REFUGEES: the lamb lies down with the lions.
On this continent, the native peoples welcomed the early European settlers and nursed them through the winter. They shared and they traded. However, factions with ulterior interests arose. Christian Pilgrims saw their welcoming hosts as "noble savages" and heathens needing conversion!
It didn't take long for the balance of power to shift. Good intentions paved that road straight to hell for the "Indians."
If fine Pilgrim Christians can create a holocaust in a stone age nomadic people's society--what lesson is to be learned about innocently taking in refugees?
In Japan, the Catholic missionaries arrived with peace, love and the miraculous offer of Christian teachings. That was in the early 1540's. In less than 50 years, 100,000 converts had been made threatening the culture, the stability and the security of those welcoming hosts. Suddenly, Catholics were banned.
A pattern emerged: First the holy men and then the armies!
Crusaders, the Inquisition, witch-hunts: a fine legacy of a peaceful religion!
In ancient Rome, society was ecumenical. All gods and beliefs were acceptable. Then, a core group of evangelical martyrs began spreading like wildfire. Internal security was threatened. These pilgrims had no allegiances to the existing State. They had zero respect for "other" beliefs and traditions. They were banned but did not succumb. Within three centuries, Christianity dominated an empire which had lasted a thousand years. The church (Catholic) arose and became a dominant force which held sway for the next millennia and a half.
In the 6th century, an illiterate orphan named Muhammed began spreading strange new teachings. In a short time, with 10,000 converts a wave of "convert or die" battles swept across the ancient world and cut a swathe through every existing society, government and authority.
Long story short:
accepting a human being on humanitarian grounds into your society is a beautiful and empathetic virtue until you suddenly discover how many of these refugees have been taught from birth that their "hosts" must convert or perish.
Once the balance of power shifts j-u-s-t enough to form political wedges--the Trojan horse opens and out comes the gleaming points of cold, sharp steel in your midst.
The Bible tells us that one day the lion will lie down with the lamb. But it fails to mention how delicious the lamb is to the lion.
I applaud a sense of decency and mercy and compassion.
But I take a historical and admittedly skeptical view of what religious absolutism does to otherwise kind, beautiful and decent people who are willing to do the unthinkable to achieve Paradise.
If we cannot and do not find a way to filter out the dangerous from the peaceful refugees BEFORE allowing them inside the precious and vulnerable underbelly of our society--how can we be confident history will not once again repeat it's message to us?
Nature is survival. Religion is not natural. Belief is immune from rational discourse. Absolute certainty that YOUR GOD is the only true god--well friends--that is the most potentially disruptive force within nature.
As Elvis once said, "Don't be Cruel." But also, I might add, "DON'T BE STUPID."
Binary thinking is stupid.
We are a Nation of Refugees, but there was blood on our hands and the blood was our host's hospitality.
Just be a bit more cautious before you knee-jerk your way to a wide, naive embrace of desperate people with a religious foundation which tells them their hosts must convert or die.
Don't be a hater. Don't be naive, either. Take no binary view. Either / Or thinking is black and white. Life is not black in white. There is a grayscale of caution and optimism.
Don't lie down with lions.
You are too delicious to survive.