SCM are beginning a new long-term campaign to support refugees. In order to understand the importance of theological thinking when campaigning, we first need to understand the legality behind justice and injustice alike. Our first two blogs will help with this, so if you've not yet read them you can catch up here.
As a brief overview of what we've covered already, once every two years DSEI (Defence and Security Equipment International) hosts an Arms Fair in London. In the last ten years, $17 billion worth of weaponry has been sold to nations known to abuse the human rights of their citizens. Additionally, the Nationality and Borders Bill, which is estimated to become law in early 2022, will restrict the means of travel refugees and asylum seekers can take to enter the UK. The Bill will also make it illegal for rescue missions to be conducted at sea if the boat in distress is carrying refugees. The consequences of this particular legislation are dire; by not only legalising bystander apathy but encouraging it, the Nationality and Borders Bill discriminately legitimises execution by drowning.
Why Get Involved?
SCM has four core aims and values which we strive to honour:
1) Create community
2) Celebrate diversity
3) Deepen faith
4) Seek justice.
It is this fourth value which our new long-term campaign will focus on.
To seek justice is to put into question the ethics of selling deadly weapons to recognised human rights abusers; it is to push our own government to acknowledge that the arms they sell are used in the destruction of people’s homes, cities, and bodies. Seeking justice is to challenge the legal implantation of immorality by criminalising rescue missions for those crossing the border by boat. It is to disrupt the blissful unawareness of those who do not realise that we, as a country, fill the pockets of the wealthiest individuals with the rubble of other people’s homes, and the souls buried beneath them or lost in the waters on their way to the same country that distributed their destruction for cash.
At SCM, we understand that seeking justice, particularly when motivated by one’s religious duty, is a key part of deepening their relationship with God. However, social justice does not need to be a singularly religious experience. It is rooted in distinctly human emotions: anger, sadness, dismay, disgust, bravery, passion and persistence. These emotions will give us the impetus to take action if we use them wisely.
The Value of Action
In the last blog, one of our Calls to Action was to read a passage from the Book of Ruth. She was a Moabite and, therefore, an ancient enemy of Israel. In the passage Ruth meets Boaz who, despite their differences, shows her unwavering kindness. He does so not out of pity, nor insincere fuel for his self-worth. He does not interact with Ruth as though she is unlike him, unworthy to dine at his table, nor does he treat her like a victim who he will so graciously save. He shows kindness because he is kind. He shows her respect, and expresses an admiration for the steadfast love she has shown to others (Ruth 2:11-12 NRSV). Thereby, Ruth - a stranger, a widow, a refugee - came to Israel and showed through her own actions, before Christ had walked the earth, how to live with love and loyalty. “Ruth came and was to the people of God as they should have been” to her, and to each other (Crawford, 2021). She was a gift.
When theological thinking ceases to be theory, we must realise the value of action. We must put our knowledge of God to better use and recognise the place in which we want to stand as a result of our faith. Rather than scrutinise the way in which refugees travel into this country, we should question why they’ve had to leave their own. We should not pity refugees, we should believe in them; believe in the stories they tell and in the potential that they have. Believe that somewhere among them is Ruth, doing everything in their power to protect their loved ones and strive for the right to feel safe at the end of each day. For isn’t that a human right?
Calls to Action
1. “We have seen advancements in every aspect of our lives – except our humanity” - please watch Luma Mufleh's Ted Talk,"Don't feel sorry for refugees, believe in them".
2. Please read Luke 10:25-37, the Parable of the Good Samaritan. We'll be looking at this in the next blog!
3. Write to your MP today. If you are a student with a different term time and home address, you can write to your MP in both areas. Head to the Asylum Welcome website and click on the large purple link at the bottom of the page asking you to write to your MP and oppose the bill – this will provide guidance on how to find your MPs details, how to format your letter, and ideas for different points you can raise within the body of the text. (A reminder that you can also book Lizzy for a workshop on this!)
Our Project Workers:
Alana (theology and resources) – email@example.com
Lizzy (social justice) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Crawford, H. (2021) ‘What does the Bible say about refugees?’, Bible Society. Available: What does the Bible say about refugees? - Articles about the Bible - Bible Society
(Accessed 12th October 2021).