Bishop Scott Jones offers testimony against Nebraska anti-refugee bill


The Rev. Nancy Lambert, Great Plains director of Clergy Excellence and assistant to the bishop, reads prepared testimony on behalf of
Bishop Scott J. Jones during a Nebraska Legislature Judiciary Committee hearing on a bill that would hamper efforts to help refugees
seeking a safe place to relocate within the state. Photo by Andrea Paret

Bishop Scott J. Jones recently wrote testimony for the Nebraska Legislature about LB 966, a bill that would force Nebraska refugee resettlement agencies, including Justice for Our Neighbors-Nebraska (JFON-NE) to purchase liability insurance in the amount of $25 million. Any agencies that lacked the insurance would be forced to pay a $1,000 fine per day, multiplied by the number of refugees served by that agency over the previous five years.

The Rev. Nancy Lambert read the bishop's testimony Feb. 19 to the Legislature's Judiciary Committee. 

"Rather than helping such persons feel welcome in Nebraska, LB 966 place an unsustainable burden on those very agencies that make the transition work well," Bishop Jones said in his prepared remarks. "Christians are under the command of Christ to welcome the stranger as if it was Christ himself (Matthew 15:31-46)."

Bishop Jones has spoken out about the need for United Methodists and Christians throughout the Great Plains Conference to welcome refugees fleeing civil war and famine in Syria and elsewhere. In November, the bishop indicated as many as 35 United Methodist Churches in Kansas and Nebraska stood ready to assist families fleeing the human catastrophe in Syria. Read the story.

The Nebraska bill's sponsor, Sen. Bill Kintner, has said he merely wants to start a discussion on the matter and has asked the committee not to pass the bill on to the full legislature this year.

Here is the full letter admitted as testimony from Bishop Jones.

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