On Monday, Sept. 28, Rev. Ron Degges, president of Disciples Home Missions, spoke at a faith leaders press conference on Syrian refugees. In his comments, Degges noted Disciples’ historic faith commitments to acceptance of the world’s most vulnerable, despite their religious backgrounds. Here are excerpts from his planned statement:
I am grateful to be a part of a faith tradition that has spoken again and again—over the years through denominational resolutions, in recent months in a letter to the President, and just weeks ago as a national interfaith team of religious leaders–of our key faith value of welcoming the stranger despite religious or cultural background. We must welcome without exclusion, because we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Welcoming refugees who are our world’s most vulnerable to this land of the free should never require a religious litmus test to step onto our shores. Rather, we must counter anti-Muslim sentiment at every turn—allowing us to offer protection to Syrian refugees.
By so doing, we will welcome opportunities for relationship with hard working doctors, lawyers, teachers, business owners, coaches, pastors, imams. And we can know that each one to whom we offer our hands–after years of suffering–is grateful for life, and ready to pour potential into our communities, to be ambassadors of the American Dream, and to help us live out our principles of equal opportunity, religious freedom, and liberty and justice for all.