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Spirituality in Supporting Refugees

Eira Clapton came to talk to Dayspring friends recently about her decision to engage in non-violent disobedience with Love Makes a Way. She asked (and answered) the questions:

  • How can we stay silent in the face of injustice?
  • How can we continue to hope for change in the face of overwhelming community opinion?
  • What should we do?

Here are some of Eira’s suggestions.

  • When we have the chance of conversations with friends and colleagues who have opposing attitude, take a listening stance, ask questions such as

a.       Tell me more about that…
b.      Where did you hear that?
c.       Why does it bother you so much?
d.      When they tell you an emotion they have, ask them to explain it.

If your conversations turn to the fear of Muslims, you can point out that there has been a Mosque in Perth for over 100 years and that Muslims who seek asylum are largely escaping Sharia law rather than bringing it to Australia.

When you have finished asking questions, thank the friend or colleague and ask, “Would you be interesting in hearing my point of view?” Then link your description of your point of view to shared values such as wanting to stop people drowning on boats at sea, wanting a peaceful and safe community.

  • Be politically engaged. Don’t give up. What do we vote for? Write a letter to the candidates you are not voting for, telling them why we are not voting for them, such as the issues of humane treatment of refugees and climate change. Ask questions, including ones about health or women’s issues that will necessitate your letter being passed on to another department. Write a letter by hand, preferably, and post it rather than email.
  • Find an agency to support – with prayer and money. Eira suggested CARAD, UNHCR, Amnesty, Red Cross. (Eira asked us to donate her fee for the night to CARAD).
  • If you hear of a situation where refugees claim sanctuary, support in any way you can.

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