Mark 12:31: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Leviticus 19:34: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”
I am writing this letter because my own understanding of what it means to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, my study and understanding of scripture, and my hope and dream of becoming beloved community tells me that the most recent Executive Order on Jan. 27: “PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES” is directly opposed to our Christian responsibility to welcome the stranger, show hospitality, and love one another as Christ loves us.
Forget politics. This is policy and I am opposed to it. This goes beyond partisan divide. If it was coming from any administration, Republican or Democrat, I would oppose and resist it. It is less of an “Executive Order” and more a fear-based reaction making safety a false virtue. Furthermore, the root of politics and policy comes from the word “polis” or “city.” Policy is how best to serve the city or community. Christ tells us to be a “city on a hill” or in other words, “a light to enlighten the nations.” The best way to serve our city and its people? (Hint: it’s not to clam-up, close borders and look inward.) The answer comes from the lips of Jesus telling us “Love your neighbor as yourself” - the Christian virtues of charity and love.
Constitutional law aside, blocking refugee resettlement is unnecessary, anti-gospel, and amoral. Refugees are some of the most vulnerable in our society - having been uprooted, displaced, and forced to flee from violence to find a new home. Abraham, in the book of Genesis, welcomed three strangers, fed them, and showed them hospitality. In return they blessed Abraham and his wife Sarah and it serves as a reminder that when we welcome the stranger we may be entertaining angels.
I realize that within Episcopal Student Fellowship we have a beautiful and diverse group of people with varied political views. I know I risk alienating some of you. My intent is to be your pastor and leader and speak the truth in love. This is a time for conversation, prayer, and action. I invite you to participate in HOLY RESISTANCE through: petition and prayer; questioning your elected officials with civility; and acts of counter-cultural, Christ-like love. In the coming weeks, I and other Christian leaders on campus will respond and I ask you to stand with me in solidarity with our Muslim Students on Campus and with refugee families in the Winston Salem area. Below is a list of resources and actions you and I can take.
Your Brother in Christ,
The Rev. James D Franklin III
Campus and Young Adult Missioner
The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina
Resources and Links
Note: This list is by no means extensive. I invite you, in the comments below to share helpful links for education and action.
Start a discussion and action group on campus. (Email James if you're interested)