Statement on President Trump’s executive order barring refugees

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The christian response seems clear to me. Our Scriptures tell us that we are to welcome the stranger and care for the oppressed, regardless of race, religion, or nationality. How that plays out on national levels in terms of very specific policies, I’m not sure.

However, what my christian ethic does tell me is that it is wrong for politicians to decide whose life has value and whose does not. Human dignity and value is intrinsic because the Bible teaches that all are created in the image of God, and we are told to see every person as He sees them.

Therefore if we are to follow him then I think christians, whose claim is to represent God’s loving presence in the world, should humbly and courageously raise our hands and voices and say, “As the God and Creator of all life has welcomed us in Christ, we will welcome them.”

“Send them to us, no matter their race or religion. We will give them water for their thirst, food for their hunger, clothes for their bodies, care for their wounds, and shelter for their lives.”

As to the sermon, I offered a word about how hospitality (“a love for strangers”) is central to the christian story dating all the way back to the Hebrew tradition. Whether or not I, a christian, should welcome and care for others is not a question I have to ask.

It is only a question of “how.” As christians our social orientation should be toward hospitality, not away from it. If someone comes to me from underneath a bridge in my city or from the other side of the Atlantic, I must extend God’s welcome to them and do for them and their loved ones what I would want done for me and mine. This is what Jesus teaches us.

— Fred Liggin, pastor with Williamsburg Christian Church