Was Jesus Christ a refugee?
via AP

Was Jesus Christ a refugee?

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The argument over whether the U.S. should welcome refugees has grown more heated as Central American asylum seekers arrive at the Mexican border. Many are outraged at the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their parents and argue Christ himself was a persecuted refugee in need of shelter. But others say Christ wasn't a refugee: Joseph went to Bethlehem with a pregnant Mary to partake in a census. The Holy Family was following the law. Was Jesus a refugee?

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Vice President Mike Pence says we cannot encourage illegal entry into the U.S. by accepting migrant caravans. He and many other Republicans argue refugees could endanger the country.

Critics say if you're denying these people shelter and tearing children from their parents' arms, stop calling yourself a Christian. The Holy Family's flight into Egypt to escape Herod's massacre clearly made Christ and his parents refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. They didn't have papers or permission because they were impoverished, desperate and fleeing violence.

Jesus was explicit in the New Testament about how his followers must treat the poor, the homeless and the sick.

And Pope Francis seems to agree.

But a recent survey from the Pew Research Center found white evangelicals are the group least likely to say the US has a duty to accept refugees. Clearly, many American Christians do not see Christ as a refugee, and they don't see displaced migrants or fleeing refugees as people they have a Christian obligation to care for.

Pew’s new research includes a fascinating detail: No group agrees less with the idea that the United States has a responsibility to accept refugees than white evangelical Protestants.

The U.S. policy of separating children from their parents has drawn outrage from many. Why are we punishing children for the choices of their parents? Who possibly benefits from such cruelty? What would Jesus do? 

But others say this isn't about Jesus: we simply can't encourage illegal behavior at the border. 

And Trump supporters argue there's nothing anti-Christian about putting America first. We have to protect our borders and our citizenry, and we cannot have policies that encourage people to enter the United States illegally. 

Chief of Staff John Kelly told NPR in an interview that the plan to forcibly separate mothers from their children was explicitly designed as a “tough deterrent” to scare immigrants from trying to enter the U.S.
“The children will be taken care of—put into foster care or whatever,” he said flippantly. “But the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long.” 
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