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“That Was Offensive, Mean-Spirited”: Christian Groups Break with GOP Candidates Over Syrian Refugees

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/18/15

Politico has the scoop:

Faith-based groups, who play a key role in resettling refugees to the United States, say they are dismayed by the wave of anti-refugee fervor set off by the Paris terrorist attacks and are urging supporters to contact elected officials on behalf of victims of the Syrian civil war. Evangelical Christians, as well as Christians more broadly, are a core group in the Republican electoral base and are among the most passionate advocates for aiding refugees. A push by Republican presidential candidates to ban Syrian refugees “does not reflect what we’ve been hearing from our constituencies, which are evangelical churches across the country,” said Jenny Yang, vice president for advocacy at World Relief, an evangelical organization that helps resettle refugees. “Most of the people have been saying we want to continue to work with refugees, that what happened in Paris … doesn’t reflect who refugees are.” …World Relief is one of nine groups, several of them faith-based, that help the U.S. resettle up to 70,000 refugees from around the world in the United States each year. Others include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and the Church World Service. Many other faith-based groups, including evangelical Christian organizations, also perform aid work overseas specifically aimed at refugees fleeing conflicts. …Some advocates were particularly shocked when Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, New Jersey’s governor, said that the U.S. should bar Syrian orphaned toddlers if necessary. “That was offensive. That was mean-spirited,” said one advocate with a Christian group that resettles refugees. He added: “it’s disappointing because there have been Republican senators and presidents who have strongly supported this program over the years. There’s a proud tradition in the Republican Party of welcoming those who are fleeing persecution, and this takes the party in a negative direction. It’s easy to pick on vulnerable refugees who have no voice. But there are immigrant groups who have voting power that understand what is going on. They understand that it’s an anti-immigrant message.”

Read it all.

Photo: Wikipedia

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