Friday, 18 September 2015

Kids or Immigrants?

Mark Shea lauds "Pope Francis" for saying, as he put it in his snappy title: "refuse to have kids?" - "then make room for immigrants".

I was wondering if Bergoglio was going to say sth sensible, entirely. That would be the day!

What Shea makes of it is that childless people, in fact any people, should get involved in receiving refugees, like he has been receiving Roumanian refugees from Communism (good for him), (ok, good for him if they were from Communism, but I think that is the case, and not bad for him if they were just poor either), Vietnamese refugees (certainly from Communism, since still so), and Poles, these also pretty certainly fleeing from Communism.

Hmmm, if Mark Shea receives Christian refugees, I am not worried, but when it comes to Muslim ones (which hitherto hasn't been the case if his list was exhaustive) - I am less reassured.

Abbey Roads has however suggested Muslims who came as economic migrants should take refugees who are Muslims. Might be an idea.

As it is they are more into claiming the traditionally Christian State (a fact they tend to ignore) or Presently Socialist State (a fact which they from time to time support) should tax its citizens (including themselves, but most of them Christians or post-Christians) in order for the state to organise reception of Muslim and for that matter also perhaps Christian refugees.

Of course, the Muslims who are already here have their own kids to take care of.

But not each and all of them and not all are so poor taking an extra refugee is impossible.

However, a blogger from Philippines made an objection:

About two years ago, when I was discussing unemployment figures in the UK and France with some of my European trainees, I couldn't help but noticing that most of the unemployed youth were second-generation immigrants. Not just Muslims or just Asians, either, but (at least in the UK) also Poles. And I mused that those "better opportunities" their parents migrated to get for them proved to be an empty dream: now they are in the same boat their parents were in.

Mentioning boats is not unsensitive, and in France and Sweden Poles are better off, unless recently arriving, than in UK.

Now, let us look at what the supposed "Holy Father" actually did say.

Mark Shea linked.

“The migrant phenomenon is a reality…when there is an empty space, people look to fill it. If a country doesn't have children, migrants come to occupy that place,” the Pope said in a recent interview with Portugal-based Radio Renascença (Renaissance).

True enough.

One reason people should try to get more children.

But what does Bergoglio make of it?

“So, if there are no children, there are open spaces,” he said. For him personally, the societal refusal to have children is part of a “culture of ‘well-being,’” in which the assurance that one’s personal needs and wants will be taken care of is emphasized to an exaggerated degree.

He doesn't mention that the assurance is already proving deceptive. In 2003, the last summer I spent in Sweden, old age pensions were privatised. Not so that people already getting them need to get private assurances, but so that people not yet retired needed to start chosing private insurance companies. That way it won't be the government's but that company's fault when people can't get old age pensions, because collectively they made too few children.

He doesn't mention that taking in strangers instead might not be an ideal way to provide for the old age of one's own. They might enjoy the system as long as it profits them, but refuse to back it up when it goes so bankrupt that a country has changed the national make up of its population. I mean when the majority from more traditional times has become a minority, if it should so happen, and which childlessness and immigration make for.

So, what more does he say?

In the interview, Francis lamented how countries would allow the Rohingya to land, give them food and water, and then send them back out to sea. “They don’t welcome them,” he said, adding that today “humanity lacks the ability to welcome.”

That is not the same as oppressing them once they are in.

But despite our concerns, Francis said that refugees still have to be welcomed because it’s commanded in the Bible, and turned to Moses' commission to his people not to “mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”

Let us recall exactly how Israelites were oppressed by Amalekites. Was it a question of giving them food and water and then sending them back off into the desert?

Some Israelites had disobeyed Moses. They left the camp. And here is what happened to those who had left it:

[44] But they being blinded went up to the top of the mountain. But the ark of the testament of the Lord and Moses departed not from the camp. [45] And the Amalecite came down, and the Chanaanite that dwelt in the mountain: and smiting and slaying them pursued them as far as Horma. Numbers 14.

Wait a little, the enmity was already on. Here is what happened earlier:

[1] Then all the multitude of the children of Israel setting forward from the desert of Sin, by their mansions, according to the word of the Lord, encamped in Raphidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. ... [8] And Amalec came, and fought against Israel in Raphidim. Exodus 17.

OK, the Amalecites had started bad relations, not by giving a short welcome and sending them to further adventures in the desert, not by even refusing them welcome, but by actually trying to kill them at first sight.

This is a far cry from what Indonesia has done for the Rohingya.

However, if Rohingya are not Muslim, Indonesia's cutting short of the welcome by sending them back to sea is explicable as a way of keeping Muslims Muslim in Indonesia.

What exactly do the passages in OT say about receiving strangers?

Exodus 22:21 Thou shalt not molest a stranger, nor afflict him: for yourselves also were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 23:9 Thou shalt not molest a stranger, for you know the hearts of strangers: for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.

One has a special application for Holy Land, since Jordan is Edom, Moab and Ammon:

Deuteronomy 23:[7] Thou shalt not abhor the Edomite, because he is thy brother: nor the Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land.

Now back to strangers in general:

Deuteronomy 24:[17] Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger nor of the fatherless, neither shalt thou take away the widow' s raiment for a pledge. [18] Remember that thou wast a slave in Egypt, and the Lord thy God delivered thee from thence. Therefore I command thee to do this thing. [19] When thou hast reaped the corn in thy field, and hast forgot and left a sheaf, thou shalt not return to take it away: but thou shalt suffer the stranger, and the fatherless and the widow to take it away: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the works of thy hands. [20] If thou have gathered the fruit of thy olive trees, thou shalt not return to gather whatsoever remaineth on the trees: but shalt leave it for the stranger, for the fatherless, and the widow.

[21] If thou make the vintage of thy vineyard, thou shalt not gather the clusters that remain, but they shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. [22] Remember that thou also wast a bondman in Egypt, and therefore I command thee to do this thing.

There is a positive demand to aid them, or let them aid themselves, while they are there. There is a negative demand not to molest them or pervert judgement in their disfavour. There is not a positive demand to actually allow them to stay, especially not unconditionally.

If France wants to evict me (I am begging in the street, some consider that a nuisance, and some consider my blogging a nuisance) and sees such ans such criteria for eviction fulfilled, or if France goes back on Schengen, which is the agreement allowing me to stay here, France can. At least they should not send me back to Sweden.

But what the West has been doing for long is:

  • receiving Muslims;
  • molesting them in the name of integration (at least where they are obliged to communal schools not Islamic);
  • resenting when they take revenge for molestations (by molesting quite a few indigenous and non-Muslim strangers);
  • resenting simple fact of non-integration and molesting them more;
  • and having more and more of them in trouble's way.

It would have been better not to receive them in the first place. That does not necessarily qualify as either molesting or perverting judgement for them. "Pope Francis" is not exactly asking for the right thing.

Wait? I reread these lines and found that Rohingya are actually a Muslim minority, which has not been welcomed by Muslim countries.

As to his experience of his own family, well the Italians who came were Catholics and the Argentinians who received were Catholics too.

Look at this advice:

Pope Francis clarified that when he asked for a family to be welcomed, he’s not necessarily asking that they be welcomed into the parish or community house, but that the parish or community finds “a place, a corner of a school to make a ‘small apartment.”

“Or, in the worst case, rent a modest apartment for the family, but that they have a ceiling, to be welcomed, and that they are integrated into the community.”

Good advice enough - if the refugees are Catholic. Or at least Christian.

And if their attackers cannot be beaten.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Médiathèque Germaine Tillion
St Joseph de Cupertino

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