As some anonymous clique prepares more monthly Klan meetings in Aberdeen, I encourage my neighbors to review this statement from the Reverend Michael Rinehart, Bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
What ISIS wants more than anything else, because it is losing ground and does not have the capacity to mount a major offensive on the West, is to spark a war between all Muslims and the West. That would be a win for them. When reactionary folks engage in Islamaphobic rhetoric, they alienate our best allies – the majority of peaceloving Muslims who are also under attack by ISIS, they play in to ISIS’ hands and they do more harm than good. Get to know your Muslim neighbor. Get beyond the false stereotypes. Remember how Jesus related to Samaritans, like the Woman at the Well, John 4. How he made a Samaritan a hero of one of his parables [Bishop Michael Rinehart, Facebook post, 2016.08.30].
Reject stereotypes, get to know your neighbor, be the Samaritan—all sounds pretty Christian and pretty American to me.
Bishop Rinehart commented further on his blog in 2014 on our moral duty to welcome refugees:
When I was hungry you gave me food.
When I was thirsty you gave me something to drink.
When I was a stranger you welcome.
Caring for refugees and asylum-seekers, those who cannot live in their home any longer, is a sacred calling, at least according to Jesus.
The US actually does an excellent job of welcoming refugees, but we don’t do it nearly enough. As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we have both the privilege and the capacity to welcome more refugees. A lot more [Bishop Michael Rinehart, “Welcoming Refugees,” BishopMike.com, 2014.07.23].
I have a well-known affinity for serious Lutherans. I hope my Christian neighbors and my patriotic neighbors will pay attention to this Lutheran bishop’s advice.
p.s.: Bishop Rinehart sounds like President Reagan: