US religious leaders make forceful appeal to admit refugees

Major American religious leaders of differing faith and ideology are warning that that fear and prejudice is trumping the legitimate security debate over the admission of Syrian refugees.

And in rare agreement, leaders of top organizations representing evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Jews and liberal Protestants expressed condemnation — saying that blocking those fleeing violence in the Middle East is unwarranted.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami says bans represent “falling into the trap of what the terrorists wanted us to become” and changing “who we are as a people.”

The Rev. Russell Moore, head of the public policy agency for the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant group, says Americans should “insist” on proper screening. But he admonished evangelicals not to “demagogue the issue as many politicians are doing.”

The State Department says about 70 percent of all refugees in the U.S. are resettled by faith groups.


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