Christian Response to Refugees

Christian Response to Refugees November 18, 2015

Daniel Burke, at CNN: (at the link you can read the whole piece)

The political response here has been far too much grandstanding rather that careful consideration on the basis of actual evidence nor has the grandstanding considered the already solid process of vetting.

Two of the country’s largest and most influential religious groups, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals, are urging the United States not to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees after the deadly terrorist attack in Paris last Friday.

“Of course we want to keep terrorists out of our country, but let’s not punish the victims of ISIS for the sins of ISIS,” Leith Anderson, NAE president, said on Tuesday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has called for a “pause” in the U.S. program accepting Syrian refugees and 27 governors have said they will not welcome them, though they have little legal authority to bar the federal government from settling refugees in their states.

Meanwhile, almost every GOP presidential candidate has said the United States should stop admitting Syrian refugees. Ted Cruz told CNN that the country should deny entry to Muslims from Syria, but leave the door open to fleeing Christians. Jeb Bush said refugee resettlement should “focus” on Christians.

Tuesday’s announcements from the Catholic bishops and evangelical association, which represents some 45,000 churches, put several candidates squarely at odds with their religious leaders. Sen.Marco Rubio, Bush and Chris Christie are Catholic. Cruz and Mike Huckabee are evangelicals.

“I am disturbed … by calls from both federal and state officials for an end to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States,” Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Chairman of the Catholic bishops’ committee on migration, said on Tuesday.

“These refugees are fleeing terror themselves — violence like we have witnessed in Paris. They are extremely vulnerable families, women, and children who are fleeing for their lives. We cannot and should not blame them for the actions of a terrorist organization.”

Stephen Bauman of World Relief knows what’s happening, as reported by Samuel Smith:

Presidential candidates are misleading the American public with the wrong facts on the Syrian refugee crisis and causing many to fear that accepting refugees will make the United States vulnerable to terrorist infiltration, the head of a prominent Evangelical refugee relief organization said.

Stephen Bauman, the president and CEO of World Relief, one of nine national agencies authorized by the U.S. State Department to resettle refugees in the United States, told The Christian Post in a Friday interview that the reality behind bringing Syrian refugees to the U.S. is nothing like what some of the 2016 presidential candidates are leading people to believe.

Bauman warned that the statements issued by Trump and Huckabee and some of the other candidates discouraging Syrian resettlement in the United States are simply based on fear and not facts.

“I have been traveling the country quite a bit in the last few months and I have been to a lot of churches and a lot of good people and definitely the fear factor on the radical elements of Islam coming into our country through the refugee program is certainly out there,” Bauman said. “But if you look at the 35 years of refugee resettlement in our nation, over three million since the mid to late 70s, and there has been no one from that group of people that are terrorists or have carried out a terrorist attack.

Bauman, who heads the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, also said that the vetting process through the State Department and FBI takes anywhere from 18 months to two years for refugees to be granted asylum in the United States.

He added that the process is so extensive that it would be easier for an aspiring terrorist to find another way into the country rather than trying to infiltrate the resettlement process.

“If there are radical elements that come into our country, and I am sure there are, the last place they would want to seek entry is through the refugee program because it is so sealed tight from a security perspective,” Bauman asserted. “The claim that we don’t know who these people are is in fact, just not at all how the system works. United Nations vets these people, they come to our State Department. There is never an incident of a refugee coming in through our system and there is no other way for them to come without them being fully identified and fully vetted.”


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