Dear Governor Fallin –
I’m writing to urge you not to make an official proclamation (or any type of statement or proclamation) that Oklahoma will close its borders to Syrian refugees. I understand the need to keep our state and people safe however, the latest trend by state governors to make official statements closing their borders to refugees is a knee-jerk reaction. Recent history has proven that making decisions and governing on knee-jerk reactions is not a wise choice and does not turn out well.
Oklahomans are no strangers to suffering. But when faced with suffering and trial we run to each other with open arms, ready and willing to help. We have taken care of our own, now give us the chance to take care of a different type of neighbor. Closing our doors and turning our backs on those in need is not the Oklahoma Standard. The Oklahoma Standard says that we rush to help those in need and crisis, giving selflessly and generously. We have helped our neighbor in crisis and never gave it a second thought. Now a new neighbor is in crisis and we can, once again, show the world what the Oklahoma Standard is all about.
I understand the fear that many people have at the idea of letting Syrian refuges into our borders. The fear that hiding amongst those fleeing for their lives and the safety of their children, terrorists may be hidden. The fear that terrorists will attack American soil again. These are legitimate concerns. However, when we let fear rule our lives, the decisions we make and how we treat each other; we have given those seeking to do harm another victory. Fear is a tool the enemy uses to divide us and they wield it well. Please do not let fear win. Rather than spending time, energy, money and legislation thinking up ways to keep refugees out; what if state and federal leaders used their time and energy to come up with ways to better screen incoming refugees for would be hidden terrorists? Surely we can use our governing power to both keep our citizens safe and help those seeking refuge.
Terrorists view us as selfish, Godless people who care more about ourselves and possessions than anything else. Let’s not prove them right. By making a statement to close our borders and turn our backs on refugees we send a message to the nation and the world, loud and clear, that our perceived safety is more important than those who are suffering. Please show the rest of the nation that Oklahoma is made up of compassionate people who take Jesus’ call to care for those in need seriously.
This is a defining moment for our country and our state. In years to come do we want to be remembered for our compassion and mercy or for our cold hearts?
A Proud Oklahoman
Dear Reader – If you don’t agree with me, that’s okay. We don’t all have to agree all of the time. If you wish to disagree with me in the comments that is perfectly fine. Please do so respectfully.