Compassion Begins at Home . . . as Does Protection

South Carolinians are an enthusiastically compassionate people. We build houses for families who need shelter. We donate supplies for children who cannot afford the basic materials needed at school. We provide meals for the elderly. We provide protection for the abused. We perform random acts of kindness unseen except by God. We know that the opportunity to be charitable is as limitless as the people to be helped. We recognized that charity begins at home but must be extended to all.

I was reminded of this recently on a trip to Los Angeles. While waiting for my flight to be called, I ran into a first cousin who was on his way to South America. He’s a retired educator and coach. He and his wife had committed two weeks to a mission trip with their church. I know many people in the Upstate who participate in similar church trips every year to help build housing, provide medical care, educate and through their example, provide people with hope that circumstances can improve.

Our current refugee resettlement argument has caused some critics to question how far our compassion extends. Those that hate South Carolina (and there are more than a few) accuse us of hypocrisy. Would Jesus block refugees from entering our state? As a shepherd protecting his flock, I suspect that he just might.

Since we do not posses his ability to know what lies in a person’s heart, we have to act prudently, especially if we hold elected office. I have little confidence in our federal government’s ability to track terrorists inside the United States. Little has been done by our current administration in the White House to strengthen security at our borders. I have to assume that this same naivety extends to the refugee resettlement program.

Our President has done little to address the refugee crisis. Where are the safe havens in the Middle East? Where are the no-fly zones? Should not our Middle Eastern allies that we have supported financially for generations provide food and shelter for the Iraqi and Syrian refugees? Maybe our President thought it was a European problem.

We now know for certain that the Paris attackers entered France under the guise of refugees. That knowledge makes the refugee resettlement program our problem. Asking the federal government to suspend it was a prudent request by our Governor.

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Tommy Stringer