D.C. — In a resolution
passed at a meeting in July, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) General Council declared that “we are
all fellow sojourners in this world and that our treatment of the immigrants in
our midst is central to authentic scriptural faith.”
Council members call on all Baptists to “renew their scriptural
study, academic understanding and prophetic proclamation of the scriptural
mandate to live in love and justice with refugees and immigrants.”
Noting that, globally, there are more than 67 million refugees and internally
displaced persons (IDPs), and more than 191 million international migrants, the
Council urged Baptists to “freely share resources with those in
need … instill an ethic of love that supersedes ethnic, gender and
political boundaries,” and to “act as advocates for refugees and
The resolution came against the background of escalating tensions in
different parts of the world where refugees and migrants experience increasing
levels of discrimination and violence. Paul Msiza, General Secretary of the
Baptist Convention of South Africa, apologized to members of the Council for
the ethnic violence against migrant workers in that country in May.
Concern was expressed about the treatment and state of IDPs in Myanmar, and the Roma people in Italy,
for whom a special resolution was also passed. The General Council, the highest
decision making body of the BWA outside of the Baptist World Congress,
“Laments that the Italian government, without objection of the European
Union, is practicing the involuntary fingerprinting of all Roma people within
its borders, including children, which we regard as ethnic profiling.”
Council members hoped that the BWA will take action to bring the state
of refugees and migrants to the world’s attention, and to make intervention
at the levels of the United Nations and with individual governments.
Members of the Council voted unanimously to establish a BWA Division of
Freedom and Justice, which will address these and other justice concerns.
The General Council met during the BWA Annual Gathering that was held
in Prague in the Czech Republic
from July 20-25.