Prayer for Refugees
You leave no one behind, no one alone, and no one to dwell in darkness or fear.
You led your people out of Egypt to safety and a promised land. You protected Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus as they traveled in to hiding from the murderous Herod.
This day, walk with all refugees fleeing for their lives, with those who wait in tents and open fields clinging to a small hope to rejoin family and rebuild their lives, and for all refugees who now dwell in darkness as our nation closes its door to them.
Our hearts are broken. Refugees who would be our new neighbors are now being forced to stay in harm’s way and away from the loving embrace we are ready to offer as a new family in a new land.
But fear will not overcome us. You are our light. We pray for justice. We pray for compassion. We pray for all who govern that they may be blessed with wisdom and the courage to reflect your love in a broken world.
God, in your mercy.
Hear our prayer.
Faith Leader Op-Ed
Today, I reflect how from the earliest days of [Sunday school/Hebrew School/Seminary], my faith has taught and called me to welcome the stranger, stand with the vulnerable, and love my neighbor. Now, as a father, minister, and [Marylander], I am proud to demonstrate these values in my daily life and weekly sermons at [name of congregation]. But it is also because of those values that I am deeply disturbed by recent anti-refugee and anti-immigrant sentiment espoused by some of our law makers. It sends an unwelcoming and mean-spirited message of exclusion to refugee families fleeing violence and persecution. For the coming fiscal year 2019 the Trump Administration has announced a cap of 30,000 refugees eligible for resettlement in the United States, the lowest number in the program's 39-year history. This follows a fiscal year 2018 cap of 45,000, but a projected number of 21,000 actually resettled. The amounts are well below the 90,000 average in prior years.
This [BILL, RESOLUTION, PROPOSAL], as well as the recent executive orders to stop refugee resettlement stands opposite to my beliefs as a person of faith. Refugees are also the most scrutinized individuals entering the United States. To claim that they are security threats to our community not only ignores the unimaginable circumstances they flee and heavily scrutinized path to safe haven in the United States, but also stokes fear rather than cultivating compassion, truth, and understanding.
[INSERT RELEVANT SCRIPTURE – EX: “Bring water to the thirsty, meet the fugitive with bread… For they have fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the stress of battle.” - Isaiah 21:14-15; “And (as for) those who believed and fled and struggled hard in Allah's way, and those who gave shelter and helped, these are the believers truly; they shall have forgiveness and honorable provision.” (Quran 8:74); “And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:19)]
From the [earliest books] in the [Bible/Torah/Quran], our faith calls on us to show mercy and hospitality to those fleeing persecution. We are called to treat them with dignity, respect, and love, providing the same welcome that we ourselves would hope for. As Americans, we live in a country built in part by the hard work, dreams, and determination of generations of immigrants and refugees -- many of whom were our ancestors. Sadly, it seems that our state legislators have forgotten these lessons and have acted with fear instead of compassion.
Refugees are mothers, fathers, and children. They are doctors, teachers, lawyers, business owners, craftsmen, and musicians. As the world searches for solutions to the largest displacement crisis in history, with more than 21 million refugees worldwide, we have a moral and legal obligation to refugees seeking a chance to rebuild their lives and create a better future for their families. These people are no different than our [Biblical] ancestors who were once refugees who found welcome and were called to do the same.
Today, I urge our state lawmakers to ensure [Maryland] is providing refugees a chance to live, work, and go to school in safety. To do otherwise would be to dishonor our legacy of welcome and hospitality and fall short of our values.