The Spirit of the St. Louis

Jeremiah, the ancient Hebrew prophet, said that if he didn’t speak on behalf of the Lord “then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot.” Please believe me when I say that I write this post on Syrian refugees not because I want to, but because I must.

In June of 1939, the United States turned away the St. Louis, a ship filled with refugees from Europe, most of them Jewish. This was at a time when the concentration camps were already up and running. The ship was so close to safety that its passengers could see the lights of Miami, Florida. But, denied entry by the United States, the ship returned to Europe and eventually 254 of it’s passengers died in the Holocaust. We didn’t like the Nazis, but we didn’t feel obligated to take in those who were fleeing from them. They were turned away from the United States in part because they were not Christian (back then we were as suspicious of Jews as we now are of Muslims) and because there was a concern that they represented a threat to national security.

From that mistake, we learned our lesson. Since World War II the United States has led the world in welcoming refugees. But given popular opinion and the stance many of our leaders are taking, I’m afraid we’re going to have to learn that lesson once again. If we take Syrian refugees in something could go terribly wrong, but if we don’t take them something will go terribly wrong, indeed it already is.

Vox.com has more at http://bit.ly/1SLuuPJ