Christian leaders, concerned about loss of values due to anti-immigrant rhetoric

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"Religious leaders have an obligation to lift up the moral values of their faith traditions."

The rising tide of anti-immigrant rhetoric received more pushback this month from Christian leaders concerned that politics are overwhelming ethics and morality when it comes to immigrants and the poor.

Russell Moore, chair of the important Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, penned a widely circulated op-ed in the New York Times last week arguing that the new shouting in the political sphere “is forcing American Christians to grapple with some scary realities that will have implications for years to come,” around issues of immigration and race.  “A white American Christian who disregards nativist language is in for a shock,” he warned, “the man on the throne in heaven is a dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking foreigner who is probably not all that impressed by chants of ‘Make America great again!’”

Many Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox religious and lay leaders are signing on to a “Call to Resist Bigotry: A Statement of Faithful Obedience.”

The statement begins by saying that “Religious leaders have an obligation to lift up the moral values of their faith traditions that offer instruction and guidance on issues of public consequence” during times of political controversy. The leaders say that in the last year “We are seeing the very worst values of our nation and its history on display with a vulgar message and style.”

They warn that “A direct appeal to the racial, religious, and gender bigotry that is always under the surface of American politics is now being brought to painful public light.”

The Call to Resist Bigotry hails the changes in the demographics of the United States, as the country has become more diverse, saying that “Soon, this country will no longer be a white-majority nation but a majority of minorities…[w]e believe, as faith leaders, that our emerging cultural diversity is a blessing and not a threat.”

Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester told reporters recently; “I think some of the rhetoric… is deplorable. It’s scapegoating and targeting people like the immigrant, the refugee and the poor.”

Ultimately, of course, many Christians are asking “Who would Jesus deport?”

Read more HERE.


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