Welcoming the Migrant in our Midst

Resolution #2: Welcoming the Migrant in our Midst
Workbook Page: 208

What it does:

  1. Commits all Florida United Methodists to work to eliminate racist treatment of migrants to the United States.
  2. Commits all Florida United Methodists to use the vehicles available to us to speak in opposition to any immigration policy that excludes people from entering the United States based on their religion or nation of origin.
  3. Makes a statement of approval and celebration of the creation of a South Florida Justice for our Neighbors ministry.
  4. Encourages local churches to educate members of their congregations in ways to welcome migrants to our communities, and to engage in a discernment process about how we might be called to get involved in providing relief to those brought to the United States by the global refugee crisis.
  5. Makes a request of political leaders asking they ensure their policies affirm the dignity and worth of people of all nations and religions.

 

Voters for the resolution hope that refugees would find open arms awaiting them in the United States because of Scripture’s repeated admonitions to care for both citizens and strangers.

Voters against the resolution believe that the United States should be protected from the harm our enemies intend us, and the economic effects of immigration; as it’s not the United States’ job to solve the world’s problems, especially when we have so many to solve at home.

Conclusion:

This has the potential to serve as a replay of the debate over refugees and immigration from the 2016 Presidential election, which was decided in favor of less immigration and fewer refugees.  It was this outcome that inspired the writing of the resolution.

It’s important to note that the language in the resolution does not seem to call Florida United Methodists to civil disobedience should discriminatory laws be enacted.  It calls for efforts to influence policy rather than defy it.  It envisions the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church using the force of its hundreds of thousands of members actively resisting the creation of such a ban and other policies that treat someone differently because of where they’re from or the faith they practice.

Those who blame Islam for terrorist attacks, or who are in favor of the “travel ban” currently being argued about in the courts will want clarity about what it means to “express our opposition to any immigration policy that excludes refugees solely on the basis of their religion or national origin.” (line 26, pg. 208)  They will probably be disappointed to hear that in means what they think it means.

If you liked the Driver’s Licenses resolution, you’ll probably like Welcoming the Migrant in our Midst.   If you didn’t like the Driver’s Licenses resolution, you’ll probably hate Welcoming the Migrant in our Midst.  It’s the “travel ban” debate, debated by the the delegates to the Florida Annual Conference.

I personally wrestle with how Scripture should be used in crafting national policy.  The Old Testament obviously speaks to life within the nation of Israel, but the New Testament is written to participants in a movement happening in the margins in order to form them into individuals and communities who knew that they must decrease, so that Christ may increase.  Was it written to inspire behavior, or require it by law?

In the absence of clarity on that, I err on the side of hospitality over isolation, trusting that God desires that we share community and connection.  Therefore, REC endorses the resolution.

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