In a letter sent to the Trump administration last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state would no longer accept refugees, becoming the first state in the country to actively refuse to help the people who need it the most. Abbott said he needed resources to help current Texans, though his record isn’t exactly strong on that either. They resettled more than 2,200 refugees last year.
Abbott is now facing backlash from a somewhat surprising and rather powerful force: Every Catholic bishop in the state.
In a joint statement sent by 16 bishops representing more than 8 million Catholics throughout the state, they condemned Abbott’s cruelty and rejection of Jesus’ call to help the “least of these.”
Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to turn away refugees from the great state of Texas is deeply discouraging and disheartening. While the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops respects the governor, this decision is simply misguided. It denies people who are fleeing persecution, including religious persecution, from being able to bring their gifts and talents to our state and contribute to the general common good of all Texans. The refugees who have already resettled in Texas have made our communities even more vibrant. As Catholics, an essential aspect of our faith is to welcome the stranger and care for the alien. We use this occasion to commit ourselves even more ardently to work with all people of good will, including our federal, state and local governments, to help refugees integrate and become productive members of our communities.
It’s nice to see religious leaders in the Catholic Church using their power for good. While Church leaders have their own legacy of heinous crimes, they’re right in this case. There are far more Bible verses in favor of welcoming refugees than denying them.
It shouldn’t be newsworthy when a religious institution condemns the barbaric treatment of people who need our help. You’d think that’s a given. And yet given the people involved here, it’s not just a welcome statement; it’s a reminder that Christians aren’t in lockstep when it comes to this administration.
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