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Christian faith “instructs us not to fear the stranger, but to love our neighbour. We view the situation with growing alarm and anger.”
Christians in Europe have been arguing that the Bible has much to say about the migrant crisis. Four main Protestant denominations in Great Britain now reaffirm the fact that “Scriptures teach the importance of love and compassion for all who are destitute, including people of other nationalities who come to live in our communities.”
In a strong statement, the Joint Public Issues team criticised the British Government and the media for using discriminatory language against migrants at Calais (France) and for promoting fear and intolerance.
“In recent weeks discussion has increasingly appeared to be based on the principle of self-interest”, the statement signed by the Baptist Union, the Methodist Conference, the Church of Scotland and the United Reformed Church.
“As churches with members directly involved in assisting the people in Calais seeking sanctuary in the UK, we believe it is important that public debate is grounded in values of compassion and that decisions are made on the basis of facts”.
CHRISTIANS NEED TO “SPEAK OUT”
The Bible “instructs us not to fear the stranger, but to love our neighbour. We view the situation with growing alarm and anger.”
“We are compelled to speak out on this issue”, the signatories write. “As Christian churches we follow One who was himself a refugee and who demonstrated that all people have an inherent, God-given dignity.”
“Our Scriptures teach the importance of love and compassion for all who are destitute, including people of other nationalities who come to live in our communities.”
POLITICIANS AND THE MEDIA
The statement criticises Prime Minister David Cameron and his government: “The language in which the Calais situation is being discussed tends too often to demonise, denigrate or dehumanise the individuals seeking refuge in Britain.”
“To talk of those gathering at Calais as a ‘swarm’, or ‘marauding around the area’ encourages people to see those in desperation as less than human, and so less deserving of sympathy, respect or dignity”, the Protestant leaders continue.
FACTS VS FEARS
The statement also points out several points to clarify the reality of what the Calais crisis actually means for the United Kingdom. “The people at Calais represent a tiny fraction of the overall number of migrants who have entered the EU in the past year”, the statement recalls.
And adds: “In 2014 Germany took three times more asylum seekers than the UK’s 14,000, and Sweden twice as many; France, Italy and even Switzerland also granted asylum to more people than the UK.”
Having this in mind, these Christian denominations ask to “accept the need for the UK to take its share of migrants as other European countries are already doing.”
Read “A Christian response to the Humanitarian Crisis in the Mediterranean” by Thomas Albinson, and “Mediterranean Crisis: 3 issues we need to tackle” by Leonardo de Chirico.