July 2019 Prayer Partner Email: Pray and Speak Up for the Persecuted
As Christians who believe that each human life is made in God’s image, with dignity and worth, we have a strong motivation to want to protect those who have been forced to flee persecution and violence, including many who are persecuted particularly because of their faith in Jesus. Last week, there were a few troubling news stories that suggest the U.S. may be planning to offer safety and religious freedom to far fewer individuals fleeing persecution going forward.
A week ago, a new policy went into effect on the U.S.-Mexico border, making almost all individuals who pass through Mexico and profess to be fleeing persecution ineligible for asylum in the U.S. unless they first applied for and were denied asylum in another country. Having been to the border multiple times and interacted with individuals from various countries who, to me, seemed to have very strong cases for asylum under U.S. law, I’m troubled by this development.
Then, last Thursday, news reports broke that advisers to the president are recommending to President Trump that he lower the “ceiling” for refugee admissions to the U.S. down to zero next year, effectively ending the longstanding refugee resettlement program. Reading that news, my mind went immediately to my friends who have been resettled to the U.S. as refugees, many of them Christians persecuted for their faith in Jesus, for whom the refugee resettlement program was a lifeline.
The opportunity to find safety in the U.S. could soon be closed on others in similar circumstances –continuing a sharply declining trend. In Fiscal Year 2016, the U.S. welcomed more than 3,500 persecuted Christian refugees from Iran, Iraq and Syria. This fiscal year, we’re on track to receive fewer than 300, a decline of roughly 95% in just three years. If the refugee ceiling is terminated altogether, that number will be 0 next year.
I’d invite you to do three things:
- Pray. We’re called to pray “for kings and all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2:2), so please join me in praying for President Trump, for Vice President Pence, for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and for Members of Congress, each of whom has important influence in this process. Pray that they would pursue policies that would reflect the dignity of every human person, including those fleeing persecution. Pray, too, for those who have been forced to flee as refugees and asylum seekers, that God would be their refuge and strength.
- Speak out. Today, evangelical leaders sent a letter to President Trump, imploring him not to further restrict the refugee resettlement program, but rather to reinvigorate it. We ask you to add your name to that letter, and to encourage others within your church or community to do so by sharing this link. We hope to re-send the letter in the coming days with thousands of signatures from evangelical Christians throughout the country.
- Lastly, I’d invite you to try to imagine what life is like for those who are forced to flee their countries. Often, refugees are forced to flee their homes on a moment’s notice, with little time to gather their possessions. Sometimes they face difficult decisions. If you were in that situation, what three items would you take with you? We invite you to participate in the #ThreeToFlee challenge, making a short video explaining what you’d take and why, then inviting others to do the same via social media. Find more instructions here.
Thank you for being a voice for refugees and other vulnerable immigrants, and thank you for being faithful in prayer.
National Coordinator, Evangelical Immigration Table