Stated Clerk signs amicus brief opposing President Trump's travel ban

February 16, 2017

The Reverend J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), joined other faith leaders Thursday in signing an amicus curiae brief filed with the United States District Court opposing the president’s executive order creating a travel ban.

The interfaith coalition of religious congregations, associations, and organizations united “to speak with one voice against the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017, suspending the United States Refugee Admissions Program and halting entry into the United States by citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations,” the brief states. It was filed with the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York.

 “My participation in this brief reflects the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s historic commitment to welcoming refugees and demanding an immigration system free from discrimination,” Nelson says. “We continue to stand with the widow, orphan, and foreigner.”

The amicus brief supports a case brought by Hameed Khalid Darweesh, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi and others “similarly situated” after they were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York immediately following President Donald Trump’s executive order issued to allegedly “protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.”

The executive order and subsequent detainment of refugees and others legally vetted to enter the United States prompted protests at airports and cities around the country. The class action suit brought by Darweesh and Alshawi is accompanied by other similar cases moving through the judicial system at different levels.

The interfaith amicus brief urges the court to find the executive order unlawful, “recognizing the profound harm it wreaks on the mission, values, and religious freedom that we, as representatives of a broad range of faith traditions, hold dear.”

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), through its General Assembly, has passed more than 20 pieces of policy in support of refugees and refugee resettlement since 1947. Among those policies is a 2016 action to respond to the Biblical directive to provide for the stranger and the sojourner by advocating for and seeking to improve matters related to U.S. government resettlement policies.

More information on the PC(USA)’s engagement on immigration and refugee issues can be found online

트럼프 대통령의 여행 금지 법안에 반대하는 공 서기가 amicus brief에 서명 함

Secretario Permanente firma un informe amicus que se opone a la prohibición de viaje del Presidente Trump

  1. How great it is to be proud of being a Presbyterian for once. As a Presbyterian Teaching Elder, an educator in one of our Seminaries, and also an immigrant, I wholeheartedly support this brief. As people of faith, we must raise a strong voice against banning refugees, and on behalf ofr protection of the vulnerable, among whom is counted the stranger, as stipulated countless times in the Torah and repeated in the Gospels.

    by Johanna W.H. van Wijk-Bos

    February 28, 2017

  2. PCUSA has been pursuing a secular political agenda. You are doing so at your peril. There is a definite correlation between political activism and loss of membership and contributions.

    by Geoff Goodman

    February 28, 2017

  3. I am a cradle Presbyterian. After serving as a Ruling Elder I went to seminary and was ordained a Teaching Elder. I am now 71 years old and retired. This action by our Stated Clerk is a totally appropriate and necessary action by the church.

    by Rev. Judith A. Westerhoff

    February 26, 2017

  4. I fully support this and am glad to see the church weighing in on important social justice issues that concern us as Christians. I do not see this as a political activity, but a social justice one that demands our voice. I wholly support separation of church and state, but it does not apply here.

    by Marcia Carle

    February 18, 2017

  5. I stand with President Trump. His reasons are totally misrepresented by the liberal bias and the church has no business getting involved with politics. Separation of church and state. This is a different world and even Franklin Graham agrees that America's safety is first and foremost.

    by pat Rickert

    February 18, 2017

  6. I cannot stand in good faith with the opinion stated above! The United States has got to protect itself from people whom would do us harm. This travel ban only include states that have failed to show the ability to have control of their country! Failed states and terroir sponsers have to be stopped until we can gather information about their citizens. As a Christian parent I have the responsibility to protect my family.

    by John ellison

    February 18, 2017

  7. As a lifelong Presbyterian I am proud of my church's stand on this issue. Jesus was political in that he practiced radical love, even when it flew in the face of the authorities. We have been commanded to welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, love our neighbor as ourselves. This is, in its truest form, living out our faith.

    by Carolyn Van Marter Hinkle

    February 18, 2017

  8. Is the Stated Clerk going to speak out for the over 50 million babies slaughtered by abortion since 1973? Don't hold your breath.

    by James Stobs

    February 17, 2017

  9. The stated clerk needs to stay out of politics. President Trump needs ALL American's support.

    by James Stobs

    February 17, 2017

  10. To champion refugees and oppose the xenophobic persecution of people from other lands is by no means political but part of our faithful witness to Nesus Christ & entirely Biblical. The carve of being political was hurled at Presbyterians brave enough to assail US slavery & Jim Crow segregation Same old song! Thank you for our common witness.

    by Dwyn Mounger

    February 17, 2017

  11. Lifelong Presbyterian and strongly support your inclusive statement here in Louisville, Kentucky.

    by Amanda Polhemus Scharf

    February 17, 2017

  12. Thank you, Mr. Stated Clerk, for following the teachings of Jesus. Some complain that the church is too political, but they forget why Jesus was crucified. Many do not understand that the root of politics is the word "polis" which refers to the people - those who are part of the state or community. If we are going to be faithful to the teachings of Jesus, we are always going to stand up for the people, as did he, and be "political".

    by Rev. Jane Winters

    February 17, 2017

  13. I'm a ruling elder from Tacoma, WA, and Vice-Moderator of Olympia Presbytery, and I fully support this action. I'm proud of my state for challenging the Executive Order, and I'm proud of my church for supporting the challenge.

    by Abbie Watters

    February 17, 2017

  14. I am a Presbyterian -I stand with PRESIDENT Trump,however

    by Walter j Wise

    February 17, 2017

  15. I fully support the stand of the Presbyterian Church in this. I, too, am a Deacon. And am proud of my church for this. In so doing, they are doing what Jesus would do.

    by Pam Simpson

    February 17, 2017

  16. The separation of church and state as stated in the First Amendment is that "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." Nowhere does it prohibit religious institutions from entering the political arena.

    by Dave Bunch

    February 17, 2017

  17. The church has no business issuing a statement like this. Whether you support the action or not of the federal government, it is not up the church to engage in this type of behavior. There has always been a separation of church and state. This travel ban was not a discriminatory action - is was based on keeping the people of America sate. If the Stated Clerk can not refrain from political statements, then he should be replaced immediately.

    by Jeff Saams

    February 17, 2017

  18. THANK YOU!

    by Elizbeth V. McDowell

    February 17, 2017

  19. I am a Deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Portland Oregon and I strongly support this.

    by Jane VanBoskirk

    February 17, 2017

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