Following U.S. President Trump’s executive order on immigration, which suspends the entire USA refugee admissions system for 120 days, suspends the Syrian refugee program indefinitely; and bans entry of refugees from 7 majority-Muslim countries for 90 days, (for more detail see: www.theguardian.com), Christian leaders have issued statements condemning the executive order.
Bishops John F. White (President of the council of Bishops), and Bishop McKinley Young (Senior Bishop) of the African Methodist Episcopal Church issued a statement on behalf of the Council of Bishops which tackled several of the contentious executive orders made recently by President. Their statement on the travel ban included:
The Travel Ban, which despite what President Trump says, is in actuality a “Muslim Ban”. This ban is discriminatory against one of the world’s great religions, increases support for terrorist organizations who target the US, and endangers US national security. This Travel Ban has divided and polarized even more the American people, and has undermined US relationships with our closest allies.
The statement goes on to say:
We want all of our clergy and laity to know where the Council of Bishops stands as it relates to the present views and policy positions of the Trump Administration. Not only do we want our denomination to know where its leadership stands, but we also ask our clergy and laity to join with us in action. We must do more than talk and write, we must act. Again, the Apostle says that “we wrestle”, not just talk, with spiritual wickedness.
The bishops then issued a challenge to all Social Action Committees to set up a meeting with their respective congressional delegation. The full statement can be found at www.ame-church.com.
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, issued a statement at a press conference on 30th of January:
The very soul of our country is at stake. When we abandon strangers who are at risk of bigotry, xenophobia and violence we not only destroy their hope, we destroy our own souls. When we fail to assist the refugees fleeing danger, we not only place them in harm’s way, we do harm to our own souls. When we build walls of concrete, or walls of divisive rhetoric, or walls of fear, or walls of immoral immigration policies, we build a wall around our own souls.
Christ calls us to tear down the walls around our souls that we might live fully and abundantly. Thus, I call on the Trump administration and the U.S. Congress to rescind the harmful executive orders and save the soul of our country. I call upon the people of The United Methodist Church to see the face of Christ in the refugee. Say “no” to the walling off of our country and our hearts and say “yes” to their hope – our hope – for new life. Let us unite and work together to bring the soul of this country to a living birth!
The full statement can be found at www.umc.org.
The Rev. Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, a partnership of some 38 U.S. churches and denominations, drew on the example of Christianity’s Holy Family.
“By effectively preventing the entrance of refugees into this country, President Trump is establishing a policy that would have kept Joseph, Mary and Jesus from entering our nation,” Winkler said.
Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, the general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church stated:
As followers of Jesus, we reject in the strongest terms efforts to halt refugee resettlement or impose a religious test for those facing forced migration. United Methodists around the world are loving their neighbors by welcoming refugees into their congregations and communities. We pray and ask that our political leaders and policy makers follow their lead and compassionately welcome those in need.
The House of Commons of the British Parliament has just approved the legislation for the triggering of ‘article 50’ that will initiate the negotiations for the UK to leave the European Union. The so called BREXIT campaign for the referendum that result on the decision to leave the EU was run, in particular, on the fear and hate of immigrants.
The Joint Public Issues Team that speaks on behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain and other denominations in the UK issued a statement at the time. This can be read at http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/after-the-referendum-a-recommitment-to-the-common-good/.
The text concludes with a prayer:
God of every nation and people,
At this historic moment we pray for all who are affected by the decision that has been made.
Whatever differences this has revealed within our own society,
may they not eclipse what we have in common.
Where the narratives of political debate have caused harm and division
help us to reclaim the true values of our shared humanity.
Where exaggeration and distortion have generated suspicion and fear
may truth and honesty restore hope and goodness.
We pray for all the nations of Europe
that you will help us to find ways of living and working together
to pursue the mercy and justice that you require.
We recommit ourselves – together – to the values of your eternal Kingdom
and pray that along with all people
we might help your world become more as you intended. AMEN
Surely that ought to be also the prayer of those engaged in building inter-religious relationships that a more compassionate world be brought about. As Methodist People let us live out the love of God in Christ to all.