A coalition of more than 1,000 faith leaders from across the U.S. has signed an open letter “adamantly rejecting” the moves by 27 Republican governors to close their states to Syrian Muslim refugees.
The coalition, called Faith in Public Life and including Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, has direct ties to President Barack Obama.
Obama named the group’s CEO, Rev. Jennifer Butler, as chair of his Council of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships on Nov. 5, according to the group’s website.
Faith in Public Life’s open letter condemning the GOP governors is signed by more than 1,000 clerics including Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta; theologian Walter Brueggemann, and a host of leaders within the Methodist, Episcopal, Catholic, Presbyterian and community churches. The list also includes imams, nuns and bishops – all calling on the governors to welcome refugees and reject the “politics of fear and cruelty.”
“The Statue of Liberty is not etched with the message ‘Christians only,'” said Butler, the CEO of Faith in Public Life. “Our elected officials have a responsibility to protect the nation, but turning away families who risk their lives to escape the destruction of war is unnecessary and wrong. America can prevent attacks without turning our backs on desperate refugees.”
In fact, WND reported Tuesday 21 documented attacks and attempted attacks have already been carried out by Muslim immigrants and refugees on U.S. soil since 2013. The immigration status of the perpetrators was covered up by the FBI and the media in the majority of cases.
The faith leaders’ letter reads in part:
“As faith leaders, we seek to honor Scripture’s call to protect the refugee and the immigrant. As it is written in the Hebrew Scriptures, ‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.'”
These leaders also condemn in the strongest terms proposals to discriminate against refugees on the basis of religion.
A new Bloomberg Politics poll taken after the Paris attacks shows a clear majority of Americans, 53 percent, believe the Syrian resettlement program should be halted immediately.
And not all pastors and faith leaders agree with the 1,000 who signed the letter.
“The reason Americans are concerned that these people are largely Muslims and not Christians is that Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians and Lutherans were not the ones who did 9/11, or any of the dozens of worldwide terrorist atrocities since then. Muslims have,” said Rev. Carl Gallups, a Christian author, radio host and Baptist pastor in Florida. “Why would a sane person not be concerned? Why would a sane person prefer Christian Syrians over Muslim Syrians at this point? The answer is obvious. Certainly ISIS prefers we import Muslims – most Americans do not, however.”
Coalition leader hangs up on WND
When asked about the 21 documented attacks and attempted attacks by Muslim immigrants on U.S. soil over the past two years, the faith-leader group’s senior fellow, Allison Walter, said she had to “step into a meeting” and hung up the phone on WND, refusing to answer any questions on the matter.
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, author of “The Antidote: Healing America from the Poison of Hate, Blame and Victimhood,” and a minister to poor young blacks in Los Angeles, said the 1,000 faith leaders harbor a bizarre theology that places politics above common sense and godly wisdom.
“By saying they’re willing to take in people from Syria, they are willing to put their own families at risk – the American family. We’re at war, and I don’t know why they would want to put those lives at risk if they truly represent God,” Peterson said. “Most of these churches, such as the Episcopalian Church, are super liberal and so these leaders are just supporting Barack Obama, who is trying to convince the American people to let these refugees in when we have no idea who they are and he is unwilling to fight ISIS on their turf while at the same time letting them come here, and these priests and pastors are supporting that. This is evil, and this is wrong.”
“I also believe that the members of the congregations sitting under these leaders need to leave these churches. They need to walk away because they don’t care about them. They are using them for their own personal gain,” Peterson added.
Gallups, author of “Be Thou Prepared: Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble,” said the 1,000 faith leaders even misinterpret scripture in trying to make their case for acceptance of Muslim refugees coming from jihadist hotbeds in Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
“The scripture they quoted deals with the foreigners ‘living in the land.’ The inference is that they were there legally and with the full knowledge of national leadership. Of course we should – and we do, for the most part – treat with respect and human dignity those who have entered our country legally and are among us to be a part of who we are as a nation.
But that scripture says nothing about a nation opening its borders to any and all of those who are suffering around the world, Gallups said.
“It would be wonderful if we could do that, but logistically we simply cannot. If we were to attempt to open our borders in that fashion – where would it end? There are billions who would rather live in the USA than anywhere else,” he said. “If that happened, our nation would collapse, and we would be of no use to anyone.”
To make the argument, “The Statue of Liberty is not etched with the message, ‘Christians only,'” is also faulty, Gallups said.
The vast majority of Christians in America would never make this claim, he said.
“It is a straw-man argument. What actually is alarming the greater population of America is that most of these immigrants are Islamic and coming from Muslim countries,” Gallups said. “We know that we are not properly vetting them, nor do we have the apparent means to do so. We have seen what has happened in Paris and what the threats of ISIS are concerning using the refugee crisis as a Trojan horse operation inside America. We don’t need to be stupid about this, and I don’t think the Lord would have us to be naïve in the matter, either. We must use caution and wisdom, tempered with human compassion.”
Gallups said he has been among a number of talk radio hosts who predicted years ago that Obama would eventually “create” a crisis in the Middle East that would require the mass movement, migration and transfer of Muslim refugees from their homeland to other Western nations.
“We predicted that perhaps millions would eventually be relocated to the U.S. under the pretense of ‘humanitarian’ reasons,” he said. “We were called conspiracy theorists and racists just a few years ago. Then came the Arab Spring, under the impetus of Obama and Hillary’s foreign-policy decisions. Now we know that Arab Spring eventually led to ISIS and the current refugee crisis.”
Obama announced in August plans to take in refugees from Syria in fiscal 2016 and 85,000 refugees from all countries. About half of those 85,000 will come from Muslim-dominated countries, including jihadist strongholds like Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Burma and Afghanistan. Obama wants to increase the total refugee admittance to 100,000 in fiscal 2017.
In February, an ISIS operative bragged to BuzzFeed that the terrorist organization had already infiltrated Europe with 4,000 trained fighters posing as “refugees.”
“If he has his way, there will be millions,” Gallups said. “Why is it that so many of us saw this coming and spoke about it profusely – but now it seems no one remembers the warnings? This is a much bigger scenario than simply ‘helping out the poor people from the Middle East.'”
Another prominent Christian leader, Franklin Graham, the head of Samaritan’s Purse and son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, has also come out against the mass immigration of Muslims to America.
Graham released the following statement on his Facebook page after the Paris attacks:
“I’ve said this before, and many people criticized me for saying it. We must reform our immigration policies in the United States. We cannot allow Muslim immigrants to come across our borders unchecked while we are fighting this war on terror. If we continue to allow Muslim immigration, we’ll see much more of what happened in Paris—it’s on our doorstep. France and Europe are being overrun by young Muslim men from the Middle East, and they do not know their backgrounds or their motives and intentions. Islam is not a peaceful religion as George W. Bush told us and as President Barack Obama has said—that is just not true. Our president and our politicians in Washington need to wake up before it’s too late. This is not the time to be politically correct. Our nation’s security is at stake. The future of our children and grandchildren is at stake. We should not allow any political or religious group who want to destroy us and our way of life to immigrate to this country. Right now let us continue to pray for the victims and family members of the #parisattacks.”
Gallups said the love of Jesus should lead Christians to be wise in these turbulent times.
“Supplying aid and relief to people in need is one thing. Assisting in relocating people within the areas of the world that best reflect their own culture is an even more humane thing to do,” he said. “But, to simply load everyone up and ship them to America – knowing that our most desperate enemies are bragging about how they will use this very strategy against us to destroy us on our own homeland is insane.”