Churches encouraged to embrace asylum issue

National, Normal

The National, Thursday August 1st, 2013


A PROMINENT member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church has lashed out at criticism by churches of the refugee resettlement deal between PNG and Australia.

Norman Sike, founder of the Port Moresby Institute of Matriculation Studies and a devout SDA follower, said in Lae yesterday that Christian churches should embrace the Regional Resettlement Arrangement (RRA) as helping foreigners who were being persecuted by their governments.

“Our country has always professed to be a Christian country and here we are dealing with desperate fellow human beings who are trying to look for shelter and refuge, I think the asylum seeker issue is really testing our Christian principles and values,” he said.

Sike, from Lou Island in Manus, said the RRA should be trialled for 12 months before being reviewed.

“Who we really are and the Christian character of this nation is not so much on what we say, what we preach, what we profess to be but is actually based on what we do. I think that should be the basis of our Christianity,” he said.

“Would extending a helping hand to a fellow human being conflict with our Christian principles and values?

“If we are professing to be a Christian country then really that is a case of religious intolerance when we can’t take in a desperate fellow human being who is seeking refuge and shelter.”

Sike reiterated that most developed countries thrived successfully with good contributions from genuine refugees who came from different cultural backgrounds and religions.