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Good Samaritan Blog: Welcoming Our Neighbor

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In our national conversation, much is debated about the place and welcome of immigrants. Our media and political coverage often demonizes immigrants and refugees, and points to their religion, race, or ethnicity as reasons why they shouldn’t be trusted.

As Church Women United, we believe in welcoming our neighbor, inspired by the words of scripture:

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
– Deuteronomy 10:18-19

Church Women United has long been advocates for welcoming the stranger. Since 1947, we have had social policies that welcome displaced persons, immigrants, refugees, and people across races, ethnicities and religions. Here are a few of our social policies on immigration and welcome.

 

In 1946, in response to the continued displacement of people from World War II in Europe, Church Women United issues this social policy:

“Whereas one million people are homeless in Europe, four-fifths of them Christians; and whereas, during the war years, 600,000 quota numbers were unused;

Be it resolved that we urge that the U.S. express the ideals for which we fought by admitting a considerable number of those still in camps for displaced persons, and we also recommend the U.S. government take active measures to insure the protection and care of those remaining abroad until their resettlement”.

 

Church Women United continued to make policies on refugees and immigrants throughout the 50s and 60s.

In 1981, Church Women United made a large policy statement on immigration, stating these five principles:

“1. CWU Goal #3 states: “we intend to work for a just, peaceful, and caring society.” Consistent with this goal we shall promote and encourage a U.S. immigration policy which in principle and implementation is non-discriminatory with respect to the elements of human equality contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or political origin, poverty, birth, or other status.

2. Because we place a strong emphasis on the family, we believe family reunification should be perceived in our immigration law.

3. We believe the United States Government should grant political asylum to all refugees fleeing persecution.

4. We affirm the right of all people to education, medical and social services, without regard to citizenship or legal status.

5. Historically, CWU has called on its constituency to participate in resettlement of immigrants and refugees. We affirm this and call on CWU to continue this ministry.”

 

In the spirit of welcoming our neighbor, we pray for a government and people who continue to live into the ministry of helping resettle the homeless, the lost, and those who are refugees. May we see our nation rise to help the stranger, welcome the neighbor, and make the isolated, frightened and alone not our enemy but our friend.

 

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