Christians are More Informed, Active and Willing to Help Refugees

by World Vision Study on November 20, 2015

This week, World Vision released the findings of a poll that illuminates Americans’ willingness to respond to the refugee crisis caused by conflict in Syria.

The survey, conducted online by Ipsos Public Affairs October 6-7, focuses on the humanitarian crisis resulting from the Syrian conflict – rather than the related military or political issues – and asked whether Americans thought the crisis was important, if they had responded to it, if they were willing to respond in the future – and their reasons.

Key findings include:

  • 67 percent of Americans rate the Syrian refugee crisis as somewhat or very important to them
  • 71 percent of Americans state that they would be willing to help Syrian refugees in the future
  • However, only 37 percent of Americans report that they have taken any action to help Syrian refugees – and of those, only 13 percent have donated cash or supplies.

The survey also asks whether respondents identify themselves as committed Christians. Among their responses:

  • 44 percent of committed Christians have taken action to help Syrian refugees (as compared to 27 percent of non-Christians)
  • 76 percent of committed Christians are willing to take future action to help Syrian refugees (as compared to 63 percent of non-Christians)

“As a Christian organization, passionate about helping the poor and oppressed, we’re encouraged to see the response of the American Church to this crisis,” said World Vision President, Richard Stearns. “Christians are, by-and-large, responding with compassion. Our hope is that they will now exercise that compassion and act on behalf of the millions who have had to flee their homes in the midst of horrendous violence.”

Pastor Greg Holder from The Crossing Church in Chesterfield, MO recently traveled with World Vision to visit refugees currently living in Lebanon. The Syrian Refugee Crisis is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. Over 12 million Syrians have been forced to flee their home. The Church needs to stand in the gap, by demonstrating the love and compassion of Christ.

Posted by World Vision Churches on Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fewer Christians than non-Christians cite an unwillingness to help Syrian refugees (24 percent of Christians say that they are unwilling to help Syrian refugees vs 37 percent of non-Christians). However, the reasons below are more prevalent among Christians, and pose a concern to World Vision:

  • “I fear that many Syrian refugees are potential terrorists.” (34 percent of “unwilling” Christians cite this reason vs 17 percent of “unwilling” non-Christians)
  • “I don’t want to help Muslims.” (22 percent of “unwilling Christians cite this reason vs 15 percent of “unwilling” non-Christians)
  • “The problem is too big and ultimately un-solvable for me to make a difference.” (24 percent of “unwilling” Christians cite this reason vs 9 percent of “unwilling” non-Christians)

The overwhelming reason presented by Americans to explain their  unwillingness to help Syrian refugees is, “I think Americans should help people in the U.S. first” – selected by  a full 58 percent of respondents as why they are unwilling to help Syrian refugees. This response was similar across cited religious affiliations, with Christians (60 percent) slightly more likely to attribute their unwillingness to help refugees to a desire to prioritize domestic issues (compared to 57 percent of non-Christians).

Rich Stearns - The Human Face of This Crisis

"This is not a crisis of refugees. This is a crisis of children, mothers and fathers. Of broken lives and broken families. They desperately need our love, our support, and our care." Rich StearnsHere's how your church can provide the love and care they need. Host a Refugee Sunday

Posted by World Vision Churches on Thursday, November 19, 2015

“I am disappointed that the reasons some American Christians cite for refusing to respond to this crisis boil down to fear, lack of compassion for the stranger, and a failure to put faith into action,” said Stearns. “It’s critical that the Church see this humanitarian crisis as an opportunity to show the love of God to the people Jesus talks about the most: the poor, the hurting and the marginalized – wherever they live.”

Of the 4.3 million Syrian refugees accounted for, 4 million are living in Middle Eastern countries, the vast majority of them in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

Your church can respond to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today by hosting a Refugee Sunday.

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