Advertise On EU-Digest

Anual Advertising Rates

1/26/16

US Presidential Campaign: Christian groups break with GOP over Syrian refugees - by Nahal Toos

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."

Reports that a Syrian migrant may have played a role in last week's attacks in Paris, which killed around 130 people, have set off a GOP-led backlash over the Obama administration's plans to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees next year. More than half of U.S. governors have said they do not want Syrian refugees resettled in their states, while House Speaker Paul Ryan says he wants a vote this week on GOP-drafted legislation to halt the administration's plans.

World Relief is one of nine not-for-profit organizations, several of them faith-based, that help 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.

Meanwhile, faith-based groups have also stepped up their advocacy efforts for refugees. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement expressing distress over calls by elected officials to halt the resettlement program.

Since the Paris attacks, World Relief has used a website to urge people to contact their governors to express their support for resettling Syrians. The Anti-Defamation League also has spoken out in favor of helping the Syrian refugees, noting that U.S. wariness to accept Jewish refugees during World War II is an example that must not be repeated.

Read more: Christian groups break with GOP over Syrian ref

No comments: