A fair number of European countries closed their borders yesterday as Europe's "open borders" policy collapsed under the weight of thousands of migrants. Politicians warned that millions are set to follow them.
Political leaders appear to be saying what they find politically acceptable. British Prime Minister David Cameron was saying that Britain had enough immigrants. Then Britons were moved by a photograph of a dead Syrian child lying in the surf. He announced that Britain would take 20,000 immigrants over a period of five years.
Giles Fraser says we should take them all. Dig up the green belt, create new cities, turn Downton Abbeys into flats and church halls into temporary dormitories. Peter Hitchens says we can't do what we like with the country. We inherited it from our parents and grandparents, and have a duty to pass it on to our children and grandchildren. We can't just give it away to complete strangers because it makes us feel good.
Serbian police say 90 per cent of the migrants say they are Syrian, but they have no documents to prove it. Discarded documents are found in bushes yards from the border. While many have suffered the ravages of war, a good proportion are believed to be economic migrants, fleeing not war, but poverty, attracted by talk of free housing, welfare benefits and a better standard of living. Almost all are Muslim. No one knows how many of them are fanatical Islamists.
One commentator says political Islam is the cause of their problems, and it is unfair to blame the West or to project themselves on to the West. Another has a good idea: let those fleeing war in Syria migrate to Muslim countries around them, and leave Europe with its Christian heritage. There is one problem with that. Oil-rich Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain refuse to accept any migrants.
So chaos increases as the world gets darker.
A Christian minister used to say that one of the things that kept him going was the sure knowledge that he belonged to an unshakeable kingdom. Since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, says Hebrews, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall. But there's something to hold on to.