New York Times
By Laurie Goodstein
March 2, 2017
The fight against President Trump’s executive orders to turn away refugees, deport undocumented immigrants and build a wall along the Mexican border is about to escalate in many American churches.
A broad network of 37 Protestant and Orthodox Christian denominations will announce on Friday a campaign to mobilize its congregants — some 30 million Americans in all — to lobby the president and members of Congress to rescind the executive orders.
In a declaration hammered out over the last month, church leaders call the orders “unjust and immoral” and say they run counter to “the values we as people of faith hold dear: to welcome the stranger and assist those most in need.”
“It is imperative that we speak out against the notion that refugees are a threat to our safety,” the declaration adds. “They are not.”
The president’s Jan. 27 executive order, which he called necessary for national security, barred people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the country for 90 days, stopped refugee admissions for 120 days and banned refugees from Syria indefinitely. The White House is expected to issue a revised order very soon.
American Christians have been divided over Mr. Trump’s order, according to a poll released last month by the Pew Research Center. White evangelical Protestants supported the order by more than three to one, the poll showed, while white mainline Protestants supported it by a slim margin (50 to 47 percent), and three in five Catholics opposed it.
The new campaign is being organized by the Orthodox and mainline Protestant churches affiliated with the National Council of Churches and Church World Service, a charity that resettles refugees.
It calls on congregants and pastors to appeal to their elected officials, sign poster-size copies of the declaration displayed in their houses of worship, dedicate one Sunday in the next three months to honor refugees and immigrants, and raise $1 million to support them.
Hundreds of churches and synagogues across the country have already offered to provide sanctuary or other support to undocumented immigrants in fear of deportation.
And other faith-based resettlement agencies have spoken out against the refugee and travel ban, including World Relief, an evangelical agency; HIAS, a Jewish group; and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The president’s executive order gave preference to refugees who are Christians and other religious minorities, but the declaration opposes that move, saying it “actually places them at greater risk in some countries.”
“This is so counterproductive,” said Erol Kekic, executive director of the immigration and refugee program at Church World Service. “It makes Christians and minorities in those countries an even bigger target, because the perception is already that they receive preferential treatment. And singling them out even more would probably not help.”
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com