As we approach the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, we see politicians in Tennessee and around the country — many of whom claim to be followers of this babe born in a manger — making hateful, bigoted calls to expel the very ones scripture calls us to welcome.
Agents of the state sought this very same Christ we celebrate. Understanding that this baby would shake the political foundations of regional interests, agents of the state slaughtered baby boys in an attempt to eliminate the infant Christ. Mary, Joseph and Jesus fled to Egypt because of political violence. The earliest views of the one who would save the people from their sin is that of a homeless child and refugee.
In this ugly political season more than 2,000 years later, we find ourselves in captivity to xenophobia. Our own Tennessee elected officials want to bar Christ from entering this state in the form of refugees from war-torn Syria. Some have even suggested having the armed National Guard round up refugees already in here.
Syria, a place so vital historically to the history of the Church, is in need of radical hospitality. Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center strongly and vocally opposes the fear, retribution, cynicism and hatred that would make people turn against refugees. We stand with the least of these who flee war torn regions, because they represent to us Christ here on earth. Mercy Junction believes that to reject, expel and demonize Syrian refugees is to reject, expel and demonize Jesus Christ.