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Refugees, Power and Either/Or Thinking

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As my Facebook feed begins to fill with such lovely and heartfelt sentiments as “Save the refugees, deport the Republicans,” I cannot help but think about what an incredibly false dichotomy that represents.  The goal of providing for Syrian refugees, all of them – not just the widows and orphans, is not mutually exclusive with the goal of providing for the national security.  This is something that Larry Arnn pointed out in Friday’s Hillsdale hour. (Hughniverse subscription required)  The fact that the president and his supporters want to present those goals as mutually exclusive is a tell as to what their real goals are.

Dr. Arnn pointed out that such false dichotomies reduce an argument from one about policy and what to do about an issue to a fight over who gets to make the decision about policy and what to do.  This is a tell that tells a couple of stories.  Firstly it tells us that our opponent is more interested in power than in the use of power.  The second story is really corollary to the first one.  The second story tells us that our opponent holds his ego of more import than either the refugees or our national security.

Both those stories certainly turn on its head the notion of political office as public service.  There is no concept of service buried anywhere in there. Those are both stories about the officeholder, not those that granted the officeholder his office.  But more, both of those are godless stories, for both of them imply a godlike status in the officeholder that cannot exist in the presence of any genuine concept of God.

It is stunning, is it not, that in creating the false dichotomy, the president manages to pervert the very Christian goal of caring for the refugees into something about his own self-aggrandizement.  That is something right out of The Screwtape Letters.

Anybody that really wrestles with God must learn two things very quickly.  One, we are powerless in comparison to God.  The other thing we learn is once again corollary.  Secondly, control is an illusion.  There is only that which God grants us.

When we hold an office, from the HOA Board to the PTA to POTUS, and we know that all power comes from God then we have no choice but to use the authority in service – the power is never ours, it is only loaned to us.  And that being the case we are free to discuss the issues at hand with an eye towards resolving them instead of making sure we are the ones to make the decisions about them.

As we work as hard as possible these next months to move the power of the office of POTUS from the Democrat ledger to the Republican ledger, we must make every effort to insure that we do not fall to the same temptation that the president so clearly has.  Our journey this election cycle is one that should involve as much time on our knees as we spend walking precincts or working the phones.  We must pray that we do not forget where power comes from.


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Friends and Allies of Rome