Disappointing to see that our local council has turned down its share of public funds earmarked for helping asylum seekers and refugees. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council was the only council that did not accept this funding, which would have brought in nearly £100 000 to help support some of the most vulnerable people amongst us.
As the Irish New reports: “A statement from Mid and East Antrim Council said: “Council can confirm it did not accept money from TEO Programme for Asylum Seekers and Refugees.”” https://bit.ly/40Aargc
According to The Executive Office, the purpose of this funding was “to develop capacity in local areas to provide support to asylum seekers”.
From a Christian perspective, we should be doing everything possible to help the vulnerable, especially those considered “outsiders”, as the Bible repeatedly emphasises:
“You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Deut 10:19
“Give justice to the lowly and the orphan; maintain the right of the poor and the destitute.” Psalm 82:3
“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:34
“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.’ Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’” Deut 27:19
“I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I championed the cause of the stranger.” Job 29:15-17
“The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.” Psalm 146:9
“For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly one with another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow.” Jeremiah 7:5
“You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the refugees who reside among you and have begotten children among you.” Ezekiel 47:22
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor.” Zechariah 7:9-10
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matt 25:35
“Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren you did it to me.” Matt 25:40
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” Luke 10:27
“In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.” Col 3:11
“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Heb 13:1-3
May we all find the humility to better use our time, our influence, our money and our vote to more fully welcome and embrace the inbreaking Kingdom of God amongst us.
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