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500 prominent evangelicals take out full-page ad supporting refugees

Screen grab via worldrelief.org
Screen grab via worldrelief.org

(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.

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About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

39 Comments

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  • Where were the ‘evangelicals’ when 20,000 refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea under the Obama administration, or when Obama destroyed Libya, Syria and Yemen, sending those nations back to the stone age, killing over one-million Muslims and Christians, which caused the massive refugee outflows to Europe and the United States? Where are the religious denominations’ voices to the chaos the West is causing throughout the world, which is destroying the West’s influence in the world, allowing Soviet Russia to step into the vacuum the West has created, playing the new policeman of the world.

  • Yes, and people calling themselves “evangelicals” promote homosexuality also.
    Trump is attempting to protect his country.

  • And protecting (his/American) business interests in other Muslim majority countries while catering to alternative facts.

  • If that’s what he receives for protecting his country, more power to him. He may be appearing more marketable in not endorsing hatefulness.

  • I he granted you forgiveness for every rotten thought you had about him, Linda, you still wouldn’t like him – at least be honest.

  • I say good for them. Maybe more will stand up. So these are false Evangelicals because they support refugees? You don’t know the hearts of any of these signers and yet you appear to judge them?

  • Your post is full of emotion but short of facts. The number of Muslim refugees has increased significantly since 2013. The majority of immigrants going into Europe were economic immigrants. That said, we are obligated to accept more refugees from the countries where we have conducted military operations.

  • “The majority of immigrants going into Europe were economic immigrants”

    I’m referencing the 20,000 Muslims/Christians who have drowned in the Mediterranean due to the Marxist operations carried out in North Africa and the Middle East, per Karl Marx’s directive to destroy all religions.

  • Sandi, it’s time for you to study your Bible and understand what the Christian and Jewish responsibility toward the stranger is. You seem more godless than righteous.

  • I also know that the Lord put Israel into Jerusalem – a walled city – to protect them from enemies.

  • Matthew 7:15-20English Standard Version (ESV)

    A Tree and Its Fruit

    15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

    I wonder how they’ll feel the next time an ISIS wanna-be strikes the US – oops, sorry pres you were right.

  • Sandi quotes Matthew 7 starting at verse 15 but oddly enough it begins with exactly your thought. “Stop judging, so that you won’t be judged, because the way that you judge others will be the way that you will be judged, and you will be evaluated by the standard with which you evaluate others.”

  • He has yet to do anything to be admired for. I would like him to turn out to be at least a half-way decent president who at the very least does not leave the US worse off.

  • What again no one is addressing is that refugees are not the issue exclusively, but that is what they want you to believe. Can people not understand what is going on here. This is not about refugees, this is not about people living in danger coming here or anywhere else for safety, this is about the same old routine of labeling everything our president does as evil. Then when people get a whiff of something they can remotely bend and twist into something to reinforce this they do it to the hilt.

    No one is denying refugees, no one is saying that the USA is excluding immigrants, what the ban was for, that people are glossing over, is that

    A) it is temporary
    B) it is to get a handle on who is coming into this country
    C) it is to reevaluate and reconfigure our vetting process
    D) those countries on the list are known countries where anti-American terrorist are known to reside.
    E) there are plenty of Muslim countries that are NOT on the list

    However, what people want you to believe is that by not allowing anyone and everyone at anytime to come into the country the USA has turned into an anti-immigrant/refugee country. Nothing can be further from the truth. People are being emotionally blackmailed into thinking the worse of a policy because of who it is coming from, and is nothing but fodder for those whose sole purpose is to sabotage Trump’s presidency.

    Could it have been done better, yes it could have. However, this whole outrageous response just goes to show that many in this country are incapable of understanding reality. When you get down to the basics of this ban, what does it really do? It inconveniences people but since when does that constitute such an outlandish response. It’s because people are being manipulated and they cannot see it.

  • Why should we believe them on A-C if the order was carried out so haphazardly? The more likely answer is exactly what the ban opponents have been saying: Trump wanted to ban as many Muslims as possible and this gave him a facially legitimate way to do it. You’re right, the US has not turned into an anti-immigrant, anti-refugee country, but that’s because people are standing up and saying the ban is wrong.

  • “This is not about refugees, this is not about people living in danger coming here or anywhere else for safety”

    Really? Because by definition refugees are people living in danger who are trying to come here. People Trump pretty much wants dead or out of sight.

    The real answer is F. The president is testing the limits of his power and what kind of resistance he could face in the most maliciously pandering way possible.

    A. A temporary violation of federal law and constitutional principles is still a violation of them.

    B. Bullshit. In order to come to the US from those 7 countries you needed a visa first anyways. It’s not like tourists can come and go to those places at will. We know who they are already. They were already cleared in our system.

    C. Bullshit again. These were people already vetted in our system. Some very extensively. At no point have any defenders of the act demonstrated what is done in the vetting process in the first place. Let alone what needs to be changed. It is an argument from emphatic ignorance.

    D. So is all of Western Europe. Those countries were chosen due to lack of full fledged diplomatic ties. Unlike terror sponsors Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

    E. See D. Those other countries have diplomatic, economic and military time to the US. This was merely a token gesture to test the limits of power and pander to anti Muslim bigotry in the least damaging way he found get away with.

  • We call them moral people who have actual values. No wonder you despise them so much.

    Trump is doing more damage to this country in one week then a terror campaign can do in a year. For someone who makes a big deal about Islamicist terror, you are becoming a great asset to them.

    BTW ISIS loves Trump. You love Trump. Therefore you love ISIS.

  • Bravo Balloonknot9! Thanks for writing so clearly on what Trump’s 90-day halt to receiving visitors and refugees from seven dangerous countries is and is not. It’s all about finding a better way to vet those who wish to come here in a way that keeps out the terrorists and gihadis who want to come here and kill Americans.
    My prediction is that we will someday suffer another mass slaughter of Americans by terrorists who came here under Barak Obama’s lax standards, but Obama will never be blamed for it. All the Historians writing about Obama’s presidency will extoll his greatness and blame his glaring errors of judgment on somebody else!

  • There are certain words the president uses because they are effective, not because they are what he believes. He says them all the time. “Best, extreme, tremendous, disaster,” and more. His followers respond to those words in a Pavlovian way and so the president uses them. He explains all that in _The Art of the Deal_.

    “Extreme vetting” is just one of those lines. The vetting currently being done is exhaustive already. Here is a link to an authoritative article that describes the system used under President Obama:
    https://goo.gl/ioxj4O

  • Radical Islamic terrorists want a holy war. Trump is feeding into that. Hezbollah called Trump an idiot that is actually helping them. ISIS said Trump is helping them too. Any perception of hate or discrimination against Muslims (such as the ban) feeds into the beliefs of these terrorist groups allowing them to recruit more people. That is what makes us less safe despite the travel/refugee ban. Besides, real terrorists will find other ways into the country and cause us harm (e.g. fake passports from European countries).

    Furthermore, the refugees already go through a 18 month vetting process. They are the most vetted group of all coming into the country.

    Terrorism is a fact of the world/life. You won’t get rid of it. You just have to minimize it. Trump’s plan doesn’t do that. My two cents.

  • We know next to nothing of the people “being vetted” currently … even President Obama and Hillary Clinton admitted as much. I do not believe we are required to commit suicide by admitting terrorists into our country. When I see what is going on in Europe, even though their press is restricted in what they can show, it is clear that thousands upon thousands of young men crossing over borders without children or wives give us pause.

    The president set up a TEMPORARY BAN until we can improve the “vetting”. (1) I do not see a sin or a crime in that; (2) finding a SAFE place for people in their own country has to be preferable … I know I wouldn’t want to move into a strange new culture that is totally incompatible with mine. The purpose of the Jihadists is to destroy Judaism and Christianity (through converting or killing the believers). Singling out the Jihadists seems to make sense. At that point, we can safety help.

    On a more secular note … the No. 1 job of any president is to protect his citizenry from harm. I, for one, pray that he will be successful in that goal. And I pray that men (and women) of good will are made safe.

  • It breaks my heart that so many “Christians” claim that we “all worship the same god”. The Bible is clear … there is one God, and His first Commandment tells us “Thou shalt have no false gods before Me.” There are Billboards (sponsored by Muslims and some of their Evangelical friends) that state “Abraham, Moses and Jesus” are the same in both religions. That’s a lie straight out of Hell. The Quran states that Jesus will, in fact, return as a Muslim, and will kill anyone who believes that He is the Son of God … i.e., he will kill any Christian who will not convert to Islam.

    I still don’t have a problem with taking refugees after they have been ADEQUATELY vetted. As for the rest of you, I’ll pray for you. There are none so blind as he who will not see.

  • Sadly, many people have a problem with this, but the fact that the Clintons and the Obamas have made (and are making) a fortune as a direct result of their connections made during their White House days. And it little to do with a paltry $400K salary (which, by the way, Trump doesn’t take). But these naysayers know better and continue to follow the false prophets. Sad.

  • Well, he’s been president for 3 whole weeks … while fighting off an EXTREMELY antagonistic press corps, fighting off immigrant haters who resent his wife, feminists who hate his successful daughter, the attack of Hollywood “females” who accuse him of vile thoughts about his own daughter, attacks by ADULTS on his 10-year old son … what HAS he been doing? (Only accomplishing more than any president in recent history) He’s picked excellent cabinet members, an awesome Supreme Court justice nominee, a law-abiding Attorney General nominee (nice change), an education secretary who will hopefully moderate the anti-Christian atmosphere in schools, proposed, among other things, a cut of funding for Planned Parenthood (yes, I know, many Evangelicals are fans of Planned Parenthood) …

  • You’re right, we have to take what the terrorist groups say with a grain of salt. But the same goes with Trump.

    Whether anyone is being truthful doesn’t take away the fact that hate breeds hate. And that is what discriminatory practices feeds into.

  • Use the trillions of dollars instead to rebuild communities in their own country. Even more people – Christian or not -would support that! We have enough poverty in the USA!

  • Thank you for explaining my unthinking, Pavlovian response to the President’s words. I’m always grateful for my intelligent, thoughtful friends on the left who are immune to group-think and Pavlovian behaviour to expose the truth and make me see how dumb I am.

  • And you seem more judgemental than understanding. It’s time for you to study your Bible and read how much of it was about a nation protecting itself from ungodly neighbours.

  • So I can assume there’s at least 500 extra homes that are prepared to feed, clothe & shelter these refugees – or is that going to be ‘the governments’ responsibility? They can start by personally hosting 500 of the hundreds of thousands of ‘refugees’ we’ve allowed to flood into Europe – that’s worked out well.

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