I turned on MSNBC this morning in the admittedly masochistic hope of seeing Melissa Harris-Perry, only to find Harry Smith--of all people--hosting continuing coverage of the Paris attacks and related issues.
After running clips of Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee questioning the admittance into the US of Syrian refugees, Smith immediately displayed on screen and read the passage of Matthew 25 that begins "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat . . . I was a stranger and you invited me in," etc. Smith then turned to the Rev. Jacqui Lewis, pastor of the hyper-liberal Middle Collegiate Church in NYC's East Village, and asked this hyper-leading question: "is this as important a piece of the New Testament as exists?" Surprise! Lewis agreed that it "absolutely" is.
Well, guess that wraps it up: we've got to admit unlimited numbers of Syrian refugees, no questions asked! To do anything else would be downright un-Christian!
HARRY SMITH: The terror attacks in Paris have sparked an intense political and ethical debate over refugees coming to the United States. As in all presidential election cycles, Republican candidates are courting the evangelical Christian voters, who make up a significant share of the electorate in early contest states like Iowa and South Carolina.
TED CRUZ: It is neither offensive nor un-American to embrace the simple common sense proposition that we should defend this nation and of course not invite in people who the administration cannot guarantee are not terrorists here to murder innocent Americans.
BEN CARSON: We must safety against just being a humanitarian. For instance, you know, if there's a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog, and you're probably going to put your children out of the way.
MIKE HUCKABEE: They want us to just trust them that all the people that are going to come here are going to behave nicely, none of them are really ISIS plants, and that we don't need to fear. We saw what happened in the streets of Paris.
SMITH: For 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 invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick, and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me. Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
Joining me now is Reverend Dr. Jacqui Lewis, senior minister of the Middle Collegiate Church, good morning. Give me the context in which those verses in Matthew were said.
JACQUI LEWIS: This is Jesus, who is a Jewish rabbi, teaching his students, his disciples, what it means to be people of faith. What it means for them, Jewish people, by the way, to be people of faith. We call it the Great Commission. Whenever you've done it to these people, you've done it to me.
SMITH: Is this as important a piece of the New Testament as exists?
LEWIS: It absolutely is, I think, one of the most important pieces.