Late Show host Stephen Colbert recently quoted Scripture when defending why he believes America should allow in refugees fleeing violence in Syria, arguing that the Bible clearly commands Christians to protect orphans and widows.
According to a report from Relevant Magazine, the outspoken talk show began the segment by criticizing the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a new bill requiring intense scrutiny of any refugees coming from Syria. The bill is called the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act, or ASAFEA. "Because under the law, no one with a name like [ASAFEA] will be allowed in the country," Colbert said.
"The question of whether to let Syrian refugees into this country has become the new political issue," the comedian said, acknowledging that concerns about terrorists hiding among refugees are certainly valid. However, himself a Christian, Colbert explained that such fears do not justify ostracizing society's most vulnerable.
Colbert went on to criticize GOP presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz for saying only Syrian Christians should be given asylum in the United States.
"If you want to know if somebody's a Christian, just ask them to complete this sentence: 'Jesus said I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you....' And if they don't say 'welcomed me in' then they are either a terrorist, or they're running for president," Colbert joked.
While some have spoken out in defense of Colbert, others have voiced their opposition to his stance.
"Americans, especially Christian Americans, are the most charitable people in the world," writes Charisma News contributor Matt Barber. "The answer to the Syrian refugee crisis is to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
Barber contends that instead of taking in "Shariah-compliant followers of Muhammad," the United States should demand that "oil-rich Islamic nations such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and others open their own sealed borders to their fellow Muslims in need."
"They share the same value system and religion, both of which are rooted in Islamic Shariah law - a sociopolitical worldview that is anathema, indeed hostile, to America's Judeo-Christian values and constitutional-republican form of government," he charges.
In a blog post shared on the Desiring God website, David Crabb, co-founder of The Gospel Fund, took a slightly different stance, arguing that concerns over America's safety should be raised by the government, but Christians should look at God's heart for those who are suffering and outreach possibilities.
"What if, through the senseless evil of civil war, God was bringing unreached people groups to our cities?" Crabb asks. "What if, through great tragedy, God was bringing about the triumph of the gospel?"
As Christians, "we may disagree about what's best for America to do in this situation," but "we also recognize that this is not ultimately as important as the gospel opportunity represented in the refugee crisis," the author adds.
"God cares about these refugees suffering, and so should we," he writes, saying that accepting refugees is an opportunity for us to "do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow," referring to Jeremiah 22:3.