Columnist’s attack on LIRS mean-spirited, inaccurate

DEAR EDITOR:

The vicious attack by Michelle Malkin on the organization Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, or LIRS, in her opinion column published July 9 in the Tribune Chronicle should not go unchallenged. Her article is full of distortions of fact and egregious untruths. LIRS began after World War II as a way to resettle refugees and asylum seekers from war-torn Europe. It has continued its good work bringing in refugees and asylum seekers fleeing war-torn and violent areas over the years. Most refugees are sponsored and / or supported by churches or other groups. If Ms. Malkin wants to equate long-standing asylum policy and compassion with “open borders,” she is badly mistaken. LIRS is an established, faith-based organization that has been one of the federal government’s partners for years in resettling refugees.

LIRS is, of course, aware that its activities fly in the face of certain policies of the current administration.

Christians in general and Lutherans in particular always have held that unjust laws that oppress and dehumanize people should not be obeyed. Conscience, guided by the tenets of the faith, is the supreme authority. LIRS, like any human organization, has its flaws and faced some allegations of mismanagement a few years ago, as Ms. Malkin mentions. LIRS is now pressing forward under new leadership and continues its good work partnered with many other organizations, some of which Ms. Malkin lists. Among them, the few Lutheran congregations she mentions are only a fraction of the many supporting LIRS’s work across the nation.

I understand the Tribune Chronicle seeks, in fairness, to feature several points of view in its editorial pages. I firmly defend the right of free speech. Having followed Michelle Malkin’s columns for some time, I find her to be the purveyor of extremely slanted and downright false information. Her lack of compassion and mean-spirited screeds will not serve to bring us together and are really of help to no one.

THE REV. EUGENE A. KOENE

Newton Falls

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