Ed. Note: Pax Christi USA has sent a letter to the USCCB thanking the bishops for this statement and we encourage our members to do the same.
by Tom Roberts, NCR
A week after GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed banning Muslims from the United States, the head of the nation’s Catholic bishops issued a statement repudiating “the hatred and suspicion that leads to policies of discrimination.”
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was the latest in a growing chorus of U.S. bishops, citing religious freedom concerns, who condemned the suggestion that Muslims be banned from the country. Kurtz did not mention Trump by name in his Dec. 14 statement that also calls for “responsible firearms regulation” in response to the recent shootings in at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs in which four were killed, including the shooter, and the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif, in which two shooters, inspired by Islamic State, killed 14 people.
“Watching innocent lives taken and wondering whether the violence will reach our own families rightly stirs our deepest protective emotions. We must resist the hatred and suspicion that leads to policies of discrimination,” wrote Kurtz. Instead, he said those emotions should be channeled “into a vibrant witness to the dignity of every person. We should employ immigration laws that are humane and keep us safe, but should never target specific classes of persons based on religion.”
Similar sentiments were also voiced recently by religious leaders in Baltimore and Detroit. Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, during a Dec. 10 interview in Rome where he was attending an international conference on Christian persecution throughout the world, said Catholics could “not possibly countenance” restricting entry to the U.S. solely on the basis of religious affiliation. According to a Catholic News Service report, Lori was asked about the increasing climate of fear in the wake of recent terrorist attacks and said proposals like the one advanced by Trump raised “great religious freedom alarms.”
The idea of specifically barring Muslims “fractures the very foundation of morality on which we stand,” said Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit. His comment was contained in a Dec. 10 letter to his priests, according to a Religion News Service report…