Our Debt to Pay

 

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A multi-cultural meal with Abood on the left.

I admit that the entire controversy surrounding Syrian refugees is personal to me. I have close connections with the Antiochian Orthodox Church, which has numerous Syrians in their congregations and it is helping the refugees (Christian, Muslim, and others) in their new lives in the U.S. I also used to live in Turkey. I can still remember the hospitality Abood, a Syrian Muslim and refugee in Turkey, showed me. He liked cooking for others and playing American pop music. He was a self-described Avril Lavigne fanboy.

These people who are against any form of Syrian refugee resettlement in U.S. are entitled in that they think that their choices have no consequences. The United States has systemically undermined the Middle East and is partially responsible for the millions of refugees fleeing Syria. They behave as if their choices have no repercussions. This is worse than any of Reagan’s “welfare queens”. They seek to have their moral debt absolved without any repentance.

We are responsible for our country’s foreign policy. We owe a debt. There is a price to be paid. We killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq, aided war criminal after war criminal, utterly destroyed the public services millions rely on,  and created space for radical Islamists to destabilize neighboring countries like Syria even more. Once destabilized, we armed participants in a bloody civil war and allowed our allies to bomb alternative structures to those created by Sunni Islamists. To quote the Antiochian Church Archdiocese of North America’s most recent statement on the refugee crisis:

the humanitarian disaster caused by the war in Syria to which the U.S. government has contributed by calling for the removal of the established Syrian leadership – as it did in Egypt, Iraq and Libya – requires a moral response from the people and government of our great country

This is all done while simultaneously pushing forward a foreign policy agenda that is utterly without substance or specifics. Does the U.S. support the existence of a Kurdish state or not and are we willing to pressure our allies to accept it? Is Saudi Arabia truly our friend and how much Wahhabism are we willing to tolerate? Do we support the official Iraqi government controlling northern Iraq and , if so, are we willing to accept the existence of the Iranian regime that it acts for? What are we to think of Assad and the Russian presence in the Middle East? Most importantly, why ought anyone in the Middle East trust us? The most recent round of paranoia on the part of American conservatives, especially on the part of Evangelical Christians, seems to be just more proof that our moral check is coming up void.

I don’t pretend to know eternal fates of individuals. To claim such a thing would be tantamount to claiming divinity, but Hell will be full of people like this. Full of cowards who insist on a “great divide” between themselves and those they owe a moral debt to. It will be full of Judas’s that are willing to destroy the body of Christ in exchange for physical security. Middle Eastern Christians won’t soon forget how you said that they and their Muslim neighbors are like rabid dogs. It will be full of traitors to the human race and the Body of Christ, like the Absaloms and the Delilahs of the Bible Belt. America owes a debt. Pay it.

 

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OCU Implicitly Endorses this Starbucks Nonsense

JoshuaFeuersteinOk… no one cares about this Starbucks “war-on-Christmas” story. I know of no one, Christian or otherwise, that is actually upset that a certain coffee company changed the look of their cups. Basically, one man named Joshua Feuerstein, who quite possibility one of the most annoying voice ever to plague the human race, complained on his youtube channel about it and now everyone is freaking out. There isn’t very much real substance to the story. It’s just media hype and conservative Christians can pretty easily wipe their hands clean of this whole story… except for people associated with Ohio Christian University and the Church of Christ in Christian Union. The whole incident is another testament of the level to which President Mark Smith has sunk the university to. For those that don’t know, OCU sponsors Joshua Feuerstein’s work.

In the same week Feuerstein released his video he appeared as a guest on OCU’s Faith & Liberty Talk Show and was honored for being a “Guru of Christian Social Media”. In September, Feuerstein did a video endorsing the university, which lead me to suspect some type of business relationship between the two. This suspicion was confirmed by the most recent and the first episode of Feuerstein’s web show The Radicals. He listed OCU (along with Genetic Edge Compounds and The Family Policy Council of West Virginia) as a sponsor of his show and did a short advertise for them while simultaneously taking a jab at Liberty University.

“It wasn’t very long ago that I meet the people from Ohio Christian University. Look.. they’re never going to have Bernie Sanders speak at their university. Trust me, this is the place where literally culture, Christianity, politics, all come together. I’ve never been more impressed by a single university than I have OCU.”

Let’s be frank here. Within the CCCU and Ohio Christian University circles, if my name comes up it probably isn’t a good thing. I don’t shy from the fact that I’m highly critical of Wesleyanism as articulated by these folks and I have no illusions that they will listen to me for second, but ,to my OCU and CCCU friends, how can you simultaneously wipe your hands clean of this Starbucks nonsense and allow OCU to financially support Feuerstein? To those within the OCU hierarchy such as President Mark Smith and Prof. Dave Garrison, what exactly is the extent of the business relationship between the university and Feuerstein and what is your opinion of his Starbucks antics?