Behold, this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters (outlying cities) had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and committed repulsive acts before Me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.

— Ezekiel 16:49-50, The Amplified Bible
To the GOP Candidates:
As we enter into the month of December, we are uplifted by the season of good tidings and goodwill for it is the Christmas season. People tend to be more friendly, more caring, and more giving. You may find yourself dropping a couple of bucks in the red bucket for the Salvation Army, donating scarves and gloves to the United Way, and buying gifts for Toys for Tots. This spirit of compassion crosses all ethnicities, nationalities, and religions because it is also the season of Chanukah, Mawlid, and Kwanzaa. This is the season of charity and compassion.
As a Christian, I am highly aware of the role of charity within our religion. It is a concept that I take to heart, and I attempt to find ways to give my time, talent, and tokens to help my neighbor. Yet, I see you, along with some other Christians, loudly and proudly advocating against this, especially when it comes to refugees. We should be bearing Christian witness through our words and actions instead of aiding to fearmongering about other religions and xenophobia. At this unique time in history, we should allow the bright light of Christ’s love to shine.
Have you forgotten that this country was built on the backs of immigrants and refugees? Those who sought a better life. Can you imagine your ancestors at Ellis Island? They were greeted with the kind-hearted words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
— Emma Lazarus

Of all of you, however, I would think that you, Senator Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, must have forgotten your story. Have you forgotten that you just renounced your Canadian citizenship last year? Do you understand that your lineage faced oppression—Cuban, Irish, and Italian? Do you realize that had others succeeded in their oppressive strategies, you may have never stepped foot in this country? Further, you may have never been born since your American mother would have not met your Cuban father. Take note, however, that this does not apply to only Senator Rafael Cruz. Unless your ancestors are all Native Americans, you are descendants of immigrants, refugees, and slaves. As GOP candidates, you have the opportunity to lead a wave of change and let this be a positive footnote within the history of the United States. In years past, our country has denied Jews, Asians, Cubans, and Indians (not to be confused with Native Americans since this is our original land).
We cannot live in a state of fear about Syrian refugees. We cannot live in fear of Islam. If you will not blame Christianity for the Ku Klux Klan, then you cannot blame Islam for ISIS. It is an overgeneralization. Further, we have homegrown terrorists that were born and raised in the United States. Christian terrorists. Jim David Adkisson. Timothy McVeigh. Wade Michael Page. Dylan Roof. Eric Rudolph. Joseph Stack. The Christian Right. The KKK. Please realize, GOP candidates, that we should not prevent refugees from entering based on religion. Rather, let your faith in God guide your actions. Be compassionate and lead with love.

For, dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other. 14 For the whole Law can be summed up in this one command: “Love others as you love yourself.” 15 But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always critical and catty, watch out! Beware of ruining each other.
— Galatians 5:14-15, The Living Bible

For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another. 14 For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is fulfilled in one precept, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, you shall have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit].” 15 But if you bite and devour one another [in bickering and strife], watch out that you [along with your entire fellowship] are not consumed by one another.
— Galatians 5:14-15, The Amplified Bible


Aronya Waller

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