Several days after President Trump issued an executive order on Friday indefinitely suspending the entry of refugees from Syria, leaders from several evangelical organizations sent a letter to the president and vice president on Sunday, requesting that they reconsider the executive order.
The letter was signed by eight groups, including the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Korean Churches for Community Development, National Association of Evangelicals, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, The Wesleyan Church, World Relief, and World Vision US.
“As evangelical Christians, we are guided by the Bible to be particularly concerned for the plight of refugees, individuals who have been forced to flee their countries because of threat of persecution,” the letter reads.
“Evangelical churches and ministries have long played a key role in welcoming, resettling, and assisting in the integration of refugees from various parts of the world. As such, we are troubled by the recent executive order temporarily halting refugee resettlement and dramatically reducing the number of refugees who could be considered for resettlement to the U.S.,” it continues.
The groups also state in the letter that receiving refugees also provides a “vital opportunity” for churches to practice the commands in the Bible to love and show hospitality.
“We would ask that you reconsider these decisions, allowing for resettlement of refugees to resume immediately so that our churches and ministries can continue to live out our faith in this way,” the letter says.
Hyepin Im, the president of Korean Churches for Community Development, said in a separate statement that the executive order puts “our country at greater risk by alienating allies and giving ammunition to terrorists who will use it to support their hate messages and activities.”
“As immigrants and as Christians, we stand with our refugee brothers and sisters from all walks of faith and nationality to keep families together,” she added. “We call upon the President for change of policy and change of heart.”
Other evangelical leaders have spoken out against the executive order as well.
On Monday, the Washington Post published a copy of a letter to the president written by Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He wrote that the Southern Baptist Convention is “deeply concerned that the order will cause widespread diplomatic fallout with the Muslim world, putting Southern Baptists serving in these countries in grave danger and preventing them from serving refugees and others who are in need with humanitarian assistance and the love of the gospel.”
“Achieving the right balance between compassion toward refugees — one of the most vulnerable groups of people among us — and protection of Americans is crucial if the United States is to remain a model for freedom around the world,” Moore said.
In an article for Christianity Today, executive director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism Ed Stetzer expressed concern about the executive order, calling it “misguided in its understanding of fact and our reality as one global community.” He called on Christians to “live pro-life … from conception to death, and every moment in between. Pro-people — pro-refugee, pro-homeless, pro-exile.”
Meanwhile, this particular executive order has been partially blocked by a federal judge, who issued an emergency stay on Saturday, ruling that without the stay, “there is imminent danger that … there will be substantial and irreparable injury to the refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations subject to” the executive order.
In response, the White House said that the ruling does “not undercut the President’s executive order.”
“All stopped visas will remain stopped. All halted admissions will remain halted. All restricted travel will remain prohibited. The executive order is a vital action toward strengthening America’s borders, and therefore sovereignty. The order remains in place,” a White House spokesperson said.