Presiding Bishop and others call on Trump not to block refugees

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Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Episcopal Migration Ministries director Reverend E. Mark Stevenson have responded to Donald Trump’s directives and proposed directives ordering the building of a wall along the U.S./Mexico border, blocking grants to sanctuary cities and establishing new restrictions on undocumented immigrants and potential immigrants.

From an Episcopal News Service story:

“The work of Episcopal Migration Ministries is God’s work, and we show the face of God through the care and compassion in that work,” Curry said. “I ask President Trump to continue the powerful work of our refugee resettlement program without interruption, recognizing the long wait and screening process that means refugees wait months and sometimes years to enter the country.

“We ask that we continue to accept as many refugees as we have in the past, recognizing the need is greater than ever. We ask that refugees from all countries receive consideration to come to the U.S. and not to ban those who come from countries most in need of our assistance.”

Stevenson:

“Isolating ourselves from the world does not make us safer; it only isolates us,” he said. “Being afraid of those who differ from us does not make us wise, or even prudent; it only traps us in an echo chamber of suspicion and anger, and stops us cold from loving as Christ loved.”

The United States cannot solve the problem of violence in other countries, Stevenson said, but “we can act morally and show leadership” by offering refugees a new life in a safe place. He pledged that EMM will “continue to minister to those who have fled their homes because of persecution, violence or war.”

A webinar planned already by EMM will take place on February 1 (we published that announcement on January 19). The ENS story can be read here.

A release from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service issues a condemnation of Trump’s actions:

“At a time when so many people are fleeing unspeakable violence and persecution to seek refuge in the U.S., today’s decision is a drastic contradiction of what it means to be an American. As the world has its eyes on us, it is imperative that President Trump uphold the values that America has always lived by: compassion, empathy, family, human rights, and protection for those seeking a safe haven from danger and persecution,” said Linda Hartke, LIRS President and CEO.

“As Christians, we do not fear our new neighbors who have fled for their very lives – we embrace them. As people of faith, we are called to love and serve our neighbors – and as a result, our churches, our communities and our nation are stronger,” said Hartke.

We’ll update this post as we are aware of other similar statements.

Photos from Episcopal Migration Ministry

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Philip Snyder
Guest
Philip Snyder

The government has the primary duty to protect the citizens of the USA and ISIS and other terrorist organizations have indicated their willingness to use refugees to smuggle Jihadis into the USA and other Western countries. Refugees have killed people in the name of Islam in countries such as France and Germany.

We also have an obligation to care for the refugees. This is a biblical mandate.

So, I propose a compromise. We let in all women, children under the age of 16, and men over the age of 50. The others we hold, in comfort, until they can be more thoroughly vetted for ties to terrorists organizations. While they are being vetted, and for a period after they come into the country, their electronic communication (phone, email, computer use, etc.) will be monitored to see if they are becoming or are communicating with terrorists.

I believe that this will minimize the risk of terrorists coming into this country while maximizing the number of refugees that we help.

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Anand Gnanadesikan
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Anand Gnanadesikan

Mr. Snyder,

I appreciate that you recognize the Biblical mandate. And if we were dealing with people just washing up on our shores (as is currently happening in Greece) I'd admit you'd have a point.

But in reality your criteria is excluding some of the very people we want to help most- those who worked for US forces in order to try to build a better Iraq and are now living under death threats in their native country.

As well as these folks

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/28/us/syrian-family-trump-travel-ban/?iid=ob_article_organicsidebar_expansion

Moreover, by excluding US green card holders (who are US nationals under law) the current order violates the Constitution and due process.
Which is why it's already been stayed.

-Anand

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Philip B. Spivey
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Philip B. Spivey

I stand in solidarity with our Presiding Bishop, Curry. I don't hold the Bishop responsible for the blasphemous sermons at the National Cathedral and at St. John's; I hold the dean and the rector responsible.

Bishop Curry, like the rest of us, has entered uncharted waters. The coming months and years will involve a very steep learning curve for TEC, and it will test us mightily with this nagging question: "Which side are you on?"

Unfortunately, right-wing Evangelicals, and their political operative offshoots in the municipal, state and federal houses, have drawn swords with no intention forging them into plowshares. Compromise is gone; accommodation is gone; gray is gone; the fix is in. Christ's universal Tent has devolved into beach umbrellas for the very wealthy. Or at least, that's their hope.

The Episcopal Church has nominally stood as the National Church since the beginning. Is that about to change? I would recommend patience with TEC. We are going to face unprecedented pressures to respond, not to the Trump administration---though there's a place for that--- but to the many millions in the United States who will be victims of his regime. This emerging demographic will need the comfort of our theology, the safety of our churches and the knowledge that we will lend a prophetic voice in this new era, that is courageous and strong.

We'll all have to wrap our heads around the fact cozying-up to THIS administration, as the world-wide demonstrations attest---will not play well, even in Kansas.

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Anthony Christiansen
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Anthony Christiansen

I am so disappointed in our church for hosting the prayer service and particularly for allowing Jeffress to preach from the lectern in one of our churches. And now such weak tea as we read in this statement. The world is crying out for prophecy in response to what is occurring. Apparently it won't be coming from TEC. I'm embarrassed.

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Helen Kromm
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Helen Kromm

Probably wasn't such a great idea then to permit a virulent racist, bigot, and homophobic pastor like Robert Jeffress to spout his rhetoric from the lectern of an Episcopal church.

You can put whatever spin you want on that. Sprinkle it with nuance and try mightily to distance yourself from that. But in the end, when the words “You see, God is not against building walls” are spoken from the lectern of one of your churches located in the center of political power, your credibility to speak against this is compromised.

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Paul Woodrum
Guest

Where Trump is concerned, we might as well save our breath to cool our soup. However, petitioning our congressional representatives might make some slight impact.

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