The leaders of the Churches of Sweden have written to politicians to warn them that the country is in danger of descending into a “nationalistic slumber” and of “withdrawing into ourselves”.
Driving the news
The Christian Council of Sweden (SKR) addressed a letter to members of the Riksdag September 17 on the occasion of the new parliamentary year.
In the letter, Catholic, Pentecostal, Syrian Orthodox and Church of Sweden (Evangelical Lutheran) leaders encouraged politicians to tackle a number of “very important” challenges.
Policy priorites must include “the climate crisis, the reform of the health system, education, safety, the increasing economic and social gap among people, crime and unemployment”, the Christian leaders said.
“We as churches and communities want to support and contribute to a good society”, the SKR leaders affirmed.
But they also warned Swedes are in “danger of losing sight of the world beyond our country”.
“We see and hear alarming elements in the public debate”, the Church representatives lamented.
They pointed to those who want to tighten up border control and say refugee limits are a guarantee of freedom and security for Swedes.
“The right of people to flee from war and oppression and to seek refuge in a country other than their home country is enshrined in international conventions and EU directives which Sweden is obliged to follow”, the Christian leaders stated.
“It is therefore not possible to set a numerical limit for how many asylum seekers should be allowed to stay”, they explained.
“Regardless of whether 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000 people come to our country’s border in any given year, each of them is entitled to an individual trial”.
Why it matters
“Together as a community in Sweden and in collaboration with our sister churches in Europe and other parts of the world, we will continue to monitor” refugee and asylum seeker issues, the Swedish Church representatives said, pledging to work for “social cohesion”.
“Those who immigrate to Sweden need us and our protection, but we also need them!”, the SKR leaders insisted.
The heads of the Swedish Churches concluded their letter with an urgent appeal to politicians and wider society “to see and care about the world and the people outside our country’s borders”.