Blog

PCUSA Stated Clerk Urges Congress to Rescind Actions of Refugee-Related Executive Orders

refugee

“Choose welcome over fear” is the advice that Presbyterian Church (USA) Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson II is giving the U.S. Congress concerning issues of refugees entering the United States.

Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson II

In a June 5th public letter, Nelson urged Congress to “continue to enact compassionate legislation that protects, cares for and defends refugees and their rights.”

He also asked them to “continue to do everything in their power to rescind the actions of the three refugee-related executive orders to prevent them from taking effect.”

“Our desire is that the United States restore its commitment to refugee admission to the levels of more recent times with a minimum goal of 75,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2018 and to robustly support and fund the U.S. Refugee admissions and resettlement,” wrote Nelson.

Nelson assured Congress that “As a body, members of the PCUSA continue to engage publicly, pushing for greater support locally and nationally for refugees and refugee resettlement. By choosing welcome, we understand our commitment to also challenge any legislation that creates unjust burdens on these populations or creates greater obstacles to seeking resettlement.”

In his letter, Nelson made no mention of the concerns expressed in two of the executive orders of protecting U.S. citizens from terrorist acts. (March 6 Executive Order; Jan. 27 Executive Order).

Nelson’s letter reads:

As the Head of Communion of the Presbyterian Church (USA), one of the nation’s largest Protestant denominations in the United States, I respectfully urge members of Congress to continue to enact compassionate legislation that protects, cares for, and defends refugees and their rights. I write you as we near World Refugee Day on June 20th, mindful that the world is experiencing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Civil war, persecution, and genocide have displaced 65 million souls from their homes, including 21 million refugees.

 

Presbyterians have a long history of choosing welcome over isolation and fear. At the end of World War II and the wars in Southeast Asia, we called on the U.S. to welcome refugees to our country and our government responded. We chose welcome when our very congregations served as the host sites to refugees in the years before resettlement agencies. And, Presbyterians choose welcome now as we assist families resettling to the U.S. from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Burma, Bhutan, and other countries. In 2016 alone, hundreds of congregations engaged directly with newly arriving refugees. We believe this ministry to and with our sisters and brothers in danger is essential to our calling as people of faith. This is how we extend light to those in dire circumstances. And, we stand with others who engage in this work, too. It is together that we can affect change and bring hope to those running from peril. Refugees enrich our lives as well, and we acknowledge that they also give back to our country.

 

In this time when the world’s sorrows are great, it is the desire of many Presbyterians to extend welcome to those seeking safety. This call to choose welcome is our faithful and compassionate remembrance that we too once “were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deut. 10:19, NRSV). This call comes from our history of actively assisting in refugee resettlement. We know, firsthand, that by choosing welcome, we have entertained angels (Heb. 13: 1–2, NRSV). We do not condone the anti-Muslim sentiment the current Administration has employed as a gauge of whom we should accept. We choose to welcome all sisters and brothers in need of protection and security regardless of race, creed, or nationality.

 

More specifically, we ask that members of Congress continue to do everything in their power to rescind the actions of the three refugee-related executive orders to prevent them from taking effect. Our desire is that the United States restore its commitment to refugee admission to the levels of more recent times with a minimum goal of 75,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2018 and to robustly support and fund the U.S. Refugee admissions and resettlement. We thank you for what Congress has already done in years past to provide safety and assistance to some of the world’s most vulnerable people, and we encourage you now to reach even further so that as citizens of the United States, we reflect an openness to continue this tradition.

 

As the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, I can ensure you that members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will dedicate Sundays around June 20th to refugee welcome and continue to engage in refugee ministries in their communities. As a body, members of the PCUSA continue to engage publicly, pushing for greater support locally and nationally for refugees and refugee resettlement. By choosing welcome, we understand our commitment to also challenge any legislation that creates unjust burdens on these populations or creates greater obstacles to seeking resettlement. And may we celebrate the many gifts refugees and immigrants bring to our congregations, revealing an even deeper acknowledgement of God’s love and grace.

 

This is a moment in our history when we can choose to be on the side of righteousness and justice. This is a moment when we as a nation can choose welcome.

 

In the faith we share,

The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Facebooktwittermail
Paula R. Kincaid

Comments(13)

  1. REPLY
    Timothy says

    Follow the money attached to each refugee. Looks profitable. Wonder if money is one of the primary motives here? A number of articles show the officials of non-profits and Christian Charities are paid quite a bit of money.

  2. REPLY
    Dave80 says

    “Choose emotion over prudence.” FIFY

  3. REPLY
    Donald says

    My suggestion on the PCUSA website that the Stated Clerk demonstrate the course of action he proposes by sheltering a refugee or two in his own home has not yet appeared. I posted it over a week ago.

    • REPLY
      peter gregory says

      Donald’s comments are indeed true. In that those who seek to lecture, cajole, or other wise assume some positions of moral or intellectual superiority to others are the least ready, least desiring to demonstrate their commitments by any amount of personal or individual sacrifice or lifestyle change to put their lives where their mouths want to take others. The Stated Clerk, officers of the PCUSA are about just as likely to open their own personal homes, welcome, host, financially commit to a Syrian or other refugee family as others are able to walk on the Moon. Their elitist bubble of associates, jets setting, per Diem, others paying their bills lifestyle, prohibit such personal acts of charity or grace. Again they want others to do what they themselves are either unwilling to do, or think it too much of a personal sacrifice. When the Stated Clerk post pictures of refugees staying in his personal home then he may get the attention of others to his message. There is a word for those , hypocrites

  4. REPLY
    peter gregory says

    The first point to make is that this matter has nothing to do with refugees, migrants or human suffering. It has all to do with the liberal elitists needs and wants. They want and crave attention, they want and need to feel morally and intellectual superior to those who they seek to lecture. They demand respect and deference given their either education or status in the PCUSA. Personal or individual liberty, freedom, security or even public safety is at best a secondary consideration to their needs and wants.

    As has been shown time after time in Europe in both Britain and France, acts of terror, mass killings, murder of the innocent by Islamic terror is but for them ,a price required for their dogmatic and reflexive demands for open boarders, mass immigration, and in essence social chaos. And they continue to press on matters of immigration due, not for any inherent concern for the plight of migrants, but because to do so makes them feel good and reinforces their notions of moral superiority and entitlement to set public policy upon others, whom they themselves are immune too. Secure in their positions and privileges of office. Hence the Office o the Stated Clerk or any other agency of the shrinking national office continues to churn out their drivel, all in effort to remind themselves of who they think they are, and what they assume they speak for and to whom.

  5. REPLY
    Claude Lumpkin says

    How pathetic that no effort was made to focus on efforts to save the persecuted Christians of the Middle East. As usua, PC(USA) goes out of its way to be politically correct and tone deaf.

  6. REPLY
    Timothy says

    When Nelson writes about “the anti-Muslim sentiment the current Administration has employed,” he (Nelson) purposely misrepresents (lies about?) the issues. The new executive order is similar to one that Obama employed, and targets a small number of nations with violent radical Islam views for heavy vetting. Rather than fan fear and hate, Nelson should know better. It’s not about Muslims per se; it’s about violent radical Islam. ISIS and radical Islam leaders routinely admit they’re hiding radicals in refugee groups; and radicalizing refugees/aliens to kill westerners, and others who disagree.

  7. REPLY
    Dana Gilmour says

    …largest protestant denominations…” Not in at least 40 years; dwindling into irrelevance. Congress rescind Executive Orders. Time to retake basic civics. We have 3 branches of government. Congress cannot rescind an executive order…how dumb!

  8. REPLY
    Bryan W says

    Well said James. Thank you. It’s the liberal left, very sad. How about the PC USA instead get back to God’s Word and Truth and focus obediently on spreading the good news and making disciples of Christ, like to

    • REPLY
      Anonymous says

      Thank you Bryan for reminding Nelson that he is supposed to be bringing God’s Word to those who are seeking a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, PCUSA under the leadership of Nelson, is totally concerned with any political issue that is current. PCUSA behaves like a PAC for the democratic party. I do not remember anything from Nelson when Obama enforce an immigration ban on certain countries. Why is that Mr. Nelson?

  9. REPLY
    MikeS says

    People who hold to a multiculturalist ideology that does not distinguish between jihadism-infected religions versus peaceful religions, are, in effect, dangers to society. Ask France and England.

  10. REPLY
    Leigh says

    It’s a bit sad that the Stated Clerk and others in the PCUSA have not yet figured out that Congress, the President, companies, etc. no longer care about their opinions. PCUSA has not wielded any influence in quite some time.

  11. REPLY
    James H says

    “We do not condone the anti-Muslim sentiment the current Administration has employed”
    As usual Nelson acts likes he speaks for all of us. It’s President Trumps job to protect the US, this thing could have come out of the DNC, and you can bet if there is a terrorist attack here in the US, this same gamete would blame him a hearbeat, and they wonder why people are bolting the pcusa.

Post a comment

*