This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 15, 2017:
The full-page ad that appeared last Wednesday in the Washington Post was paid for by World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, and offered prayers and support by some 500 Christian leaders for President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence as they worked to craft an immigration policy:
We live in a dangerous world and affirm the crucial role of government in protecting us from harm and in setting the terms on refugee admissions….
As Christians, we are committed to praying for our elected officials. Our prayer is that God would grant [you and the Vice President] and all our leaders divine wisdom as they direct the course of our nation.
This is what Carol Kuruvilla, the Huffington Post’s Associate Religion Editor, thought it said:
Religious leaders across the country, from a broad array of faiths and spiritual traditions, have denounced [Trump’s] order. Wednesday’s letter showed that prominent conservative leaders in the evangelical Christian tradition are willing to come out en masse to oppose Trump’s strategy on immigration and refugees.
Kuruvilla had plenty of company. Another member of the liberal anti-Trump Fourth Estate said that the letter “decried” Trump’s temporary ban applying to just seven of the most vicious anti-American countries while another said that the letter “urged President Trump to reconsider” his ban. A third headlined that the letter was “Against Trump’s Immigration Order.”
The letter opened:
As Christian pastors and leaders, we are deeply concerned by the recently announced moratorium on refugee resettlement.
Our care for the oppressed and suffering is rooted in the call of Jesus to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves.” In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus makes it clear that our “neighbor” includes the stranger and anyone fleeing persecution and violence, regardless of their faith or country.
As Christians, we are committed to praying for our elected officials. Our prayer is that God would grant President Trump and all our leaders divine wisdom as they direct the course of our nation. We also pray for the vulnerable individuals whom their decisions directly impact.
In case anyone misunderstood, Ed Stetzer, a Senior Fellow of Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center and one of the letter’s signers, said: “Christians have always spoken up for the vulnerable. I hope the Trump administration hears our concerns that we have a safe and compassionate refugee policy – and our confidence that we can continue to do both.”
Lynne Hybels, wife of Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, explained her support of the letter this way:
For some people, embracing refugees is a political issue. For me, as a Christian, speaking up for and caring for refugees is more an act of worship and obedience to a God whose Kingdom is global and whose ‘mercies are new every morning’….
I hope many more American Christians will be able to enjoy the rewards of such mutually transformational relationships.
World Relief President Scott Arbeiter added, “World Relief has helped thousands of churches and tens of thousands of volunteers express [its] call by welcoming refugees. This letter is evidence that the church will not abandon that call to serve the most vulnerable.”
Others signing the letter include popular author Max Lucado, a preacher at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, and Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Keller has been described as a “C.S. Lewis for the 21st Century,” noted for his oft-quoted summary of the Gospel: “We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
For readers who missed the letter, it is available in its entirety under Sources below.
The letter was organized and paid for by World Relief, the humanitarian wing of the National Association of Evangelicals and one of nine voluntary agencies involved with the federal government in helping refugees resettle in the country. The National Association of Evangelicals is a fellowship of over 40 Christian denominations representing approximately 45,000 churches across America.
One of those leaders who didn’t sign the letter was the son of evangelist Billy Graham, Rev. Franklin Graham. When asked by the Huffington Post writer why he didn’t sign it, Graham, who heads up the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, told her that Christ’s commandments to welcome, feed and clothe the stranger didn’t apply to how the government treats refugees: “It’s not a Biblical command for the country to let everyone in who wants to come … that’s not a Bible issue.”
Desperate to find something … anything … to hang around the neck of Trump to bring him discredit, the Huffington Post and its anti-Trump echoers overreached, hoping that their readers wouldn’t take the time actually to read what the pastors and leaders really said. That way they could safely promote their anti-Trump agenda without anyone noticing.
The Huffington Post: More Than 500 Evangelical Leaders Sign Letter Decrying Trump’s Refugee Ban