Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Really Bad English Version of the Joint Declaration of German Protestant Churches on the Refugee Crisis

The following is a Google Translate version of a six-point declaration issued and signed September 14, 2015, by the German Protestant churches.

"How precious is your steadfast love, O God, that human children have trust in the shadow of your wings!" (Psalm 36.8)

1. God loves all his creatures and gives them food , livelihood, and housing on this earth. We note with concern that millions of people are denied these good gifts of God by hunger, persecution, oppression, and violence. Many of them are on the run, and stand at the gates of Europe and Germany. To welcome these and to grant them those things that God has allotted to all is a commandment of humanity and, for us, a commandment of Christian responsibility.

2. People are at the center of all efforts. Many people worldwide are on the run. The great challenge for each individual is to do what is just. In desperation and in mortal danger, people go on the run. It is humanitarian duty to do everything possible for people who are obviously in distress, whether at sea or on land. Police must act against inhuman traffickers and mafia-like structures within and outside Europe. Indeed, the largest barrier that stops asylum-seekers is legal access routes to Europe. We therefore call for legal means for Asylum seekers and for an open discussions on immigration law in order to establish new, open immigration routes for people looking for work and a better life.

3. Our society is facing a major challenge, but our forces are large . We are grateful for the diversity of help: from volunteers and professionals, help from the church, civil society, government, and politics. These demonstrate a welcoming culture and display an unprecedented commitment to ensure the rapid and decent reception and accommodation of refugees. We thank all wholeheartedly! With decisiveness we oppose all forms of xenophobia, hatred, or racism and are against everything a misanthropic attitude supports or makes acceptable. Worry and fear of exposure must be taken seriously, but we should not indulge misanthropic moods.

4. As a church, we help to create this society. Therefore, we advocate and practice a welcoming culture. And we make integration a central task of our communities and institutions.

5. With concern we see the background and causes of refugee movements: climate change, wars, persecution, the collapse of states, violence, extreme poverty. And our society does not escape, because we are global. We trade globally. We participate in arms sales. And, last but not least, we are deeply implicated by a lifestyle that uses the earth's resources. It is time to reverse this unjust situation.

6. Here in Germany, we are especially aware of our history. We know what a gift it is to find help and open doors in time of need. Without the aid, which comes from our hearts as well, we would not be in a position today to help others. As church leaders, we wish to commit ourselves with all Europe to act together to fulfill our humanitarian obligations.

In the knowledge that people have found refuge under God's wings, we bring the plight of all people in our prayers to God and ask Him for strength for the tasks that lie ahead.