Rochester, NY (February 2, 2017)
We at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School declare our strong opposition to the Executive Order on refugees and immigration recently signed by President Donald Trump. His decision to restrict the ability of refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries allowing them to escape violence and death sends a message that is contrary to the founding principles of the United States, and that violates a core value of our faith as Christians to care for the strangers– the immigrants – the refugees who need shelter and protection. This action by President Trump sends a message to the rest of the world that the United States is now more interested in fear mongering and the targeting of a particular religious group than we are on formulating a compassionate and welcoming immigration policy. In this land where the Statue of Liberty declares, “Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” we dare not shut the door to those looking to us for refuge and a new life.
We call upon President Trump to rescind his Executive Order and to work with Congress and the various agencies of the federal government to fashion an immigration policy that focuses on our values as a nation, and not on the fears and prejudices that are the basis of his present plan.
As concerned as we are about the Executive Order on immigration which is a clear Muslim ban, we do not want to lose focus on an equally egregious issue being pursued by our President: the false claims of voter fraud that can quickly become the basis for voter suppression. His repeated claim that 3 to 5 million persons voted illegally in the November 2016 election becomes the grounds for the introduction of various voter suppression practices that have been underway in this country since portions of the Voting Rights Act were declared unconstitutional in 2015. States across the country have begun to employ practices that limit access to the voting booth to more and more citizens through the requirement of government issued IDs, the limiting of days for early voting, the reduced number of voting machines in certain polling places, and the President’s own invitation for one citizen to challenge the right of another citizen to vote based upon non-existent guidelines.
Our Christian faith demands of us that we advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable among us. That would certainly include those who are fleeing from war and violence in search of asylum, and those whose rights as citizens are being attacked and denied through practices of voter suppression. Here at CRCDS we are committed to training women and men for ministry in the local church and beyond who are learned, pastoral, and prophetic. We challenge our students and ourselves to take seriously the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-44 to stand with “the least of these.” It is in that spirit, informed by our faith in Jesus Christ and by his teachings and his example, that we speak out against the policies and proclamations of Donald Trump that are a blatant affront to our national values and our Christian beliefs.
We invite all persons who believe in and are working for a society based upon inclusion, diversity, and the inherent value of all persons to join with us in vocal opposition to the Executive Order of Donald Trump and to his false claims about voter fraud that fuel the fires of voter suppression. Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with his actions. Let your voices be heard alongside of ours in a call for “liberty and justice for all!”
Rev. Marvin A. McMickle, President
Stephanie A. Sauve, Vice President for Academic Life and Dean of the Faculty
Mark Brummitt, Associate Professor of Old Testament Studies
Jin Young Choi, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins
Winifred Collin, Director of Anglican Studies
Melanie Duguid-May, John Price Crozer Professor of Theology
James H. Evans, Faculty Emeritus, President Emeritus
David Kim, Arthur J. Gosnell Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics
Barbara Moore, Professor of Preaching and Practical Theology
Melissa Morral, Vice President for Enrollment Services
Gail Ricciuti, Professor Emeritus
John Tyson, Professor of Church History