Call to churches: extend human dignity to refugees

ECPM calls on churches and Christians in Europe to extend their help to those in need. Europe is experiencing a large influx of refugees and as Christian politicians, we have a unique responsibility in this situation: we have the chance to act and to give a voice to those who would otherwise be unheard. On 1 December, ECPM organized a round table discussion in the European Parliament with our MEPs and members. The main topic of the round table discussion was immigration of refugees and other migrants. CPFE President David Fieldsend opened the discussion and asked everyone present to remember that Jesus Christ himself was a refugee during his early childhood.[1]

The discussion was started by ECPM MEP Marek Jurek, who noted that we should search for civil peace and have an honest conversation with Islam, the religion of many refugees. It is a religion of peace but at the same time we see terrorists using Islam for their own purposes: a complex situation. His colleague MEP Arne Gericke added that he met Christians in refugee camps in Jordan and he found it is hard for them as Christians in a predominantly Muslim environment. It is important to protect the minorities that are persecuted. However, Gericke also emphasized that we should integrate Muslims in our societies to understand them. At the same time we should not allow hate preachers to fuel polarization and terror.

Branislav Škripek, MEP and a member of ECPM, stressed the importance of Christians and churches stepping into the debate and helping the needy. All who were present agreed with this. We need to neutralize the negative narrative. Škripek acknowledged that many churches in his home area in Slovakia are already helping refugees and he has seen how effective and beneficial this is.

Regardless of our political point of view, we have a responsibility as Christians to help the vulnerable and those in need, as Jesus told us himself.[2] Human dignity is one of the five spearheads of ECPM. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union rightfully states in its first article that “human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected and protected.” The word refugee may create a distance between “us” and “them”, but we are all human beings created in the image and likeness of God. The principle of human dignity is a principle that implies moral responsibility. It calls to action and wants to give an answer and find a solution for a situation where people suffer. Human dignity applies to refugees as much as it does to us and we encourage Christians and churches all over Europe to act on this principle.

The political debate should and will still be conducted, but our responsibility as Christians is to extend human dignity to all human beings. Europe now has the opportunity to stand for its own values and be coherent in politics and everyday life. We need consistent policies with a long term approach. But first, let us as churches and Christians all over Europe keep practicing charity and love to those who are entering our countries with nothing left.

 

[1] Matthew 2 : 13 - 14

[2] Matthew 25 : 35 - 40

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