The Franciscan Friars of Arch Street endorse the following statement:
A Call to Prayer and Action to Welcome Syrian Refugees As faith leaders, we seek to honor Scripture’s call to protect the refugee and the immigrant.
As it is written in [the Book of Leviticus], “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.”
We thus reject proposals by two dozen United States governors to close their states’ doors to Syrian refugees fleeing the unspeakable cruelty of ISIS and the Assad regime. We also condemn in the strongest terms proposals to discriminate against refugees on the basis of religion. The Statue of Liberty is not etched with the message “Christians only.”
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.
We stand in support of public officials and faith communities who have answered the call to take in refugees. Our nation’s elected leaders, citizens and service agencies should follow these examples and uphold the values that make America a nation that people around the world have risked their lives to reach.
Since America’s founding, we have striven to be a land of opportunity and safe harbor. Each generation faces an opportunity to live up to these principles. At times we have succeeded, and at times we have failed. The current debate about whether to welcome or turn away Syrian refugees whose lives are in danger is a historic test. We pray that our leaders will meet the challenge of this day and reject fear and cruelty.
Office of Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation
Holy Name Province Order of Friars Minor