Thursday, February 16, 2006

Persecuted Christians Defined as Terrorists

Excerpted from WorldNetDaily:
A human rights group claims resettlement of persecuted Christians from Burma is in jeopardy because many can be mislabeled as terrorists under a Department of Homeland Security interpretation of the Patriot Act.

Thousands of ethnic Karen refugees who fled from the brutal military dictatorship to crowded camps along the Burma-Thailand border now have the opportunity to resettle in the United States, reports
Christian Freedom International. Some have been in the camps for more than 25 years.

This year, the State Department has agreed to bring more than 9,000 Karen to the U.S., but many could be turned away because they are regarded as supporters of terrorism.
A relatively new provision in the Patriot Act says Homeland Security can reject refugees and asylum seekers if they provided "material support" to anyone engaged in an armed struggle, such as the fighters of the Karen National Union, which represents the ethnic group.

The KNU says it has engaged in an armed struggle for survival against Burma's dictatorships for more than 50 years.

Christian Freedom International also reports more than 100 Christians from the Chin minority currently detained at immigration depots in Malaysia are being denied entry to the U.S. under the same Patriot Act provision.

The Department of Homeland Security says anyone who provides food, medicine, clothing or shelter to a participant in an armed struggle should be denied entry to the United States.

Christian Freedom International argues that when drafting the Patriot Act, Congress never intended Homeland Security to "deny protection to refugees forced to defend themselves or who stand up to brutal tyrannical regimes."

[…] CFI argues Congress gave the executive branch discretionary authority to determine that the "material support" prohibition should not apply in some cases.

"In other words, the intent of Congress was never for Department of Homeland Security to treat the actions of a George Washington or Paul Revere the same as an Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri, even though they all engaged in armed activities."

CFI President Jim Jacobson pointed out American missionaries brought the Christian Gospel to the Karen nearly 200 years ago.

"They fought courageously alongside us in World War II and share our faith, values and love for freedom and democracy," Jacobson said. "They deserve our help."

The problem with laws is that they are frequently interpreted by arrogant morons. If you ask the probably 200 million people in the USA who support the intent of the Patriot Act (including yours truly), I bet you’d have a hard time finding one American who wants these folks locked out of the country.

“Anyone who provides food, medicine, clothing or shelter to a participant in an armed struggle should be denied entry?” Say what??? By that logic, perhaps we shouldn’t be allowing our own troops to come back home from the fighting front. This sort of nitwittery grows out of the same mindset that leads to “zero – tolerance” policies that can’t distinguish between a switchblade and a Boy Scout knife.

Without shared moral principles, the best guides we can come up with are rules. In a society where common sense is outlawed as judgmental and discriminatory, and where morals are a matter of personal convenience, mindless adherence to the rulebook is the inevitable result. Well - intended laws become methods of oppression and injustice. Where there is no (shared) vision, the people perish.