So this article appeared on my Facebook feed from Premier and it was jaw dropping for all the wrong reasons. But the comments on their Facebook page was even worse and Christians have been endorsing them. Given the level of comments on there when same-sex marriage is discussed, I can’t say I’m surprised but this has just pissed me off!
From quoting 2 Corinthians 8 to saying “would we help others if we can’t take care of our own?” (a popular response all round really) to “we can’t encourage worshiping other Gods“, the parable of the Good Samaritan has evidently been omitted from their Bibles. For those who are missing this passage, here’s the NIV translation:
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Now, it’s evident from the passage the man was a Jew and they didn’t exactly like the Samaritans and vice versa. But a Samaritan risked his life to help this man and Jesus’s words don’t exactly have any wiggle room; “Go and do likewise” How much clearer can you get? If that’s not enough, let’s add in Jesus’s words from the Sermon on the Mount:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:43-44)
Now there are those who do back flips to show how ‘neighbour’ doesn’t mean everyone, but I don’t see how Jesus was referring to anyone but everyone. He spoke to a Samaritan woman who was outcast by her community, he had dinner with tax collectors and it was the Pharisees who were up in arms running around quoting scripture (the similarity to now is also lost on people). He also healed a Roman soldier who was there to arrest him. Seriously, how much clearer can he get?
Now Cyprus may have limited resources and Socratis Hasikos said:
“We would seek for them to be Orthodox Christians … it’s not an issue of being inhuman or not helping if we are called upon, but to be honest, yes, that’s what we would prefer.”
No, that’s exactly what it is. Are the other refugees somehow not worthy of your help? If they do have limited resources to spare, I doubt anyone would object to them putting a limit on the number they take in, but they’re setting up a filtering process based on who they think is worthy; and if this has echos of the past for people then Christians have seriously gone down the wrong path.
Some have concerns that Muslims may want to set up a mosque on site to pray. So what? No one would be forced to join in, and I doubt they’re trying to get into the country as part of a conspiracy to enforce Islam, they’re just scared people, in need of some safety, stability and shelter. As for 2 Corinthians 8, Jesus outranks Paul whatever the context. I can just imagine the apocalyptic fit that Christians would get themselves into if Cyprus said they would only take Muslims or take anyone but Christians. Once again, it seems anything is permissible if it’s Christians doing it.
Some people will really stretch to find a way to exclude people, to not help them, to keep themselves pure yet completely ignoring that Jesus was doing the polar opposite. We are called Christians because we follow Christ, that’s the origins of the name Christian, isn’t it about time we acted like it?
P.S. I am very aware of the many Christians who don’t care about someones faith and are out there helping everyone they can who need it, and that I haven’t always been the greatest Christian in the world. But this really frickin annoyed me and I had to get it out.
Edit 8th September: Apparently Tory MP Sir Gerald Howarth is suggesting something similar by saying Britain should put Christians first. Once again Facebook Christians are all about protecting their own.