Refugee Issues, by Steve Gregg
When discussing refugee policy, I am assuming that we are discussing governmental policy—not Christian policy. We do not have a Christian State, but a pluralistic one. As such, the government has no de facto obligation (nor right) under the Constitution to adopt or enforce policies practiced distinctly by Christians in their private lives, following their Christian convictions.
Jesus, Peter and Paul knew nothing of a Christian State, and did not seek to impose Christian convictions upon governmental policy. They did, however, expect the government to do what governments are supposed to do—namely, to protect innocent citizens from criminal aggressors, whether foreign or domestic. Paul told us to pray for government officials—not that they would become Christians or institute Christian laws, but that they would leave us alone to live out our own convictions unmolested (1 Tim.2:1-3).
When people ask me to opine on immigration policy, I do not assume that they are asking me what Christians ought to do, but about what the government ought to do. Immigrants are not immigrating into the Church, but into a country.
As a Christian, I might be willing to take a stranger into my home, even at a risk to my personal safety or property. This would be a distinctly Christian decision on my part. I would have to think twice, however, about bringing strangers into my home if I had vulnerable housemates, whose home it is as much as mine, and who may be endangered by my clueless hospitality. In other words, I would need to vet applicants and set boundaries for their behavior in my home, if their coming in would put others at risk.
The government is in the same position as I am—except that they do not operate under rules of Christian charity. They do have the duty of protecting those who legitimately call this country their home. It behooves them, therefore, to be cautious about bringing strangers within the borders of the land that they are sworn, and duty-bound, to protect.
If we would say the government should behave like Christians—not resisting the evil man, giving to everyone who asks, turning the other cheek to aggressors—then there could be no criminal justice system, no incarceration, no consequences for antisocial behavior. The government would, in such a case, be placing everyone, Christian and non-Christian, at risk and leaving them at the mercy of the most violent and sociopathic members of society.
Therefore, I do not expect or require the secular State to behave like the worshiping community of disciples. The State has a different function and calling. In the Old Testament, Israel was a State, as well as a worshiping community. They had police and high priests—which bore legal authority over all the citizens. America is not a worshiping community. It is strictly a secular State, and, like all States, must act as the protector of its citizens.