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Wednesday, 21 October 2015 13:40

Political talk leaves a lot of heartache

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I have an ache these days. Sometimes it’s in my stomach, but more deeply it’s in my heart. I ache at the intolerant snappish hard tone many are sounding about Syrian refugees.
In casual conversation, in letters to the editor, and particularly on the doorstep during election canvassing, there is a hard, unyielding mood among many. You can hear the following: “Muslims don’t integrate well”; “they should pay their own way, as other immigrants do”; “they are mostly young men”; “these people are dangerous”; “they should have stayed at home”; “well, we do have to do security checks, you know!”
(Note: None of the three major parties have been proposing that security checks be skipped.)
It seems the major, predominant question among these critical voices is, how can we be safe? How can we keep the bad guys out? (In this case, bad guys and Muslims seem interchangeable words.)
When I read the holy literature which is authoritative for Jews as well as Christians, I hear a more important question: “How can we welcome the stranger? How can we care for the wounded?”
Of course security checks should be done, and dangerous elements eliminated from consideration, but I ache that so many Canadians have bought into a “fear agenda” that borders on racism.
Young men, young families and older people all deserve a chance to live.
Let’s ask how we can expedite the security process, and how many we can welcome. Yes, they will bring their issues and perhaps problems, but Canada is a rich land. We are all blessed to be here, and there is room for a few more. Let’s open our arms in welcome.
Terry Shillington, Lethbridge

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