The following text is a statement from the CSRA Peace Alliance. It was submitted on December 18, 2015 to the Augusta Chronicle.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order on November 16, 2015 directing all state agencies to halt “any involvement in accepting refugees from Syria.” The United States wishes to build coalitions with other nations to ensure its security and promote democratic values like freedom, personal responsibility and family values. Yet we in Georgia don’t want to help others do the same?
US religious leaders of every persuasion preach the golden rule, including taking care of the most vulnerable. They instruct us to believe in the worth and dignity of each individual. Yet we deny Syrian refugees entrance?
The perpetrators of the Paris attacks were French and Belgian, not Syrian. The perpetrators of 9/11 came mostly from Saudi Arabia. Does Governor Deal suggest we ban French, Belgian and Saudi residents from visiting Georgia?
Opponents of Syrian refugee resettlement imagine waves of refugees as they see in Europe. The U.S. has committed to accepting only 10,000 in 2016, and they are screened more rigorously than any other group of people entering the U.S.
We should not turn our backs. We should embrace them with our Christian, Jewish, Muslim and non-theist values of love, compassion and cooperation. This gesture will restore our sense of dignity and courage and promote it to our neighbors with whom we share a global responsibility.
Let us support those who come to our state with a work ethic, pride and a desire to make a living with their families, eager to contribute their skills and know-how.
Our Governor should cease discriminating against Syrian refugees. They come as families with the goals of being free, independent and safe, like any individual coming from a war zone.
Security lies not in stockpiled weapons but instead in our willingness to compromise and pursue peaceful solutions to conflicts.
Update January 8, 2015