There’s a lot going on in the refugee space at the moment with a very real threat of the resettlement program being shut down here, and a lot of fear, hate and rhetoric being directed against them personally, and anecdotally.
When it comes to refugee resettlement, the U.S. takes in less than half a percent of the total number of refugees in the world, a literal drop in the ocean – and honestly when you’re standing in a refugee camp in the Middle East, you realize how little a difference it actually does make in context of the overall problem.
However…it does completely change the lives of those who do get accepted. And the shutting down or even placing any kind of moratorium on the resettlement program, not only limits the number of people we can, and should help. But (and this is the part I think is most important) it also just reinforces the fear of the other that exists, and continues to encourage division and is the antithesis of Love Thy Neighbor.
The refugee resettlement program in the US is actually the hardest way for anyone to enter this country, it is highly vetted, takes on average 18 months, and refugees do not get to choose which country they get to go to. (Read more facts on refugee resettlement here).
Refugees coming here through the existing highly vetted, highly regulated program is not something to be feared – it is actually a really practical way for churches to serve and welcome.
People are literally arriving at our doors presenting the church with an incredible opportunity to serve and show the practical love of Jesus and so many of us are missing it.
People are coming to know Jesus all over the world, dreaming crazy dreams and seeing in many places that Christians are not the evil people they are taught to believe we are. It’s actually mind blowing.
The real issue is not that we need to fear refugees, the issue, I believe, lies in how we welcome and love and serve.
And that means that we have to keep talking about it, we have to get facts out there and counter the lies that are being spread. We have to change the narrative.
We have to send a message to the refugee community here in the U.S. and around the world that they are loved and cared for and welcomed.
Compassion and security do not need to be mutually exclusive. We cannot let fear continue to rule. We are called to love. And we need to do that actively.
We Welcome Refugees are currently trying to get 10,000 signatures by Jan 20 (Inauguration day) to be able to present to President-Elect Trumps team in support of the refugee program. We would love your support in signing and spreading the word. It is located here.
The www.wewelcomerefugees.com website also has a lot of really great FAQ’s with facts around refugees & pathways to practically engaging.
Ed Stetzer has also just published an article on Christianity Today which speaks to evangelicals in particular, but is a great piece, particularly in the current climate of fear, challenging the notion of why we must be pro-refugee – read here.
Personally, Mark & I have just started a Good Neighbor Team with some friends and will be welcoming & providing community for a refugee family through World Relief together shortly. There are many families coming into the U.S. who do not have someone to welcome them and support them. This is where we as the church need to be.
Please take a minute to sign the petition and show your solidarity for refugees.