Editorial — Refugees need our help

Glenn Rutherford
Glenn Rutherford

The Record is not a political newspaper — we don’t even run political advertising during the various campaign seasons, which in Kentucky is pretty much all the time.

That said, there are times when politics or political leaders produce something so egregious, so threatening to the fabric of our nation, that to remain silent is to contribute to the wrong.

So we can’t stay silent after President Donald Trump instituted a ban on allowing refugees from seven different countries from entering the United States. The alleged reason was “to keep America safe” from terrorists. The fact — not an “alternative fact,” but a real, dyed in the wool fact — is the terrorists who attacked our nation in the past did NOT come from any of the nations named in the ban.

And the nations that were home to real, honest-to-goodness terrorists also are the home of major investments by President Trump.

The ban, which has been determined to be unconstitutional by at least two federal judges, is fundamentally anti-American. It is against every thing the nation stands for.

The Statue of Liberty says:

“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!”

It does not say “I lift my lamp beside the golden door, except for you Muslims from Libya, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen. You guys aren’t welcome and we don’t care if you are ‘yearning to breathe free.’ ”

Christians from those same countries? Come on in!

You can’t get more discriminatory than that, or more un-American. More importantly, it goes against everything our faith teaches us. It’s not the kind of thing that the son of God has taught us to do.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops disagree with the new president’s executive order.

In his statement, Archbishop Kurtz noted that “the Catholic Church has helped settle individuals fleeing violence and conflict from various regions of the world for decades. This is part of our identity, since, as Catholics, we are called by Jesus Christ to protect the vulnerable and recognize the human dignity of all people.

“We pray for a pastoral heart as we strive to treat people in a humane way that respects our common good and the common desire that all have for full and safe lives,” he said.

It was a statement that State Representative Jim Wayne agreed with wholeheartedly. And the tens of thousands of Americans who took to the streets in more than a dozen cities found fault with the president’s idea of what the nation represents, too.

“I applaud (the archbishop’s) condemnation of this ban,” Wayne’s statement said. “We must protect the vulnerable among us, regardless of religion or nationality. This duty to defend the defenseless applies to all faiths.

“I call on President Trump to stand by his proclaimed Christianity and stop turning away refugees fleeing violence and conflict,” Wayne said.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, who in November succeeded Archbishop Kurtz as president of the bishop’s conference, noted that the church and the bishops aren’t trying to be political in their criticism of Trump’s ban.

“Our desire is not to enter the political arena, but rather to proclaim Christ alive in the world today,” he said in a statement released Jan. 30. “In the very moment a family abandons their home under threat of death, Jesus is present. And he says to each of us, ‘whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ ”

We can only hope that those in power in the District of Columbia will remember the foundations of the nation. And perhaps someone can convince them to read both the Bible and the U.S. Constitution.

Glenn Rutherford

Record Editor Emeritus

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