Statement By The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II About Trump’s Recent Extremist Actions

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In just the first days of Trump’s White House, we’ve seen proof that this is an extremist administration, relying on hurt and hate. The leader tells lies, seeks to appoint extremists, desires to repeal health care, and authorizes dangerous pipelines.

Now we hear that Trump is about to take on refugees, Muslims and immigration. 

The United States Constitution expressly establishes freedom of religion as a core American value. Furthermore, our deepest religious values call us to welcome and not refuse our brothers and sisters. It is also written on our shores:

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

When these words were placed on Lady Liberty, they were not meant for only white, or only non-Muslims. Trump’s proposed ban on travelers, even children, from Muslim-majority and Middle Eastern nations, along with threats against Mexicans and others who try to enter our country at our southern border, are the first steps in a Trump-era agenda that criminalizes faith, nationality, and people of color. This immoral agenda flies in the face of the values we hold dear. 

These acts smell of racism and reek of xenophobia. They are the antithesis of the Bible, which declares, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

An immoral agenda which contradicts Scripture and our deepest common values will make us less safe and weaken our democracy.

We do not — we will not — ban, register, or deport people based on their religion, their country of origin, or their skin color – not Muslims, not Mexicans, not Syrians – not anyone.

Rev. William J. Barber, II  is chief architect of Moral Mondays, founder of Repairers of the Breach, and author of The Third Reconstruction (Beacon Press).

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