A worldwide alliance of Baptist churches and organizations criticized the United States for issuing a blanket travel ban on refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
The Baptist World Alliance, with 235 member groups representing over 45 million baptized believers in 122 countries the world’s largest Baptist organization, reaffirmed in a statement released Feb. 3 “its biblical stance concerning refugees, vulnerable people who are oftentimes victimized for their faith.”
The statement said President Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order temporarily halting a U.S. refugee program, indefinitely suspending admission of Syrian refugees and restricting citizens of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen from entering the country “seems to especially affect Muslims.”
BWA officials said the order — protested across the country as a “Muslim ban” — is “already having a negative impact on the lives of families.” They reaffirmed a resolution on ministry to refugees adopted last July at the Baptist World Alliance General Council in Vancouver, Canada.
“While the BWA recognizes that a government has a right to create and maintain conditions that provide for the safety of its citizens, there is a temptation to give in to fear and to hastily pursue misguided policies that will have deleterious long-term effects and that undermine freedom of religion,” Friday’s statement said in part.
Last summer’s resolution acknowledged “profound challenges created in many parts of our world by the massive flow of refugees and displaced persons.” It encouraged Christians “to personally engage with all refugees and displaced persons, generously showing God’s love and care as we demonstrate the sufficiency of God made known through Jesus Christ.”
Friday’s statement commended Baptists in countries such as Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Germany, Sweden, Croatia, Serbia and elsewhere “who have embodied the biblical mandate to stand with the vulnerable and to extend Christian hospitality” and Baptists in the U.S. “who offer welcome and provide assistance.”
A federal judge has placed the travel ban on hold.