Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Support for Syrian Refugees

As the Leadership Conference of Women Religious remind us in their recent press statement, "We are witnessing the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War. More than 4 million Syrians have fled violence in their homeland and 12 million more are displaced internally. Syrian refugees are fleeing exactly the kind of terror that we have witnessed in these past few weeks. More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives, many more have lost family, home, and community.
At a time when the world is in desperate need of humanitarian relief, some are calling for suspension of the US refugee resettlement program, an end to funding for Syrians, or a rationing of mercy based on religious creed. Such restrictions violate the tenets of our faith and the principles of our nation."
We must stand up to the fear-mongering and speak out in love for those fleeing violence.  As we approach the Advent season all Christians would do well to remember the story of our own humble beginnings, of a pregnant middle eastern woman seeking shelter in a foreign land as she prepares to give birth, and then fleeing death threats once she has brought her baby boy into the world.  Our challenge today is will we welcome the stranger, the children of God, who continue to seek safety and shelter, or will we turn our backs and say they not welcome here?  As Matthew 25:40 reminds us, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

So what can you do?

1)  If you are a clergy member or vowed religious, you can sign onto this statement of faith leaders:
 "We stand in support of public officials and faith communities who have answered the call to take in refugees.  Our nation’s elected leaders, citizens and service agencies should follow these examples and uphold the values that make America a nation that people around the world have risked their lives to reach.  Since America’s founding, we have striven to be a land of opportunity and safe harbor. Each generation faces an opportunity to live up to these principles. At times we have succeeded, and at times we have failed. The current debate about whether to welcome or turn away Syrian refugees whose lives are in danger is a historic test. We pray that our leaders will meet the challenge of this day and reject fear and cruelty." 
Please add your support via this link:
FPL will be releasing the full statement to the press on Thursday, so the deadline for signatures is COB (close of business) Wednesday, Nov. 18th.

2)  Tell Congress & Your Governor to WELCOME SYRIAN REFUGEES!
Background: As Catholics and other people of good will are donating to help Syrian refugees abroad and volunteering to welcome them through the Catholic Charities and social service agencies across the United States, the US government has been painstakingly vetting Syrians for US resettlement. The rigorous screening process is conducted over 18-24 months by refugee and security professionals through multiple interviews and multiple security checks. Unfortunately, in response to the shock of the Paris attacks, a number of US Governors recently announced that they want to stop their states from resettling Syrian refugees. Some Members of Congress have even introduced legislation that would stop refugee resettlement altogether. It is critical that public officials hear from their constituents NOW, including Catholics, as decisions are being made that could drastically impact the lives of Syrian refugees and refugee resettlement in the United States. The US has always been a haven for the world’s refugees and the Catholic Church plays a large role in that welcome. The US has a safe secure resettlement process through which we should continue that life-saving tradition. Welcoming refugees is the American way and an important part of our Catholic Christian calling. 
Please take action TODAY: Call your Representative and Senators : 

When you call, tell the receptionist that as a constituent, you want to help WELCOME Syrian refugees and that you are against the calls of some governors to reject Syrian refugees. Example: “I’m a constituent from [City, State] and I support the resettlement of Syrian refugees. I urge the Senator / Representative / Governor to represent me and other constituents who seek to welcome Syrian refugees by opposing any legislation that would halt or restrict funding to the U.S. refugee resettlement program." 

**In addition, Representative Hudson (NC-08) has drafted legislation that aims to essentially stop all Syrian resettlement. His effort is gaining traction quickly. It is very important that his office is flooded with positive calls about refugees and refugee resettlement TODAY. Please call his DC office at 202-225-3715 and/or his district office at 704-786-1612. To e-mail him please go to:**

You can also tweet your Members of Congress and your network:
@REPRESENTATIVE Our community is ready to welcome #Syrian #refugees. #RefugeesWelcome #AmericaWelcomes!     
3)  Check in your local community for any events or solidarity actions showing support for welcoming refugees and join in!  Or, if you can't find anything, consider hosting your own rally or prayer service for welcoming refugees around the world.  
  • If you are in St. Louis, you can join this local event on Nov 22nd: 
4)  Sign a petition in support of welcoming more Syrian refugees
5)  Engage in conversations with your friends, family, and neighbors about the current refugee crisis and share why you think it is important to welcome the refugees and support their resettlement.  

No comments:

Post a Comment