A welcome manifesto: this is a church that welcomes

The board of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy approved a manifesto to say NO to xenophobia. Every form of racism is a theological heresy.

Rome, August 8, 2018 (NEV/CS27) – “For months we have heard violent and rancorous words about immigrants. And, in the middle of summer these words were followed by xenophobic acts of racism targeting black Italian people, asylum seekers and Roma communities as well. As evangelical Christians we believe that the tolerance threshold for this language and of this attitude has been largely overcome and for this reason we have decided to launch a clear and strong message that we do not support such behaviour.

With these words the president of the FCEI, pastor Luca Maria Negro, presented the Welcome Manifesto approved by the FCEI.

“Although it is now unpopular, we affirm that we the protestants stand for the reception of migrants and refugees, the protection of the lives of those who flee from wars and persecutions through the Mediterranean Sea as well as social integration. We do so with a simple but widespread instrument such as a manifesto that we hope can be placed on the door of every protestant church.” Mr. Negro said.

“Every form of racism is a theological heresy”, says the document, which opens by quoting the bible about reception and foreigners’ rights.” The Welcome Manifesto continues with 8 paragraphs to insist on the false conflict between welcoming immigrants and the needs of the Italian people and point out the good practice of the humanitarian corridors. In addition, these paragraphs promote an intercultural exchange in the framework of the principles of the Constitution, the international protection of rights, as well as a communication based on respecting dignity and a position against xenophobia and racism by denouncing the exasperation that occur in the public debate on the issue of migration. In the last two paragraphs, the FCEI appeals to the European sister churches to carry out the reception quotas for asylum seekers and to push their governments to promote policies for sharing migratory flows in a framework of solidarity and shared responsibility, recalling the love of God, which is stronger than the selfishness of individuals and nations.