WASHINGTON: It is gratifying that many faith leaders, media figures, and politicians have denounced the demand by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that Muslims be banned from entering the country. The National Council of Churches joins our voice to those who have expressed outrage at his comments.
At the recent meeting of the Governing Board of the NCC, a statement on hateful rhetoric was adopted which “calls on all candidates for office to refrain from utilizing speech that reflects hatred of others and results in the division of society as a way to promote their candidacies.” This statement speaks to the larger matter but does not address Mr. Trump's most recent comments.
The New York Times has carried out a careful examination of Mr. Trump's rhetoric and has concluded it bears disturbing demagogic tendencies similar to “Goldwater, George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy, Huey Long and Pat Buchanan, who used fiery language to try to win favor with struggling or scared Americans.” Demagogic rhetoric, while sometimes popular, is damaging to the body politic and we reiterate our request that political candidates not employ it.
Finally, we not only express our solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers, we pledge to protect and shelter them physically and spiritually with our words and our deeds. It is a certainty that many Christians will give active aid and assistance to Muslims if efforts are made to ban them, register them, or harm them.
We urge Christians across the nation to respond to hate with love, and to the stranger with hospitality and generosity, taking the Great Commandment to heart:
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
-Matthew 22:36-40, NRSV