The people of Burma have faced a brutal campaign by the military junta that has taken thousands of lives, forced millions to flee, and destroyed many church buildings in their campaign to control and suppress the people’s democratic rights and religious freedoms in the country. Attacks by the Burmese military on villages and towns have forced 1.3 million people to flee to neighboring countries and 1.9 million to hide in the jungles of Myanmar.
Burma is the oldest mission field for Baptists in America, and Baptist Christians are the largest Christian community in Burma. Baptists comprise almost 90% of the Kachin and Chin States and are also prevalent among the Karen and other ethnic groups. It is estimated that between 2008 and 2014 more than 16,000 refugees from Burma made Texas their home and the number continues to grow. They are contributing to the well-being of our state and country. We are proud to call them our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Congress passed the Burma bill last year and now needs to appropriate funds to implement the provisions of the bill that will provide non-lethal military aid; humanitarian relief; promote a federal democracy and hold accountable those responsible for the ruthless abuses of human rights and religious liberty.
Congress is in the midst of negotiations on the next federal budget and will need to reconcile the differences on the different funding levels given to support the people in Burma. Rep. Granger will play a key role in these negotiations as the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.
21Wilberforce is urging Congress to support the adoption of the language of the Senate Appropriations bill, which provides the vital funding levels for these initiatives.
Randel Everett, founder and President of 21Wilberforce recently urged Texas church leaders to sign a letter calling on Congress and specifically Rep. Kay Granger to provide support for persecuted people in Burma. “The funding will provide vital aid that will help the communities affected by the violence to rebuild, promote a federal democracy, and hold accountable those responsible for the ruthless abuses of human rights and religious liberty.”
The letter was signed by 34 Texas Baptist pastors and community leaders.