5 Myths Keeping Christians From Caring for Prisoners

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The refugee resettlement group World Relief has just announced massive layoffs and the closing of five offices “as a direct result of the recent decision by the Trump Administration to dramatically reduce the number of refugees resettled in the U.S. throughout fiscal year 2017,” they said in a press release. The group, which is affiliated with the National Association of Evangelicals, has worked under eight presidential administrations, and is currently one of the only Christian organizations authorized by the State Department to resettle refugees.

In the last 40 years, the five offices that are being closed have resettled more than 25,000 refugees.

World Relief actually meets refugees as they arrive in the United States, gets them plugged into local communities and helps them adjust to life in the country while offering them the support they need.

In a statement, World Relief President Scott Arbeiter said:

It has been our great privilege to serve both local churches and resilient refugee and immigrant families in each of these communities. Our staff at each of these locations have served diligently and sacrificially—some of them for many years—and we are deeply saddened to have to make this difficult decision.

These staff members are also experts whose vast experience has brought an effectiveness and professionalism to their work. This represents a loss of more than 140 jobs—which by itself is deeply troubling—but also decades of organizational expertise and invaluable capacity to serve the world’s most vulnerable people.

The organization will continue with refugee resettlement, but with the Trump administration’s efforts to dramatically limit the number welcomed to the country, their team is now much smaller. Discuss

Without mentioning the Dakota Access Pipeline by name, Pope Francis defended the rights of indigenous people to defend their land and said their "prior consent" to economic activity that would affect their ancestral land should be necessary, according to the AP.

The pope was speaking at a United Nations agricultural meeting to members of indigenous groups and essentially spoke out against the Trump administration's allowing the pipeline's construction to continue.

"In this regard, the right to prior and informed consent should always prevail," he told the representatives. "Only then is it possible to guarantee peaceful cooperation between governing authorities and indigenous peoples, overcoming confrontation and conflict."

The Dakota Access Pipeline is currently still being contested—the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes sued to stop the construction that would take place right at the eastern border of both reservations. The tribes have maintained for almost a year that the pipeline could compromise their supply of drinking water, their ancestral lands and would keep them from practicing their religion because it needs pure water.

The Pope added, "For governments, this means recognizing that indigenous communities are a part of the population to be appreciated and consulted, and whose full participation should be promoted at the local and national level."

Former President Obama halted the pipeline for an environmental study, but the Trump administration decided early on to give it the green light, even without the environmental study.

The pope's use of "prior consent" comes directly from the U.N.'s declaration of the rights of indigenous people from 2007—a declaration the United States was opposed to.

The Vatican press office later said the pope was just speaking generally and not to situation in the Dakotas, but Pope Francis has long been a proponent of indigenous rights, climate care and for the care of people over the economy. Discuss

A lot has been made in the past several years about human trafficking during the NFL’s Super Bowl. Allegedly, football’s biggest day is also the biggest day in the United States for sex trafficking, particularly in the game’s host city.

While it’s pretty common to hear people talking about it, some sources suggest that some of the Super Bowl sex trafficking reports are exaggerated or misleading. But leading up to Super Bowl 51 (two weeks ago in Houston, Texas), law enforcement officials around the country arrested as many as 522 would-be sex buyers and traffickers—including 183 potential buyers and 9 traffickers in Houston itself.

The arrests, according to multiple sources, 23 law enforcement agencies in 14 states participated in a massive sting operation starting three weeks before Super Bowl Sunday and leading all the way up to the big game.

This could be one of the biggest sex trafficking stings in U.S. history. Discuss