Ecumenical Declaration: Protecting Welcome, Restoring Hope 3/3/17 2:13PM  We representatives of Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican communions in the United States, Church World Service and the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States, gathered together this 10th day of February, 2017, seek to join our efforts to those of other religious communities striving for the same sacred purposes, and officially declare our strong opposition to the executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals.” On behalf of our joint membership of 37 national member communions constituting more than 30 million Americans, we stand united in our resolve to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God in fellowship with the vulnerable, the outcast, the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, and all persons in need. As Americans we are a nation of displaced persons. This executive order drastically reduces refugee admissions; temporarily suspends the entire U.S. resettlement program; ends the resettlement of Syrian refugees; indefinitely bans individuals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan from entering the United States; and preferences religious minorities. We have already witnessed the heartbreaking consequences of this executive order. Refugees who had waited years to be approved for resettlement to the United States; who had sold their belongings and given up their shelter in preparation to finally find safety, had their flights abruptly cancelled and hopes of being reunited with their families in the United States dashed. By providing preference to Christians and other religious minorities, this executive order actually places them at greater risk in some countries, where they are seen as having special status and protection. We are unequivocally opposed to any policy that restricts access to life-saving protection due to a person’s religion. This executive order, as well as the two other immigration-related executive orders to build a wall and deport our undocumented community members, counters the values we as people of faith hold dear: to welcome the stranger and assist those most in need. These executive orders have been celebrated by those who use fear to perpetuate racism and xenophobia, which seriously erode shared values, constructive dialogue, and American leadership in the world. As Christians, we have a moral responsibility to speak out and advocate alongside all immigrants and refugees to stop these unjust and immoral executive orders. Refugee resettlement is one of the most cherished traditions upon which our country was founded, and plays a critical role in U.S. diplomacy and foreign policy. As the world faces the largest displacement crisis in recorded history, the United States should, this year, resettle at minimum 85,000 refugees, the same number we welcomed last year. Doing anything less would negatively impact global security and our commitments to our allies, including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Greece, Kenya, and other countries that already host the largest number of refugees. Our nation’s security and hospitality are in no way mutually exclusive – in fact they are complementary -- and it is imperative that we speak out against the notion that refugees are a threat to our safety - they are not. We have a sense of shared community by being in the world with those who are different from us. Refugees are ordinary people fleeing life-threatening adversity. They are also the most heavily vetted individuals ever to travel to our country; to suggest otherwise simply does not represent the facts. The U.S. context is very different from the European one. Refugees admitted to the United States do not come here spontaneously, but as a part of a uniquely secure and well-managed program. We have as a community worked with CWS for more than 70 years to welcome and integrate refugees into our communities. Our congregations have been a bedrock of support for this demonstration of solidarity and compassion to people around the world. We hereby pledge to do everything in our power to restore and maintain hospitality and welcome to all people — regardless of where they are from, how they pray, or what language they speak.   As we are reminded by Jesus in Matthew 25:35, “For I was a stranger and you welcomed me”: we recognize the face of Christ in the migrant and the refugee. In that spirit, we hereby: