Editor: Last week one of the nine major federal resettlement contractors responsible for placing refugees in your towns and cities held a post-election webinar to discuss the future of refugee resettlement in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory on November 8th.
World Relief and its fellow contracting agencies have been calling the shots all these years with virtually no Congressional oversight and definitely no assessment of the Refugee program’s value within any previous administration—Democrat or Republican. All of that could change after January 21, 2017, and they are worried!
For my recent post on World Relief’s financials, click here.
Below is a comment from a former VOLAG (contracting agency) employee who listened in on the webinar and had this to say (subheadings and highlighting are mine):
GUEST COMMENTS ON WORLD RELIEF’S NOVEMBER 18, 2016, 3PM (EST) WEBINAR ENTITLED, “LEADING YOUR CHURCH THROUGH THE POST-ELECTION ENVIRONMENT”
World Relief issued an invitation on a World Relief Facebook page to join the Webinar. As an evangelical Christian and a former employee of a federal and state funded refugee resettlement agency, I want to share some of the notes I took while listening.
Please read on so you will understand their viewpoint so you can better dialogue with them and others. I’ve tried to be accurate in using quotation marks so as not to misrepresent or misquote anything said on the webinar. Keep in mind that World Relief is the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Emily Gray, World Relief Senior Vice President of US Ministries for World Relief addressed Church leaders and others who registered for the webinar on how to “navigate a new environment post-election.” Scott Arbeiter, President of World Relief, in a reference to Revelation 7:9, spoke of looking forward “to a very real time when people of every tribe and tongue and nation will be gathered around the throne.” He called on Christians to demonstrate the love of Christ and admitted that many Church members are divided about the recent election results, a condition that is not new for the Church. He encouraged Church leaders to look at culture through the lens of their Christian faith.
Blaming Breitbart for creating fear?
Dr. Ed Stetzer of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College noted that “most conservative evangelicals see refugees as an opportunity for mission and evangelism” and added that “Americans are welcoming and generous people except when they are afraid.” He immediately referenced Breitbart.com. I can only assume the implication is that Breitbart.com has stirred up fear. Is accurate reporting of actual events stirring up fear or just telling the truth? See http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/11/18/report-8-syrians-caught-at-texas-border-in-laredo/ and http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/06/22/senate-committee-580-terror-convictions-in-u-s-since-911-380-terrorists-are-foreign-born/.
Dr. Ed Stetzer
Stetzer said that five to 10 years ago, evangelicals were committed to serving the “marginalized and the vulnerable” and he dismissed the idea that refugee resettlement is an easy way for terrorists to enter the US, due to the lengthy process refugees go through prior to resettlement. He said the refugee process is the worst way for terrorists to “sneak in” and the Church must engage these issues in the public milieu. I would refer Dr. Stetzer to those Breitbart.com articles as well as the following from The Daily Mail, Fox News, and CNN. Again, is this fear-mongering or just accurate reporting? Stetzer said that because an “anti-refugee mentality has swept up the country and the mood of the country has shifted,” the Church must have a sense of advocacy. He mentioned that the means of refugees entering this country is different from Europe in that they “can’t walk in here.”
Trump nominees aggressively anti-refugees
He maintains that evangelical leaders largely voted for Trump in spite of his personality and as a vote against Hillary Clinton and that “most white evangelicals align with the Republican party.” He noted that most of President-elect Trump’s nominees are “aggressively anti-refugees.” He enjoined the Church to be driven by faith, not by fear and said that evangelicals have been “co-opted by fear.
James Misner, Senior Vice President at World Relief, referencing the sacraments of baptism and communion and I Corinthians 12 and Galatians 3, said the message is to “value ‘the other.’”
Does Christ want us to love those who would destroy Christians and Jews?
It seems to me that Misner is preaching love of “the other” (a biblical concept, to be sure) but using scripture to imply that evangelicals who are anti- refugee resettlement are opposed to people who are different. Granted, these scriptures do command Christians to love and embrace each other, and those different from themselves, but I do not believe they command embracing pagan, anti-Christian religions and worldviews which seek to undermine and abolish Christians and Jews! Yes, Christians are to be unified, but not unified with anti-Christian ideologies (which the refugee resettlement industry is spreading throughout this nation).
Job of the church to resettle refugees, not the government! (Huh!)
Strangely, Misner said, “We should not outsource welcoming the stranger and serving the vulnerable to the government.” Isn’t that exactly what “faith based” VOLAGs such as World Relief have done? Misner never mentioned the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the government grants to WORLD RELIEF and other resettlement agencies to do what Misner thinks is the job of the Church! Misner quoted Tim Keller, “Unless you believe the gospel everything you do will be driven by pride and fear.” What a patronizing and condescending use of Keller’s quote! Many, many Christians definitely believe the gospel and are driven by faith, logic, and sound reason and not by pride or fear, particularly in regard to the fiscally unsustainable, fraud fraught, and dangerous refugee resettlement program. They are driven by common sense and compassion for a nation and its citizens, present and future!
Emily Gray shared some concerns about that the new government administration would mean for refugees. She said a concern of already resettled refugees is that refugees who are separated from their family members will possibly face even longer separations if resettlement numbers are diminished but that until the new administration takes office in January, President Obama’s 110,000 presidential determination number of refugees to be resettled continues.
Another issue she addressed is DACA, which, because it is a 2012 presidential executive order and not a law, it can be changed by the incoming President. According to Gray, 500,000 to 750,000 people receive benefits under DACA and since these benefits may be affected, they are worried!
As a former refugee resettlement worker at a VOLAG, I find it unconscionable that these speakers did not address the serious and valid concerns that evangelicals and everyone else may have about the fraud, fiscal costs to communities, and national security in regard to refugee resettlement and other forms of immigration.
As an evangelical Christian who has supported missionaries, missions, and befriended many, many who are “different” from me, “the other,” the speakers referred to, I find their comments judgmental, patronizing, condescending, and offensive. I fully agree that Jesus commanded His followers to love and serve all people and not to regard one as better than the other. However, He nowhere commands me to be complicit in a program that, over the long run, undermines the very freedoms we have in this nation. I am happy to send my tithes and love offerings to ministries that minister to all peoples. I am not willing to be taxed for it so the government can pay “Christian” agencies to do what the Church should do on its own. That is why I fully support a “Defund Refugee Resettlement” movement.
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