I confess to being on the horns of a dilemma…
I feel that Donald Trump’s Executive Order banning people from entering the USA because of their nationality is abhorrent and racist. I understand the need to protect citizens from those who would want to harm them because of a distorted and perverse ideology but the approach being taken seems like clearing a whole forest because you were stung by one stinging nettle!
There’s a big part of me that wants to join the campaign to uninvite Donald Trump from coming on a State Visit to the UK while the policy is in place. It would show the strength of feeling that many in this country feel about this draconian policy. But I also want to say that our country’s approach to refugees and migrants is appalling too so if we’re going to start throwing accusatory stones we ought to be sure that our hands are clean. And if we exclude someone because we disagree with them aren’t we doing more or less the same thing that President Trump is doing?
I have Christian friends who have criticised the US President by posting Bible verses about welcoming strangers and refugees on social media. And I agree with them. The Bible does have a lot to say about extravagant generosity and warm hearted hospitality and those who deny it to the most vulnerable are deemed culpable.
And yet… there are also Bible verses about turning the other cheek and loving enemies. There are Bible verses about praying for those in authority (even if we disagree with them). And don’t the Bible verses about hospitality and generosity also apply to presidents as well as asylum seekers?
So where do I stand?
With a vexed soul I profoundly disagree with the policy. I profoundly disagree with the concept that a person’s nationality is sufficient reason to exclude them from entering a country. If the UK had applied such a ban in the 1930s how many more people would have had their life extinguished in the nazi death camps?
But I also believe with a heavy heart that it is better to have robust dialogue with those with whom you disagree rather than isolating them. Should they be welcomed uncritically? No. Should they be left unchallenged? No. We need him hear our politicians speak out against the policy because if we isolate President Trump he will not hear the contrary views and will remain unchallenged.
We should not remain quiet when he comes. But, with regret, I think he should come.
Feel free to disagree!
Be blessed, be a blessing