Maine Council of Churches Condemns Executive Order on Immigration

The Maine Council of Churches, consisting of nine member denominations who represent more than 550 local congregations across our state, joins The Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a large and diverse national organization of faith groups and clergy, in condemning President Trump’s executive order barring entry to refugees and immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries.

The Council concurs with Rev. Steve Martin of the National Council of Churches, who has stated explicit condemnation for any religious test for refugees and immigrants, describing the order as an assault on religious freedom that will likely worsen the current spike in anti-Islam incidents nationwide.  We decry derogatory language that has been used about refugees, immigrants, and our Muslim friends and neighbors. Inflammatory rhetoric has no place in our response to this humanitarian crisis.

War, conflict and persecution have forced innocent people to flee their homes in record numbers and become refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants.  Maine Council of Churches Executive Director, Rev. Jane Field, says, “As people of faith, we are called by our sacred texts and traditions to love our neighbor, accompany the vulnerable, and welcome the stranger, regardless of their religion. Our faith compels us to pray that in our nation’s discernment, compassion for the plight of refugees and immigrants will touch our leaders’ hearts. And our faith compels us to act to ensure that our government chooses moral, just and compassionate policies.”

The Maine Council of Churches affirms our country’s rich history as a leader in refugee resettlement who maintains the most rigorous refugee screening process in the world, involving the Departments of Defense, State, and Homeland Security, the FBI, and the National Counter-Terrorism Center conducting biometric checks, medical screenings, forensic testing of documents, DNA testing for family reunification cases, and in-person interviews with highly trained homeland security officials.  We ask our elected officials to recognize that new Americans of all faiths and backgrounds contribute to our economy, our community, and our congregations. They are powerful ambassadors of the American Dream and our nation’s founding principles of equal opportunity, religious freedom, and liberty and justice for all.

The Maine Council of Churches believes that proposals to disqualify refugees and immigrants based solely on their nationality or religion fly in the face of the very principles this nation was built upon, contradict the legacy of leadership our country has historically demonstrated, and dishonor our shared humanity.