We agree with President Trump’s stated motivation for his recent Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”
National security has to be one of the main priorities of the President. We in Peace Catalyst International (PCI) stand with his desire to keep terrorists out. We pray that he will discern the most effective screening processes to vet violent extremists.
Having said that, we are deeply troubled by the negative impact this Executive Order has on refugees and Muslims. Many news outlets remind us that it is only a suspension for 120 days. But the negative ripple effect of this Order will go far beyond the 120 days. We in PCI work directly with refugees and have seen firsthand the hardships imposed on those fleeing conflict zones and seeking a better life in this great country.
We face one of the worst migration crises of our generation. Thus, we think it is tragic and wrong that President Trump is only allowing 50,000 refugees into the US in 2017 (down from the 110,000 that were supposed to be resettled).
To make America great again, we must live up to the inscription on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Now is the time to demonstrate great compassion by welcoming more refugees into our country, not fewer.
We urge the President to expand the refugee settlement program!
We do not have to choose between national security and compassionate embrace of the refugee. Our great nation can and must continue to be pro-refugee and pro-security. We can welcome the refugee and keep our country safe. This is what great countries do!
We make this statement as U.S. citizens and as followers of Jesus. As followers of Jesus we are commanded to love refugees as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34). Thus, we joyfully affirm the statement of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), an association representing more than 45,000 local churches from nearly 40 different denominations, serving a constituency of millions:
The NAE urges President Trump to continue the U.S. refugee resettlement program… “Christians and churches have been welcoming refugees for 2,000 years, and evangelicals are committed to continue this biblical mission. Thousands of U.S. evangelicals and their churches have welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees over the past 40 years through World Relief and other federally approved resettlement agencies. We don’t want to stop now.”
– NAE President Leith Anderson
We are also deeply disturbed about the potential implications of this Executive Order on our Muslim friends and neighbors. Yes, the President only closed the doors to seven Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia), so it is not a formal ban on all Muslims. But, in light of the strong anti-Muslim rhetoric throughout his campaign, we can’t help but see this as religious discrimination.
PCI will stand with our Muslim sisters and brothers and protect their constitutional right of religious freedom. We call on Americans, and especially Christians, to love their Muslim neighbors and to obey the Golden Rule in their relationships with Muslims: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
Mainstream devout Muslims are our allies in countering radical Islamists. The vast majority of people killed by ISIS and other terrorist groups are Muslims. And the vast majority of Muslim leaders around the world have condemned ISIS and terrorism. American Muslims have often helped prevent terrorist attacks. So a wise national security policy involves partnering with Muslims against extremists.
Our great nation can and must continue to be pro-refugee, pro-security and pro-religious freedom. We can welcome the refugee and keep our country safe and uphold religious freedom. We must do all three if we want to make America great and be a model of freedom for the rest of the world.
If you agree with this statement, here are five action items we recommend:
1. Pray that God would guide President Trump and his administration so that we can live in peace (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
2. Write your representatives using some of the language of this statement (find your Federal, State, and local elected officials).
3. Listen Get personal and practical by visiting refugees or a mosque in your area and listen to their stories.
4. Serve Connect with a PCI representative or find a refugee settlement program near you.
5. Give to PCI or a refugee program near you.