The travel ban and sowing love

Church and Society's general secretary, the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, responds the the Supreme Court's decision to allow the president's Muslim travel ban to stand.

This week, the Supreme Court upheld U.S. President Trump’s proclamation banning travel from seven countries, five of which are predominantly Muslim. Citizens of these countries — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela and North Korea — are forbidden from emigrating to the U.S. and prohibited from working, vacationing or studying in the U.S.

The Supreme Court’s decision institutionalizes Islamophobia, religious intolerance and racism in U.S. policy. It is a threat to religious freedom in the United States.

In our Church statements on interreligious relationships, global migration, and prejudice against Muslims and non-Muslim Arabs, The United Methodist Church calls its members and its leaders to denounce “xenophobic, Islamophobic, and racist reactions against newcomers.” (Book of Resolutions, 6028) Recognizing that “the highest law is the love God and neighbor,” the Church’s calls its members and leaders to actively work to follow that law – not only by opposing hatred and exclusion, but by sowing, inclusion, prayer, and words and actions of love toward discriminated communities.

The weekend after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, I wrote a reflection about how, in the days immediately following the election, human rights agencies — Church and Society included — were receiving reports of spikes in acts of hatred and violence, as well as fear from targeted groups of these actions:

Reports of incidents of violence and abuse were received directly and indirectly to Church and Society this past week. Violence towards young women at gas stations, acts of hate against churches, schoolchildren terrorized and bullied in school cafeterias and bathrooms, Muslim brothers and sisters terrified for their own safety, anxiety of deportation…

Yet again, with the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the travel ban, we see fear manifested as policy. And yet again, I affirm that

The rhetoric that produced and allowed fear, racism, sexism, regionalism and classism to fester must be addressed. The fears are real and the wounds are deep. Repentance must come for the sins of hate sowed in our country and the world.

My prayer for peace and understanding remains, and I invite you — in thought, word and deed — to join me in saying: “where there is hatred let me sow love.”