'Christians United for Afghanistan' – ACL and Uniting Church line up in support of new campaign
In a significant show of unity, major church denominations and Christian organisations have come together to support Afghan Refugees, launching the Christians United for Afghanistan campaign.
Sydney Anglicans, the Uniting Church in Australia, Baptists, Catholics, and Pentecostals, as well as the Australian Christian Lobby, Micah Australia and Common Grace, have signed on to support the campaign – the rare show of unity from diverse Christian camps signalling just how crucial the issue is to Australian believers.
“This crisis has already shown its power to unite us across theological, political and denominational lines,” said Tim Costello, Executive Director of Micah Australia.
“Together, the Australian Church is calling on our government to make a just and compassionate commitment to help the most vulnerable Afghan people. We want to ensure our nation responds in a way that we can look back on proudly in generations to come.”
As the plight of Afghan people captures the hearts of Australians, the campaign aims to amplify the Christian voice on this issue, with one main goal: to call on the Federal Government to provide a special intake of an additional 20,000 Afghan refugees and support the ongoing well-being of all Afghan refugees and their families.
“We live in a troubled world, but every so often we see a moment of such intense trouble that it demands our special attention. Australia has often stepped forward at such times to do what we can, for those who are persecuted, displaced, and hurting. Afghanistan is such a moment,” said Martyn Iles, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.
Since the start of the crisis, the Government has announced an initial commitment of providing 3,000 refugee spaces from within Australia’s existing humanitarian program – a commitment that many advocates say is well below what is needed to respond to the crisis.
“As followers of Jesus, we believe each person is precious and loved by God. Right now, the scale of this crisis requires us to work together to provide protection and refuge to those who are in danger,” said Rev Sharon Hollis, Uniting Church in Australia President.
The UNHCR estimates over 550,000 Afghans have already fled their homes since the start of the year – 80 per cent of them women and children
“Our Christian call to love our neighbours takes more than words – it takes action to love someone. These lands now called Australia must be known as a place of compassion and welcome for those who need safety,” said Brooke Prentis, CEO Common Grace and Aboriginal Christian Leader.
The campaign launched on Wednesday with the support of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Common Grace, National Council of Churches in Australia, The Australian Christian Lobby, Baptist World Aid Australia and Jesuit Social Services – many of whom have been vocal in their advocacy in the past week.
Coordinated by Micah Australia, the campaign is working closely alongside the Refugee services sector, including the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), aligning with and complementing their asks. In a statement released to the media, the campaign also acknowledges support for #ActionForAfghanistan petition and open letter, coordinated by the Afghan Australian Advocacy Network, made up of people from diverse ethnic and religious groups from the Afghan Australian community.
“There is no doubt the Bible is not a policy document. It certainly does not stipulate humanitarian policy quotas,” remarked Micah Australia’s Tim Costello.
“However, it is radical in its acceptance of the stranger (refugee) and why God’s heart is particularly set for their plight.”
To learn more, go to www.unitedforafghanistan.com.