Thursday, September 03, 2015

The price of a soul

The refugee problem is becoming increasingly desperate. Hundreds drown in the Mediterranean. People are found dead in lorries. While governments haggle about immigration quotas, thousands, young and old, are walking across Europe.

The government of Poland has agreed to take Syrian refugees - provided they are Christians. A Polish non-government organisation has been arranging selection and transportation. All the refugees are dedicated churchgoers.

Free language courses, medical care and spending money are provided when they arrive. Charities, businesses and churches are covering the costs.

"Today Christians who are being persecuted in barbaric fashion in Syria deserve Christian countries like Poland to act fast to help them," says Poland's Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz.

Slovakia has said it will take 200 refugees from Syria, but only if they are devout churchgoers. The Czech Republic applied the same requirements for 70 families granted asylum this year.

The UN, EU and some Christian leaders say we should help all in need, not just Christians. 

But Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, international director of the British charity Barnabas Fund, says this is contrary to Middle Eastern culture, which expects each religion to help its own followers. "When Christians fail to show practical love for each other, the astonished onlookers ask: 'What kind of religion is this that does not even look after its own?'"

Barnabas Fund has launched Operation Safe Havens to fly Middle Eastern Christians whose lives are in danger to countries who will allow them to settle, and to help them with basic needs until they settle. They will then not have to take the risk of paying people traffickers. 

The charity says £2,000 covers all the costs of rescuing one person and supporting him for a year; £40 provides a week's food for a family in Poland

Rescuing refugees whose lives are in danger costs money. But what's money compared with precious, never-dying souls?

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