Faith leaders speak out against Supreme Court decision on travel ban

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) joins other faith groups in opposition

by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Calling it a “stain on our country’s moral conscience,” faith leaders are speaking out on the Supreme Court decision upholding President Donald Trump’s travel limit into the U.S from several countries. The ruling restricts entry for travelers coming from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea as well as some travelers from Venezuela.

Shoulder to Shoulder, a coalition of 34 religious denominations and organizations, issued a news release following the ruling. “Targeting people based on their faith is not in keeping with the American ideals that we as American faith communities seek to uphold and advance,” it stated.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is among the faith groups issuing the joint release. The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, director of the church’s Office of Public Witness, called the decision discouraging.

“We are a nation of immigrants which claims values that call us to welcome the immigrant, refugee and alien fleeing persecution and praying for a better life” he said. “Scripture demands that we open the doors of our hearts and our homeland to provide a safe haven for those who seek it. We must continue to say no to hateful and harmful policies which discriminate against families and especially children.”

The ban allows the administration to restrict anyone from the listed countries. Several lower courts have rejected the ban since it was announced in January 2017.

Susan Krehbiel, associate for Refugees and Asylum with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, also opposes the decision.

“As one of the faith communities committed to welcoming refugees from the very countries named in the ban, we know that the Court’s ruling means that families torn apart by violence are now being kept apart by government policy,” she said. “How long must they wait to be reunited?”

Shoulder to Shoulder says the ruling does not speak for faith communities in the U.S.

“We reject exclusionary policies that discriminate on the basis of religion, race, culture, or country of origin, including this Muslim ban,” the group said. “The rights of all faith communities are put in jeopardy when one faith community is attacked, and we will continue to stand alongside our Muslim and refugee neighbors and to work for a country that upholds its own highest ideals.”

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