Upon Hearing That The United States Will No Longer Accept Syrian Refugees

We cheer.

Because they are not like us

They call our god by a different name and say they worship

the same one, but he is not ours.

We believe our judgments are superior

to God’s command to love our enemies.

We cheer.

We who believe our dead fathers and mothers

whom we owe a duty to honor

and the God who created us

look down on us from heaven unseen.

We picture our unseen champions,

and shed tears for their suffering.

I know I always do this week, the week when

my father died.

Though we weep for the unseen who died

peacefully years ago, we turn our backs

to the suffering we do not see.

We cheer.

Because if the roles were reversed, they would surely

have no care for us.

As if we have forgotten that the Golden Rule does not

begin by telling us to do what we think others would,

but instead what we would expect if we were them.

Perhaps we all admit

this was too much to demand.

We cheer.

Those who Christ committed to spread the gospel.

And meanwhile people die in cities we will never visit,

whose names we do not know.

People who if they were born here, or lived here

would hear what we believe is compelling message.

And we cast off believing

in the power of that message to compel.

We cheer.

Those who stand behind pulpits, and fill the pews.

Who have real problems

but also warm beds, houses, little luxuries,

and relatively secure lives.

Halfway across the world,

children covered in blood and dust


A dictator propped up by our president’s friend would

gas them in the street. While the upstart

religious radicals would torture them to death.

Friendless, homeless, and broken.

Are they not the least of these?

And here, where people go to churches built

on the settled principle that Faith without works

is dead —

we cheer. Because our president will not let them in.

Thousands die.

And — somehow — we have the audacity to believe

we are keeping the devil out.