AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson

Baptist Union gets behind Church of England on refugee crisis

Mon 19 Oct 2015
By Aaron James

The Baptist Union has joined the Church of England's calls for the British government to take in more refugees.

It is speaking after 84 bishops signed an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, which said that Britain's response to the crisis was becoming "increasingly inadequate".

It called for Britain to increase the number of refugees it is taking in from 20,000 by the year 2020 to 50,000.

Revd Lynn Green, Secretary General of the Baptist Union, said the church was simply following what Jesus commanded in looking to welcome refugees fleeing conflict and that the Church had already provided a strong response to the current crisis.

She told Premier: "Jesus very clearly teaches that we're not to fear the stranger but that we're to love our neighbour, and I think our policies as a nation need to reflect the value of compassion and that's what I think we're calling for at this time.

"There are many churches that are already working with refugees and have been doing for some time. We're seeing churches coming forward offering foster placements, offering homes...people want to work with local government to enable refugees to come and find a home here.

"I believe that our country has a moral right and duty to extend a welcome to refugees and many other countries around the world are giving so much and we could do more than what is currently being offered."

A Downing Street spokesman said: "We have announced that the UK will resettle an additional 20,000 Syrian refugees over the course of this parliament.

"It is absolutely right that Britain should fulfil its moral responsibility to help the refugees, just as we have done so proudly throughout our history. But in doing so, we must use our head and our heart by pursuing a comprehensive approach that tackles the causes of the problem as well as the consequences.

"The UK is the second largest donor in the world after America, helping refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Our total contribution to the Syrian crisis is more than £1.12 billion."

Listen to Premier's Ian Brittain speaking to Revd Lynn Green here:

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