Religious responses to the Refugee crisis

When I started writing on this crisis, I was responding to the extreme rhetoric I started seeing on facebook, including suggestions that violence would be appropriate.  I also saw many misrepresentations and outright lies which at times seemed to base their credibility on how hateful they were.  The most frightening thing I saw was the names and address of churches and religious charities that offered social services for refugees, along with a suggestion that this was where Obama was sending the terrorists.   Doxing churches made me feel that the rhetoric was becoming a public danger.  We already know that violent racists are willing to enter a church and start shooting, so it is terrifying when you read which church is a suggested target.

At the same time, politicians were making announcements, ranging from the reasonable suggestion that we should evaluate whether our current system has adequate security screening to “we should activate the National Guard and forcefully remove Syrians currently in the state. 31 State governors said that they would refuse Syrian refugees.  Rhetoric became so extreme that a politician even suggested that the internment camps where American citizens who committed no crime was an acceptable and necessary course of action.

Quite frankly politicians who said they would keep Syrian refugees out lied to their constituents hoping to win the racist vote. If a person is allowed to live and work in the United States, this includes every state.  No state can bar entry nor expel based on ethnicity, and no governor could reasonably believe that he held that power.

(Green represents where Syrian Refugees taken in by the United States will be allowed to live and work)

us-map

As politicians were competing to see who could come up with the most racist thing to say; Denominations and multi-denominational partnerships were also releasing official statements stating the church’s position on the Syrian refugee crisis.  Whether a church was Evangelical, Holiness, Mainstream, or Liberal, the statement’s general message was the same:  We call on the United States to continue to accept Syrian refugees.  Many also included a call for members to donate to the relief effort for the displaced people in Syria, along with information on how to donate.  I can only assume that the extremeness of the political rhetoric inspired this unprecedented level of unity among the American church.

Links to a sample of statements offered by denominations and super-denominational bodies:

CatholicOrthodox

National Council of Churches

Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Reformed Church in America

National Association of Evangelicals

Southern Baptist Convention, Nazarene Church, Salvation Army

There are also a number of Christian based charities that are involved in aid to those who are suffering from the current Syrian civil war and accepting donations.  Personally, my choice is the Orthodox charity, due to their historic connection with Syria, and the welcome I was given when I walked into their church:  but, here is a short list of organizations that would trust to use the donations well.

Catholic Relief Services

International Orthodox Christian Charities   (My personal choice)

Salvation Army

 

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2 comments on “Religious responses to the Refugee crisis

  1. Quick observation of the security checks on refugees: “Ok, I guess somebody could break through this locked door — given time, but wouldn’t one rather walk through that unlocked one instead?”

    I imagine an honest security evaluation would not take long.

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