Senior Christian leaders from various sects have spoken out against U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to give first preference to religious minorities when accepting refugees.
Trump’s recent Executive Order on immigration mandated that when the refugee resettlement program is restarted, following a 120-day suspension, it will prioritize Christian refugees and those of other persecuted faiths, as opposed to Muslims when dealing with refugees from Syria and Iraq.
Last year Christians made up almost half of the 85,000 refugees admitted to the United States. The U.S. allowed in 37,521 Christians and 38,901 Muslims in 2016, according to Pew Research. Of refugees admitted from Syria in 2016, 99% were Muslim and just 1% were Christian.
Those objecting include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the multidenominational Church World Service.
“We believe in assisting all, regardless of their religious beliefs,” said Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, the chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops committee on migration said in a statement.
While clearly motivated by an admirable sense of equality, their objections do not make sense in the light of the reality faced by Christians across the Middle East, but in Syria and Iraq in particular.
In March 2016, the U.S. State Department declared ISIS attacksagainst Christians constitute genocide. There has been no move to alter that classification and human-rights figures agree the Christian and Yazidi populations in particular are at a greater level of risk because of persecution meted out against them due to their faith.
It follows logically that if the U.S. is only going to take in a certain number of refugees, it should prioritize the most vulnerable when it makes the calculation of who should be admitted.
The shocking details of the genocide taking place right now against Christians, Yazidis and other minorities in Iraq and Syria is documented in Clarion Project’s latest film Faithkeepers.
The film features exclusive footage and testimonials of Christians, Baha’i, Yazidis, Jews, and other minority refugees, and a historical context of the persecution in the region.