Today as your Pastor and Spiritual Leader I am compelled to issue a pastoral statement concerning the alarming events of this weekend, namely the Executive Order of President Donald Trump to impose a De facto ban on Muslims to the United States. Such action demands a response by Christians of good conscience. To be clear the actions taken are morally reprehensible and stand in direct contradiction to the teachings of scripture. God’s word reminds us in Deuteronomy 10:18-19 that “…He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” As Christians we know the sting of being persecuted for our religious beliefs and as African Americans we know the pain of being persecuted for the color of our skin. Therefore, we stand in solidarity with all persons who are discriminated against on the basis of religion or nation of origin. We stand against the unjust policies that “otherize” Muslims and other religious minorities. We stand for religious freedom; it is them today, but it maybe us tomorrow. We must not allow fear to divide us or blind us from seeing the intrinsic value of every human being, created in God’s image.
We are compelled by the gospel to love and care for one another. The gospel places no boundaries on this love. Love breaks down every border and barrier. God is watching us to see if we will love like Jesus. My prayer is that Christ’s words might guide our nation’s actions when HE says: “…For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’‘They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ ‘He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:42-45).
The Reverend Dr. Dray A. Bland, Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Burlington, NC
The Reverend James A. Keeton, Jr., Senior Pastor
Morris Brown A.M.E. Church, Charleston, SC
The Reverend Allan R. Robinson, Servant Leader
New Bethel Church, Philadelphia, PA