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Nov232015

Refugees, Fear, and the Golden Rule

A Compassionate Atlanta Call to Action: Refugees, Fear, and the Golden Rule

Compassionate Atlanta

Compassionate Atlanta understands that in times of great tragedy it is natural to react rather than respond to what we perceive as threatening us. We understand that in the minds of many Westerners, refugees from Syria pose too great a risk to the general public to be welcomed and provided with services. In fact, many governors across the country are refusing to receive Syrian refugees based on the fear of the “other”. 

Compassionate Atlanta is rooted in the Charter for Compassion, a social blueprint for how we can create a social architecture that is rooted in the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do to you or do not to others as you would have them do not unto you). 

A key phrase in the Charter for Compassion is “compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and put another there.” 

Georgia has a growing and thriving refugee population thanks to the work of local non-profit organizations and the State’s refugee support initiatives. Georgia has, in the past, welcomed thousands of refugees, with open and welcoming hearts. In 2013, Georgia was number 7 in the nation for resettled refugees. 

The state of Georgia now has a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate, here and now, that Georgia is a compassionate, welcoming, and safe place for all people, no matter their national origin, religion, or language. The City of Clarkston is a phenomenal example for the rest of our state. 

Compassionate Atlanta calls one and all to rise above the fear of the moment and embrace the Golden Rule as our frame for how we view the threat of terrorism. Compassionate Atlanta calls our Georgia sisters and brothers to open their hands and hearts to all refugees, especially those fleeing Syria or wherever their lives are threatened. 

We invite one and all to heed the call of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” We add that fear cannot drive out fear: only compassion can do that. 

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