Refugees ought to be welcomed, not spurned
by Rev. Bryant Wright
March 19, 2014 12:00 AM | 3959 views | 9 9 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Recently, the Marietta Daily Journal published a column by Joe Newton about refugees in Georgia. I was disappointed to read the misleading statements in Mr. Newton’s article. We have personally interacted with refugees in Atlanta alongside our congregation and admire the refugees’ determination and patriotism.

Refugees are here because they have had to flee their homelands due to persecution, injustice and even violence. I am reminded of two young Iranian women who came to Georgia through World Relief, a refugee resettlement agency, after they were placed in Iran’s most notorious prison for being Christians and sharing their faith.

I also think about the Iraqi contractors who served, and in some cases, protected our United States military and about the Burmese refugees who have escaped torture and imprisonment in search of a better life.

In 1999 Johnson Ferry had the privilege of partnering with other Marietta churches in resettling in East Cobb six families escaping the war in Kosovo (with over 20 children among them). This was a challenging and yet richly rewarding experience for all involved. Our people still see these Kosovar families today, who are now fluent in English and maintaining steady employment in the east Cobb community. Most of the children are now honor students attending college. We are blessed by God to have played a small part in helping these good people establish a new life in our community.

Our friends at World Relief have provided a few statistics to address what was written in the article. More than 80 percent of refugees are self-sufficient within six months of arrival in Georgia, which is among the best rates in the nation. Also, through taxes and payroll deductions, working refugees contribute millions of dollars to local and state budgets every year.

Additionally, nearly all funding allocated for refugee programs is direct federal funding, some of which flows through the state of Georgia, sometimes creating the mistaken impression that Georgia tax dollars fund these programs.

My desire is the readers of the Marietta Daily Journal understand that refugees represent the things that make our country great. They are patriotic and work diligently to learn English. They are committed to their families and many become business owners and community leaders.

We at Johnson Ferry support refugees for many reasons, and their stories remind us of what makes America such an amazing place. More importantly, we support refugees because of our faith, knowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ compels us to love the foreigner, even those who come from cultures and religions that may be very different than our own.

Many of our own ancestors fled injustice and persecution to come to the United States. Refugees are a new generation of Americans who are seeking a new life — just like generations of immigrants in years past.

I encourage anyone who is skeptical of this program to get to know these folks and welcome our new neighbors. There is a very good chance you will be blessed if you do.

The Rev. Bryant Wright is Senior Pastor at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in east Cobb.
Comments
(9)
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Kevin Foley
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March 24, 2014
@ Twomey - Oh, I forgot, you're a flat earth type denier.

Here's your homework assignment, Ben: Google Dr. Bill Custer and read his exhaustive report on how Medicaid expansion would benefit Georgia.
Kevin Foley
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March 22, 2014
Yeah Debbie (whoever you are), 650,000 poor Georgians is a nit pick. It's shameful Christians aren't demanding Medicaid expansion.
Ben Twomey
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March 24, 2014
Foely, you "650,000 poor Georgias" only exist in

your mind.
Kevin Foley
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March 20, 2014
Rev. Wright is concerned about refugees? What about Georgia's poor and sick?

See my current MDJ blog for more on this.
debbiedowneragain
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March 21, 2014
Foley, you just can't help yourself, can you?! You are constantly bashing Christians and churches and especially those in East Cobb for not doing enough for others. Rev. Wright, a minister at one of the most caring and giving churches in the country, writes a letter to the editor about helping refugees. Only a Debbie Downer like you, could find something to criticize and nit pick. Do you always have to wallow in such misery?
Ben Twomey
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March 19, 2014
Rev. Wright, let's be clear. You are speaking of refugees who come to this country legally, learn our language, become citizens and assimilate into our culture, I hope.

Because if your intent is to elicit support for the illegal immigrants who break our laws to get here and continue to break them by remaining, while bleeding our economy sending billions out of our country, cheating the working citizens by avoiding paying income tax, dumbing down our educational system and bleeding our social welfare programs, then you have wasted your time and effort. The citizens of the Ubited States do not welcome or support lawbreakers.
Kevin123sdf
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March 21, 2014
By definition, refugees are legal immigrants who enter this country only after rigorous processing by the US State Department. There is no reason to soil the beautiful, heartfelt and profoundly American sentiments of the Rev. Wright by trying to confuse the issue of refugee resettlement with illegal immigration.
Elaine Smith
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March 21, 2014
Of course he is talking about people here legally. Whether they learn the common language or become citizens is irrelevant, though the majority of the ones I have known do. There is no such thing as an illegal refugee (someone given refugee status by the US government). Please learn what refugees are before commenting on this topic.
Ben Twomey
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March 21, 2014
Kevin Foley and Elaine Smith. I am well aware of the difference in a refugee and an immigrant. I am also well acqainted with the difference in legal and illegal in both categories.

I just want to make sure that the good Rev. is knowledgable also.

Elaine, there are illegal refugees here also. Any, and there are plenty, who falsified information to gain access to the refugee category are illegal.
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