FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2017
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FAITH LEADERS STAND AGAINST SCOTUS RULING ON REFUGEE AND MUSLIM BAN EXECUTIVE ORDER
Call on federal government to live out our call to welcome refugees
Washington, DC – Religious leaders across faith traditions stand in solidarity with refugees and urge the administration to uphold our nation’s values of compassion, hospitality, and welcome. Today, the Supreme Court issued a decision on the refugee and Muslim ban that partially rolls back the injunction in place which prevented the executive order from going into effect. The Court ultimately limited entry of all refugees – as well as travelers from Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and Sudan – to those who have a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity” in the United States.
“The Supreme Court’s decision today does not reflect our nation’s proud legacy of welcome, nor the strong support for refugees among the American people,” said CWS President and CEO Rev. John McCullough. “The United States is committed to resettling the world’s most vulnerable refugees. Enabling any variation of President Trump’s discriminatory refugee and Muslim ban to go into effect—even temporarily—is an imprudent, devastating blow to our fundamental values of justice and humanity. Together, our spirit will never yield to such exclusionary policies.”
“As missionary disciples of Jesus Christ, the Columbans are committed to welcoming the stranger, especially in the face of increasing numbers of migrants and refugees fleeing violence and seeking safety in the United States,” said Scott Wright, Director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach. “Despite the Supreme Court’s decision today, we must continue to oppose policies of the current administration that directly violate the conscience of our religious traditions to welcome those who are in need of refuge, and to uphold the values of our nation to be a beacon for the oppressed. Let justice and mercy, rather than fear and division, be the guiding lights of our relationship to migrants and refugees.”
“We deeply regret that people desperately in need of our help, including children, will be denied assistance because of their faith or country of origin,” said Larry Couch, Director of the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. “This refusal to help refugees is contrary to the American spirit and our values.”
“The American Friends Service Committee opposes the racist and divisive Muslim ban in any form,” said Dina El-Rifai, Policy Fellow at the American Friends Service Committee. “Today’s restrictive Supreme Court order means that Muslims from targeted countries and refugees globally are banned unless they can prove an existing relationship in the U.S. No one should be barred from entering the U.S. or have their rights violated in any way because of their religion or because they are a refugee. We will continue to stand with Muslim and refugee communities in opposing this ban.”
“It is a small comfort that much of Trump’s proposed Muslim and refugee ban is still blocked, as the decision to let a portion remain runs counter to our American and Jewish values to welcome refugees regardless of their religion or country of origin,” said Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO of National Council of Jewish Women.
“The Supreme Court decision to hear the Muslim ban and allow portions of the ban to take effect is a blow to human rights and justice in this country,” said Rev. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. “The United Church of Christ has a long history of supporting refugee resettlement with many of our congregations working to co-sponsor and welcome refugees upon arrival. As the UCC, we believe all people should be welcomed regardless of their country of origin or religious background. Allowing any part of Trump’s Muslim ban to go into effect is an affront on our moral and humanitarian values and we are committed to continued struggle alongside our refugee and immigrant brothers and sisters to stop these discriminatory policies.”
“Discrimination on the basis of national origin or religious tradition is both unjust and un-American,” said Rev. Jim Moos, Co-executive of Global Ministries (Overseas Ministry of United Church of Christ & Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)). “While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court is allowing the partial implementation of the travel ban, we hope that when they review the case in October they will block the implementation of the ban in its entirety. The travel ban was ordered by the president on the basis of national security arguing, for example, that Syrian refugees entering this country pose a terrorist threat. That concern has no basis in fact. Since 1980, not a single American has lost their life due to an act of terrorism committed by a resettled refugee. The travel ban arguably makes us less safe by perpetuating the notion that America is anti-Muslim, thus giving extremists such as ISIS a recruiting tool.”
“The Presbyterian Church (USA) denounces any court decision that discriminates against members of a particular religion or nationality and reaffirms our support for the admissions of refugees into our nation,” said Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Executive Director of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Office of Public Witness. “Knowing that Jesus himself entered this world as a refugee, faithful Presbyterians have been urging the welcome of refugees in the US since the refugee crisis of World War II. The Presbyterian Church is present in many of the countries from which refugees are fleeing, including Syria and Lebanon, where we have been present since 1823. Amidst the largest refugee crisis since World War II, we are deeply concerned about the well-being of our brethren abroad, and are further committed to welcoming them. We ask for the Supreme Court to hear our calls for compassion and justice. Closing our doors to those who are fleeing desperate situations because of fear is not acceptable. We implore our government to take leadership and stand with thousands of people of faith who are choosing welcome and resisting hatred at this important time in our nation’s history.”
“Disciples are a faith movement committed to fulfilling our biblical call to show hospitality to the stranger and treat ‘the foreigner who resides with you…as the native born among you’ (Leviticus 19:34), said Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). “Today’s Supreme Court decision only allows refugees with a ‘bona-fide relationship’ to the U.S. to enter. Our scripture and faith values relate us closely and deeply with refugees and immigrants. With more refugees in the world than ever before, now more than ever I remain steadfast that refugees should not be denied entrance based upon national or religious exclusion. Refugees should be welcomed generously in numbers of at least 75,000 this year and next. Our ministries re-affirm the robust security vetting processes for refugees that make the refugees we welcome the most securely examined of all entrants into the United States. Many are refugees whose communities we already have worked with internationally through Global Ministry partnerships to offer relief and care. As has been true throughout decades in the public-private partnership of refugee resettlement, many of our congregations stand ready to enthusiastically offer our hearts and hospitality to new refugee neighbors whom we recognize as some of the most vulnerable persons in the world; already violently forced to flee their homes and often separated from family members for many years. Indeed, our decades of welcoming have taught us how America is at our best when we reject exclusionary practices, help those in need, and build mercy and compassion adequate to overcome barriers and blocks.”
“As partners who joined through Disciples Home Missions in interfaith Amicus briefs filed in opposition to the Executive Orders banning travel by nationals of a number of predominantly Muslim countries and banning and limiting other refugees to the U.S. during the current year, we are thankful in measure that the Supreme Court today held in place the opportunity for some refugees to continue to enter the United States,” said Rev. Dr. Ronald J. Degges, Disciples Home Missions President. “However, we are deeply disturbed by how the Supreme Court’s decision likewise allows for a four-month suspension of refugee resettlement, and continues to deny the opportunity for most refugees–who do not have already existing formal entity or close personal relationships–to be offered the security and welcome needed to stabilize their lives. We should not penalize refugees for the trauma that has broken apart their lives and linkages.”
“The Supreme Court’s ruling today to allow President Trump’s Refugee and Muslim Ban to stand in some cases, temporarily, is deeply disturbing to Maryknoll Missioners,” said Gerry Lee, Director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. “The travel ban undermines fundamental values of the United States as a place of refuge and hope, and clashes with core values of our faith. As Pope Francis has said: ‘refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women, and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes.’ Whether temporary or not, this ban of refugees from six predominantly Muslim countries is morally repugnant, and we will continue to stand with people of all faiths who welcome these refugees and oppose this mistaken policy.”