm headed with this. There are many types of foreign aid and investment. The least effective are the types that we see the most of, multilatteral, long term, consessional, low interest loans and grants such as those made by the World Bank and IMF to failing governments with no penalty for misuse.For instance, since the end of WWII the World Bank and IMF have "invested" over $1 Trillion in Africa alone while, with only a few exceptions, the average GDP in Africa has actually decreased and African leaders have built up massive Swiss bank accounts. It's clearly not working…The most effective investments are bi-latteral, (directly between two coutries), corporate, (between companies with similar interests) and personal, (made by people who want to invest their own money). Bi-latteral, coporate and personal loans are more focused and closely monitored making it much harder for the money to dissapear. A wise man once told me, "a flashlight and a lazer beam are essentailly the same thing, the lazer beam is just more focused and cuts diamonds!"The next time you're in a book store, pick up a copy of Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo. It'll blow your mind!

  9. >Okay. We agree here, for instance: Long, long ago in a time far far away, Americans got sick, went to their local doctor who charged based on real prices. Then, some brilliant folks said hey, let's set up insurance companies for health care as they were in real estate, etc. So, more and more people got used to not paying their doctors. Meanwhile, doctors (especially in metropolitan areas) who had to deal with those insurance companies had to deal with huge corporations who set arbitrary prices on medical care based on corporate profiteering. This led to what amounts to "more hands in the cookie jar" effect until the doctors and patients have totally lost, or are in the process of losing control of pricing. Meanwhile, as with a home, auto etc., federal government being lobbied by massive insurance conglomerates has made it law that people now must buy insurance on their bodies. I recall your first contact with me, where you raised a question on this very topic. Similarly, a concept started in Europe (so many of the bad ones do) of a "VAT" or value added tax where government taxes a product from raw material along every stop until it hits store shelves which had the effect of increasing taxes tenfold..and to think that people are wondering why the EU is in economic freefall.

  10. >dengigh111The problem is, that is not in the Bible. To anyone who understands grace from a christian perspective the statement that God helps those who help themselves is simply heresy!

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