Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Perspectives: What's so Different About the 2018 Refugee Sabbath?

Article by James Standish / Image Courtesy ADRA

America was founded by religious refugees. At our best, we continue the tradition by welcoming those in greatest need. At our worst, we close our doors to those in dire distress, as we did in 1939 when we rejected the call to bring 20,000 Jewish children to America. As a result, many of those beautiful children were starved, beaten, brutally abused in unimaginable sadistic ways, and systematically slaughtered in the Nazi death factories. Today as we see men, women and children reaching out to us in hope, we can either open our hearts, or we live with the eternal consequences of turning our backs. 

But aren’t refugees an economic and security liability? No. Steve Jobs, founder of the most valuable company in the world, was the son of a Syrian immigrant. Similarly, from Albert Einstein to Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google), refugees have made profound contributions to America. While security must be of a foremost concern, since changes to the U.S. refugee processing procedures in 1980, there has not been a single fatal terrorist act carried out by a refugee.

Last year the U.S. slashed the number of refugees we admitted by 37 percent. In the 1980’s we admitted roughly twice the number of refugees per year that we do now.  This, at a time when there are more refugees in the world than at any time since the immediate aftermath of World War II. Many of the refugees have been persecuted for their faith, including many Christians and a number of Seventh-day Adventists.

In Scripture we read, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Ps. 31:8). The early Adventists followed this counsel, speaking on issues ranging from religious liberty to advocating against slavery. Ellen White, speaking of one of her great public policy campaigns, put it this way: “[Adventists] fail to do their whole duty unless they exert their influence by precept and example—by voice and pen …”

This year ADRA is giving us the opportunity to use our God-given voice to uphold refugee by respectfully requesting that we go back to our 1980’s level of refugee resettlement. This is our chance to “speak up for those who cannot speak”–to do our duty by using our “voice and pen."

Visit and, in less than two minutes, we can send our letter on behalf of God’s children in dire distress.


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