BRIEF: Faith leaders speak out against executive order

(AP) — From pulpits to sidewalk vigils, clergy have been part of a religious outpouring against Trump’s plan to suspend refugee entry from seven majority Muslim countries. Faith leaders who support the president’s executive order as a way to fight terrorism have been far less vocal, ceding the religious discussion to those overwhelmingly opposed to the president’s sweeping immigration order, which suspends refugee admissions for four months and indefinitely bars refugees from Syria.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which runs the largest refugee resettlement network in the country, said it “strongly disagreed” with the prohibitions and pledged to work “vigorously to ensure refugees are humanely welcomed.”

The Orthodox Union, the largest association for American Orthodox synagogues, acknowledged the complexities of fighting terror, but said “discrimination against any group based solely upon religion is wrong and anathema to the great traditions of religious and personal freedoms upon which this country was founded.”

Trump’s executive order gives preference to refugees fleeing their countries over religious persecution. The president told the Christian Broadcasting Network he aims to prioritize Christian refugees. Still, relatively few evangelicals have voiced support for the idea.

The world’s largest body of Islamic nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said on Jan. 30 that it has “grave concern” over U.S. President Donald Trump banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, warning such moves would only embolden extremists.