miercoles, 7 de junio de 2023   inicia sesión o regístrate
Protestante Digital
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Rss


New Evangelical Focus
Do you like the new design of the Evangelical Focus website?
I'm not sure...
Encuesta cerrada. Número de votos: 3


“The slogan ‘Stop the Boats’ dehumanises the immigration problem”

Several Christian voices in the United Kingdom criticise the Illegal Migration draft law presented by the government. They ask to “talk frankly and listen carefully” instead of “fanning anti-immigration flames”.

AUTOR 7/Joel_Forster,5/Evangelical_Focus LONDON 13 DE MARZO DE 2023 16:44 h
The UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak presents the Illegal Immigration Bill in March 2023. / Photo: [link]Number 10 Flickr[/link].

The United Kingdom government sparked a large debate last week as it presented a draft law to “stop the boats” arriving to its shores.

In a visit to Paris, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the UK will give France almost £500m over three years to help stop migrants crossing the Channel illegally. This should help “put an end to this disgusting trade in human life”, Sunak said. “The UK and France will ensure that nobody can exploit our systems with impunity”.

But the ‘Stop the Boats’ policy has stirred a large controversy. The draft law outlined by Home Secretary Suella Bravemen would deny most people arriving from the known as ‘safe countries’ the right to claim asylum, and would force the government to remove these migrants as quickly as possible. Such deportations would be “either to their country of origin or to a safe third country”, Braveman explained.

A piece of the new government's campaign on social media reads: “Our plan is clear: if you come here illegally, you will be removed”. But the Home Secretary has admitted that if passed, her law could collide with the European Convention on Human Rights and other international agreements about refugee rights.

In 2022, around 45,000 people crossed into the UK illegally through the Channel.


The danger of “fanning the anti-immigration flames”

Among the many Christians who reacted to the news in the last days is Krish Kandiah, director of The Sanctuary Foundation (which supports refugees to find “welcome, work and worthwhile housing”). According to him, the government has used “totally, factually inaccurate” figures that only help “fan the flames of anti-immigration policy, a scare tactic that needs to be challenged”.

In a video posted on Twitter, he asks “for a humane and compassionate response full of truth and kindness”, as he praises “the incredible generosity of the people of the UK” in welcoming those fleeing countries such as Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Ukraine.


Slogans do not solve difficult issues

Eddie Arthur, a missiologist who has served in Africa also disagrees with the governmental approach. “The problems of immigration and asylum are complex and nuanced and require multilateral responses. Pretending that a complex problem can be solved by a slogan like this is essentially dishonest”, he told Evangelical Focus.

“The slogan seeks to dehumanise the problem by referring to boats and not people. If you say ‘Stop the Boats’ it sounds somewhat neutral. However, if you actually say ‘stop women and children fleeing for their lives’, it becomes cruel and inhuman”. The wording of the recent announcements “has been well chosen to disguise the nature of the policy”, says Arthur.

The researcher, who closely follows global trends, does not think the initiatives outlined by the Home Office will work. “To give one example of the impracticability of the policy, the Home Secretary has said that tens of thousands of refugees could be sent to Rwanda, whereas Rwanda has only agreed to take around 200 per year for the five years of the agreement. Something doesn’t add up”.

“Britain does not pretend to be a Christian country and we should not be surprised that it does not follow biblical standards”, says Arthur. “However, Christians have a duty to stand up and to advocate for those standards”.

“The Old Testament is rich in passages calling on the nation of Israel to be welcoming to foreigners coming to their country. This theme of radical generosity is reiterated in the New Testament, particularly in Jesus’ commands to serve others and to love our neighbours”.

“There are undoubtedly some people who for one reason or another should not be allowed entry into the UK. This means that there is a need for some sort of screening process of newly arrived refugees, and this should be much quicker than the current one”.

But the “fundamental principles should be generosity and hospitality”, Arthur concludes. “The UK remains one of the richest nations in the world and proportionate to our population we take in far fewer refugees than other, much poorer, countries. There is no economic reason standing in the way of an approach which is rooted in these biblical values”.


A need to leave “populism” and “listen carefully”

Dave Burke is a retired pastor of an evangelical church in the northeast of England which has welcomed asylum seekers for over a decade. Talking to Evangelical Focus, he says the government’s approach to migration makes him feel “ashamed”.

“As a family, we are supportive of immigration”, says Burke, who alongside his wife has offered a home to refugees from Iran, Eritrea and Ukraine. He admits that “most Britons think it is unreasonable to keep on accepting all comers and I cannot dismiss their point of view. They know that thousands of refugees pass through safe countries - where they could claim asylum, but don’t - and risk a dangerous Channel crossing to get to the UK”. 

According to the pastor, the problem is that “the current government was elected on a wave of populism to ‘get Brexit done’. Like all populists, they are good at getting votes but lack the ability to govern”. The present cabinet “have been in office for twelve years and failed to control immigration, and they are now resorting to barbaric measures”.

As a Christian, I believe that problems are solved through talking frankly with other countries and listening carefully. This cannot be done in a hurry, negotiations like this will take time”. He concludes: “Our politicians need to rebuild relationships, treat Europe with respect and slow down”.


  [title] The position of the Evangelical Alliance [/title]

  [photo] [/photo]


Alicia Edmund, of the Evangelical Alliance UK (EAUK), emphasised in a video message, “the importance of tone and posture when discussing immigration and asylum policy (…) Our engagement and pursuit for good and just legislation should resemble the Scriptures we need and the God we serve more than the soundbites of any political party”

The starting point for all Christians should be Genesis, where “dignity, worth and respect is bestowed on an individual because they are image bearers of him, not because the law assigns value or worth”.

The Bible calls to “establish a society rooted in justice and that cares deeply about the stranger, the foreigner and the widow amongst us”.

The Evangelical Alliance UK will “engage” in the public conversation around the law, which “likely will cause disagreement in parliament and across communities” but should “not divide the church”.






    Si quieres comentar o


10:32 h
Offering protection to women and children fleeing war or persecution is very different to taking in swarms of able-bodies men from countries that are not at war. The people quoted in this article make absolutely no attempt to differentiate the two. There is no Biblical imperative for rolling out the red carpet to any random person who decides they don't like their home country anymore.

ESTAS EN: - - “The slogan ‘Stop the Boats’ dehumanises the immigration problem”
Síguenos en Ivoox
Síguenos en YouTube y en Vimeo

MIEMBRO DE: Evangelical European Alliance (EEA) y World Evangelical Alliance (WEA)

Las opiniones vertidas por nuestros colaboradores se realizan a nivel personal, pudiendo coincidir o no con la postura de la dirección de Protestante Digital.