The Religious Community Extends Welcome to Immigrants
This page compiles statements in support of immigrants and refugees from religious organizations in Southwest Pennsylvania and nationally. If you are aware of other statements that might be included on this page, please contact Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania.
Interfaith Immigration Coalition
As religious leaders from a variety of backgrounds, we are called by our sacred texts and faith traditions to love our neighbor, accompany the vulnerable, and welcome the sojourner. War, conflict and persecution have forced people to leave their homes, creating more refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people than at any other time in history. More than 65 million people are currently displaced – the largest number in recorded history. This nation has an urgent moral responsibility to receive refugees and asylum seekers who are in dire need of safety.
Even if the intent of the Executive Order is to protect our citizens from terrorist attacks, we strongly oppose any actions that lead to discrimination against certain groups just because of their ethnicity or faith. We should remind ourselves that all people deserve to be respected and treated equally under the law. Each faith group should encourage and promote peace and harmony based on its beliefs and principles, and help create a better nation that we can be proud of.
As an infant, Jesus and his family fled their homeland in search of safety. Today, as we watch millions of people escaping war, persecution, and despair in the Middle East and Northern Africa, we recognize our Lord and Savior in their plight. Our faith compels us to meet human needs and to respond with compassion to those who suffer, regardless of their faith or background.
National Council of Churches: Targeting Refugees is a “Fool’s Errand”
The president has stated his preference to come to the aid of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. The National Council of Churches, too, is deeply concerned about the plight of Christians and other religious minorities in war-torn regions. Our Christian sisters and brothers have been deeply impacted by anti-Christian persecution in Syria, Iraq, and other countries. Nevertheless, placing a religious test upon those fleeing persecution is un-American.
Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty: BJC says Executive Order is ‘back-door bar’ on Muslim refugees, our country is ‘better than this’
Today’s action is a back-door bar on Muslim refugees, telling an entire faith group that they are not welcome on our shores. Any attempt to ban Muslim refugees based on their religion betrays our values and sends the un-American message that there are second-class faiths. Our country, founded by immigrants who established religious freedom as a bedrock principle, is better than this. A threat to anyone’s religious liberty is a threat to everyone’s religious liberty, and we as Baptists stand with those facing religious persecution around the world, regardless of their faith.
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Our faith communities remain ready to serve as historic welcoming partners with the U.S. government to embrace vulnerable refugees of multiple ethnic and faith backgrounds in need of safety and healing in this land. As we ‘do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,’ we are likely to find our own communities strengthened by the gifts and courage brought by refugees—and may indeed, as our scriptures remind us, find we have ‘entertained angels without knowing it.’” (Hebrews 13:2)
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,” states the letter. “While we are eager to welcome persecuted Christians, we also welcome vulnerable Muslims and people of other faiths or no faith at all. This executive order dramatically reduces the overall number of refugees allowed this year, robbing families of hope and a future.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: ELCA presiding bishop addresses President Trump’s refugee executive order
The Bible calls us to welcome the stranger and treat the sojourner as we would our own citizens. I agree with the importance of keeping our country secure as the administration stated in its executive order last Friday, but I am convinced that temporarily banning vulnerable refugees will not enhance our safety nor does it reflect our values as Christians. Instead, it will cause immediate harm by separating families, disrupting lives, and denying safety and hope to brothers and sisters who are already suffering.
African Methodist Episcopal Church: Council of Bishops Response to President Trump’s Actions
The Travel Ban, which despite what President Trump says, is in actuality a “Muslim Ban”. This ban is discriminatory against one of the world’s great religions, increases support for terrorist organizations who target the US, and endangers US national security. This Travel Ban has divided and polarized even more the American people, and has undermined US relationships with our closest allies.
United Methodist Church: Northeast Jurisdiction Bishops Address Actions Affecting Refugees, Immigrants
We write you today, the people that we serve in the northeastern section of our country, urging you to embrace the gospel message of providing rest for all who are weary in the midst of a land that has begun to build walls of division and discord. In response to Executive Orders from the President, it is our hope that you will once again embrace the mandate from Jesus to be in ministry to the least, the last, and the lost among us.
United Methodist Church: Bishop Ough issues statement on Trump immigration order
It is not surprising that Judaism, Christianity and Islam teach the reign of God as a banquet to which all peoples are invited. We are to welcome the sojourner, love our neighbor and stand with the most vulnerable among us. These very values from our sacred texts and faith traditions are currently reflected in the mandate of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and must not be usurped by any executive order.
United Methodist Church: Social Justice Agency of The United Methodist Church Stands With Immigrants and Refugees
“Immigrants and refugees sit in our pews and are behind the pulpit. United Methodists around the world are loving their neighbors by welcoming refugees and immigrants into their congregations and communities,” Henry-Crowe continued. “We call on our political leaders and policy makers to follow their lead and compassionately welcome our sisters and brothers.”
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America: Statement on the Reception of Refugees in the United States
We must us not be guided by fear or bigotry, but rather let us work to heal the wounds of the injured, clothing the naked and feeding the poor as our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ has taught us (Matthew 25:35-36).
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese: Statement from His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America
As Greek Orthodox Christians and as Americans, we express our sadness and pain for our brothers and sisters all over the world who find themselves in tragic circumstances of hostility, violence and war, where families have been torn apart, displaced and where people are denied basic human rights.
Following the example of Christ, we are called to offer unconditional love to our fellow men while starting immediately to pray for them. In our great country, which has historically and practically welcomed people of every nation, tribe, and tongue, we have the distinct privilege and honor to offer philoxenia – love of the stranger – to humans from all walks of life.
Presbyterians chose welcome after World War II when we, as a denomination, demanded that the U.S. allow more refugees to enter then. We chose welcome when our very congregations served as the host sites to refugees in the years before resettlement agencies. And, Presbyterians choose welcome now as we co-sponsor families resettling to the U.S. from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Burma, Bhutan, and other countries. With every choice of welcome we enter into relationship with people who become neighbors, friends, and family.
Diocese of Pittsburgh: Bishop Zubik's Statement Supporting Immigration
To those living in fear, I want you to know that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, the Church of Pittsburgh, and I support you. You have our prayers and our pledge to stand with you, whether you are of our faith, of a different faith or of no faith at all.
Diocese of Greensburg: Bishop Malesic’s Letter on Welcoming the Stranger
The issue of welcoming refugees while protecting our borders is a complicated one, as is indicated by the strong differences of opinion about it in our country today. As followers of the teachings of Jesus, we must continually bring the light of his Gospel to our discussions surrounding this and other difficult, complex matters. Balancing the reasonable and appropriate measures we need to take to ensure the safety of our citizens while at the same time fulfilling the Gospel mandate to extend our compassion to others may not always be easy or simple; but, it is both necessary and obtainable when people of good will work together.
Welcoming the stranger and those in flight is not one option among many in the Christian life. It is the very form of Christianity itself. Our actions must remind people of Jesus. The actions of our government must remind people of basic humanity. Where our brothers and sisters suffer rejection and abandonment we will lift our voice on their behalf. We will welcome them and receive them. They are Jesus and the Church will not turn away from Him.
United Church of Christ
Mr. Trump wants to make America great again. Good. Someone should remind him that Liberty stretches her arms out in New York harbor to receive those whom other nations have cast aside. Her lamp shines as a beacon of hope and inspiration to those who seek freedom from tyranny and oppression. Those arms will sag now under the burden of his imposed ban on the world’s most vulnerable souls. Her lamp will dim and go out if he does not reconsider his action. Trump’s ban on refugees displays a xenophobia, fear, and paranoia that cannot become the lenses through which our foreign policy gets negotiated.
Hindu American Foundation: HAF Concerned by Legality & Implementation of Immigration Executive Order
The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) expressed concern today over the practical and legal implications of the recent executive order affecting immigration policy and its detrimental impact on refugees and legal immigrants. HAF’s legal team stated that while the Foundation understood the Trump Administration’s desire for diligent and extensive vetting of people entering the US from the nations that the Obama Administration identified as being potential sources of terrorist threats, even a temporary ban on the entry of all refugees, as well as those individuals already holding valid immigrant or nonimmigrant visas from these seven Middle Eastern and North African countries risked harm to innocent people.
Council on American-Islamic Relations: CAIR Issues Statement on Trump’s Planned ‘Muslim Ban’ Executive Orders
"These orders are a disturbing confirmation of Islamophobic and un-American policy proposals made during the presidential election campaign.” "Never before in our country's history have we purposely - as a matter of policy - imposed a ban on immigrants or refugees on the basis of religion, or imposed a religious litmus test on those coming to this nation.”
Muslim Public Affairs Council: Help stop the Muslim ban permanently!
This is the first step towards a religious litmus test. Fear-based politics fracture our society and hinder our ability to create solutions that would protect our national security and put America first. We are strongest when we are united and fight for our values, not divided and destroy them.
Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh: Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh's Community Relations Council Takes Serious Issue with Executive Order on Refugees and Immigrants
“The core Jewish value of welcoming the stranger is not only found in our texts, but also in the work of our Jewish agencies both locally and nationally,” said Cindy Goodman-Leib, Chair of CRC. “It is critical that we do not turn our backs on millions and millions of people in their greatest hour of need.”
Deeply rooted in our tradition, faith, and values, we are a people of immigrants. Throughout our history we often were the stranger in a strange land and were persecuted and attacked simply for being the other. As Jews, it is not only our religious values that speak to welcoming those who seek shelter and safety, but it is also a pillar of free, democratic nations. Our religious tradition repeatedly forbids us from oppressing the stranger. For instance, Leviticus 19:34 commands us, 'The strangers who reside with you shall be to you as your citizens; you shall love each one as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.' And Exodus 22:21, 'And you shall not wrong a stranger, neither shall you oppress them; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.' It is a betrayal of Jewish history and our own Jewish values to stand quiet as victims of war and terror are left helpless -- especially on the basis of religion.
“We call on all Americans to reaffirm that discrimination against any group based solely upon religion is wrong and anathema to the great traditions of religious and personal freedoms upon which this country was founded.”
As Jews who remember our ancestors’ experience and who look for inspiration to the Torah’s exhortation to “welcome the stranger,” we cannot be silent while our borders close. The RRA and the RRC/ Jewish Reconstructionist Communities strongly urge President Trump to reconsider his Executive Order and to keep open the doors to those most in need. We also urge members of Congress to continue to fund the refugee resettlement and family reunification programs.
“The Reform Movement denounces in the strongest terms the horrifying executive order on immigration and refugees issued late Friday evening by President Trump. The order signed yesterday is even worse than feared, barring entry of all Syrian refugees, imposing in essence a religious test for entry to the U.S., and refusing entry to any individual coming from a list of majority-Muslim nations – betraying even those individuals who have supported our nation's military efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Families are now being held apart and countless individuals who have served our nation in the most difficult circumstances are in jeopardy.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned about the temporal and spiritual welfare of all of God's children across the earth, with special concern for those who are fleeing physical violence, war and religious persecution. The Church urges all people and governments to cooperate fully in seeking the best solutions to meet human needs and relieve suffering.
The First Principle of Unitarian Universalism affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Conscience and compassion calls our faith communities to welcome Syrian refugees and all persons seeking sanctuary and asylum from violence and oppression. Unitarian Universalists declare our commitment to defend and protect refugees and immigrants from any policies that endanger their lives and humanity.