(RNS) More than 500 prominent evangelical Christians from every state have signed on to a letter addressed to President Trump and Vice President Pence, expressing their support for refugees.
The "Still We Stand" petition, coordinated by World Relief, ran Wednesday (Feb. 8) as a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post. It reads in part:
We live in a dangerous world and affirm the crucial role of government in protecting us from harm and in setting the terms on refugee admissions. However, compassion and security can coexist, as they have for decades.
Christians are called to love their neighbors as themselves, and that includes "the stranger and anyone fleeing persecution and violence," according to the letter. And ministries like World Relief, one of nine agencies authorized by the U.S. State Department to resettle refugees, want to welcome "many thousands more people than would be allowed under the new executive order."
That order, which a federal judge has since suspended, temporarily banned travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries. It also indefinitely banned Syrian refugees and more than halved the number of refugees the United States will accept.
In a conference call Thursday, World Relief President Scott Arbeiter said the intent of the letter "was not to be political. It was to be pastoral."
Signers include Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago and his wife Lynne Hybels, who has written about her work with refugees; Pastor Eugene Cho of Quest Church in Seattle; and New York Times bestselling author Ann Voskamp, whose family has sponsored a Syrian refugee family in Canada.
More than 3,500 others had added their signatures as of Thursday afternoon on World Relief's website, where the letter has been published in full.