A list of faith groups opposing Trump’s new Muslim ban

That didn’t take long.

Demonstrators hold signs at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport during a demonstration to denounce President Donald Trump’s executive order that bars citizens of seven predominantly Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Atlanta CREDIT: AP Photo/Branden Camp
Demonstrators hold signs at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport during a demonstration to denounce President Donald Trump’s executive order that bars citizens of seven predominantly Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Atlanta CREDIT: AP Photo/Branden Camp

President Donald Trump signed his second attempt at a Muslim ban on Monday, altering parts of the original executive order but maintaining most of its core components — namely, a ban on refugees and immigration from six (formerly seven) Muslim-majority countries.

It didn’t take long for a chorus of religious groups to voice their disapproval.

Within hours, a group of faith leaders were already convening a press conference outside the White House decrying the ban, condemning it fervently — just as dozens of religious organizations did when the first version of the ban was signed in January.

Faith groups from across the theological spectrum offered similarly passionate condemnations throughout the day, many calling the order an affront to religious freedom and dismissing the Trump administration’s claim that the order is not targeted at Muslims.

American Jewish World Service

The American Jewish World Service tweeted the following:

Auburn Seminary

Auburn Seminary President Rev. Dr. Katharine R. Henderson issued the following statement:

Today President Trump, under the guise of national safety, has once again discriminated against Muslims and inflamed the false narrative that this country is at war with a religion. The president’s relentless focus on Muslim-majority countries continues to be a violation of the religious liberty our country is built upon and a rejection of the commitment of its founders to welcome people of all faiths to America.

To halt refugees, many of whom are fleeing persecution and war in their home countries, is unconscionable and does not reflect the values that underpin the foundation of our country. No nation should target the most vulnerable of populations, especially those seeking safety and shelter. By welcome people of all faith traditions (and no traditions), we make our country more vibrant, compassionate, and loving.

Across the country, we have seen a dramatic spike in Islamophobia, including a rise in hate speech, vandalism, and fires at mosques across the nation. The president’s first executive order emboldened those who seek to harm and harass our Muslim brothers and sisters. Continuing to target Muslim-majority countries does not increase the safety of the United States and sends a signal to extremists that it is safe to target immigrants, refugees, and people of color in their communities.

The president’s new order continues to stigmatize Muslim communities in the the United States and abroad. Auburn stands in solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers around the globe and will continue to mobilize faith leaders working to protect the humanity of immigrants and refugees.]

Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

Amanda Tyler, the executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, said in a statement:

By removing the preference for refugees of minority religions, the revised order acknowledges a fundamental principle of our constitutional guarantee of religious freedom: We do not preference certain faiths over others.

The Baptist Joint Committee remains concerned that this administration is using religious identity as a proxy for ‘security threat’ and a reason for exclusion. To respond to these concerns and the widespread perception that this order perpetuates religious discrimination, President Trump must renounce his prior comments calling for a Muslim ban and condemn anti-Muslim bigotry in all its forms.

Bend the Arc Jewish Action

Stosh Cotler, the CEO of the Jewish social justice advocacy group, said in a statement:

This is not about national security — he is targeting Muslims, immigrants and refugees purely out of spite and fear, but national security experts agree that his action today will not keep us safer.

Catholic Relief Services

The organization issued a lengthy statement condemning the ban. An excerpt is below:

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) echoes the opposition of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the new Executive Order on refugees, noting that while every Administration has an obligation to protect its citizens, the United States need not halt resettlement to undertake a security review.

“The fact is, refugees already undergo significant vetting — more than any other traveler to the United States,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ Vice President for Advocacy. “Any review should be undertaken quickly and in good faith.”

CRS responded swiftly to reject the new Executive Order restricting refugee resettlement and travel from certain countries.

“With the most refugees in the world since World War II, now is not the time for the world’s leader in refugee resettlement to back down,” stated Bill O’Keefe, Vice President for Advocacy and Government Relations. The new Executive Order maintains the reduction in resettlement for Fiscal Year 2017 to 50,000, something CRS has opposed since the first order.

“By banning refugees and travel from Syria, Somalia, and Yemen, we are turning our backs on suffering people during their most difficult hours,” he said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The LDS Church did not issue a new statement for the ban, but directed ThinkProgress to a previous statement released several days after the original executive order was signed in January:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned about the temporal and spiritual welfare of all of God’s children across the earth, with special concern for those who are fleeing physical violence, war, and religious persecution. The Church urges all people and governments to cooperate fully in seeking the best solutions to meet human needs and relieve suffering.

Church World Service

The group was unequivocal in its opposition to the ban, and also unveiled a new grassroots campaign in support of refugees in tandem with the National Council of Churches:

CWS strongly decries this rewritten executive order against refugees and Muslims. Make no mistake: this rewritten version will have the same impact, while avoiding the court proceedings that kept the initial executive order from being implemented. It is a refugee ban. It is a Muslim ban. Banning individuals from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, grinding the resettlement of all nationalities to a halt for 120 days, and drastically reducing the number of refugees we welcome run counter to who we are as a nation. We are gravely disturbed that the leader of our nation continues to willfully mislead the American public about refugees, spurring fear and wreaking havoc on families, communities, and refugees who have already endured so much.

The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Scott Wright, the director of the center, released a statement condemning the ban:

We must always remember that we are a nation of immigrants and refugees and we are called to stand in solidarity with them. Columbans have always welcomed migrants and refugees, we do so every day at the US — Mexico border. As people of faith, we are called to both address the root causes of migration and seek policies of welcome toward our migrant sisters and brothers. We stand against any policies that seek to build a wall, inhumanely detain and deport women and families, or limit migration based solely on a person’s country of origin or religion.

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Eli McCarthy, Director of Justice and Peace for the CMSM, said in a statement:

It is completely unjust to punish an entire country due to the suspicion of a potential crime by an individual. We should be asking about the root causes of violent acts, such as U.S. militarization of conflicts, and giving our attention to addressing those concrete situations.

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Nihad Awad, CAIR executive director, said in a statement:

This executive order, like the last order, is at its core a Muslim ban, which is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Episcopal Peace Fellowship

Rev. Allison Liles, executive director of Episcopal Peace Fellowship, issued the following statement in opposition to the ban:

The United Sates was created and sustained by immigrants who came to our country from throughout the world. Now is the time for the United States to embody our historic principles of hospitality and religious freedom.

Our Episcopal Book of Common Prayer’s Prayer for the Human Family asks that God look with compassion on the whole human family, taking away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts, breaking down the walls that separate us and instead unite us in bonds of love.


HIAS, the oldest international migration and refugee resettlement agency in the United States, tweeted a barrage of criticism about the order:

Interfaith Alliance

Rabbi Jack Moline, the president of Interfaith Alliance, said in a statement:

“President Trump’s revised executive order is still a Muslim ban, and it’s still bigoted and un-American. Despite efforts by the President and his administration to spin the executive order as a security measure, the truth is self-evident. Today’s action is fueled by anti-Muslim bigotry and motivated by a desire to score political points — not keep Americans safe.

“As a candidate, President Trump called for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’ In one of his first acts in office, he sought to deliver on that promise. In so doing, he shredded America’s proud legacy as a nation of immigrants and safe bastion for refugees escaping persecution and strife.

“Even in its slightly revised form, President Trump’s Muslim ban violates constitutional principles and undermines America’s standing in the world. We must be clear that discriminating against millions of people on the basis of their religion does nothing to make Americans safer.

“Interfaith Alliance will aggressively fight religious bigotry in all its forms. Now we look to the courts, Congress and the American people to restore what makes American great — our freedom and diversity.”

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Joan Marie Steadman, the executive director of the Conference of Nuns, said in a statement:

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is deeply concerned about the administration’s executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement. This nation has a long history of welcoming immigrants and sheltering refugees. Women religious have been blessed to be able to accompany and serve immigrant and refugee communities across this country for a very long time. Catholic sisters remain committed to welcoming those who come to this country after passing through the U.S. government’s already rigorous screening processes.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Linda Hartke, the president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, released a lengthy statement decrying the new ban. An excerpt is below:

While it appears that the Administration has sought to correct some of the flaws contained in the first executive order, this newly issued one still prevents us from undertaking life saving work during the most critical time for refugees and displaced persons in human history. The new order doubles down on demonizing refugees — implying that America should fear those who have been persecuted, tortured, threatened, and victimized by terrorists. America is diminished when we abandon our values and close our doors.

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Larry Couch, director of the center, released the following statement:

Mr. President, why close our borders to those fleeing real atrocities, fleeing the ravages of war and the search for food, clean water and safety? This is not what America stands for and not who we are called to be. America is not a country that retreats and Americans choose to not live in fear of the ‘what if.’ Mr. President, welcome the refugee and welcome the face of God.

Muslim Public Affairs Council

The group tweeted out their disapproval of the ban:

National Council of Churches

The NCC unveiled a joint statement with Church World Service days before the release of the new ban after Trump administrations officials admitted that it would have the “same basic effect” as the original order.


Shortly after the new Muslim ban was signed, NCC President Jim Winkler joined a protest of faith leaders in front of the White House, telling the assembled crowd: “We resettled refugees because that is our scriptural mandate.”

National Council of Jewish Women

The group issued a sternly-worded rebuke of the ban, an excerpt of which is below:

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) believes that President Trump’s executive order, “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” is devastating to refugees, targets Muslims, and is without justification. The executive order reduces the number of refugees allowed in the United States to only 50,000, from the current 110,000. And given the world is experiencing its worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, it is unconscionable. Stopping refugee resettlement for 120 days will ultimately add years of waiting for refugee individuals and families, including those already in the process of being cleared to come to the United States.

The attempt to tailor the order to conform to recent court rulings deeming the first ban unconstitutional does not mask the fact that it singles out Muslims by banning entry from six majority-Muslim nations. The attempt to justify this ban by citing national security is a smokescreen — the US Department of Homeland Security issued a report indicating that the ban does not make anyone safer, and in fact, that country of citizenship is “unlikely to be a reliable indicator” of terrorist activity in the United States. Given the facts, it’s clear that the ban is simply a way to codify xenophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry.

NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby

The group tweeted out its statement opposing the ban on Monday, calling it “antithetical to our faith”:

Pax Christi USA

Sr. Patricia Chappell, executive director of Pax Christi, said the following:

A ban regarding human beings, because they are from a certain country or practice a particular religion is clearly xenophobic, nationalistic and racist. This executive action by the president creates division and perpetuates hate. No human being deserves this kind of treatment. Now is the time to honor the commitment for justice expressed in all faith communities and to proclaim this commitment with actions that uphold the rights of all people.

PICO National Network

Bishop Dwayne Royster, political director for PICO, issued the following statement:

The revised travel ban for Muslim-majority countries remains problematic. The ban is still destructive to families fleeing persecution and seeking liberation from repressive regimes. While provisions have been made for those with immediate family members in this country, there are no such accommodations for persons without loved in the U.S. Further, the refugee vetting process is 2–3 years in length. How much more vetting is truly required? With allegations of interfering without elections, the true concern at this moment should be Russia.

In addition to targeting religious minorities, the revised ban has an adverse impact on majority person of color countries. This is less about keeping America safe and more likely a step toward the ethnic cleansing of America. Coupled with this nation’s track record of detention, deportation and mass incarceration, the travel ban is a path to reassert white supremacy and dominance in the U.S.

It is evil, sinister and stands in stark contrast to a core tenet of faith which asserts that we are all children of God. Even with its revisions, President Trump’s ban on Muslim-majority countries continues a xenophobic false hierarchy of human value. It is not only anti-American, it is anti-Christian.

Presbyterian Church (USA)

The Washington office of the PC(USA) posted a short statement on Facebook opposing the ban (the denomination’s chief officer also signed onto an ecumenical statement in support of refugees):

Today, President Trump issued a re-written Executive Order that will discriminate against individuals from certain countries and grind the refugee resettlement program to a halt. It also significantly reduced the number of refugees we welcome in the United States. As we face the worst displacement crisis in global history with over 21 million refugees, now is the time to live up to our American values of compassion, hospitality, and welcome. The Trump Administration’s discriminatory policy is morally reprehensible and does not reflect the welcoming communities across the United States.

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

The center’s director, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, released the statement shortly after the ban was signed:

The Trump administration has doubled down on its discriminatory and unjust refugee and immigration ban, defying the American traditions of welcome and religious liberty. This new executive order continues to target people from Muslim-majority countries for restricted entry, and also penalizes the victims of terrorism, war and violence by furthering halting the refugee resettlement program. The notion that refugees who have already waited so long for safety and security could possibly wait any longer for resettlement is deeply misguided and ignores the dire circumstances faced by so many. This 120-day freeze of the U.S. refugee resettlement program will likely have tragic consequences for those who have already endured a lengthy vetting process.

The Jewish community — like all Americans whose ancestors arrived as refugees and immigrants — was given opportunities to access education, join the workforce, and contribute to their communities and their country. Let us not now allow fear to overwhelm our nation’s capacity for compassion. We call on President Trump to rescind this executive order, and in doing so to embrace the longstanding American tradition of welcoming those seeking a safe haven and a new life for themselves and their families. Additionally, every Member of Congress must denounce this deeply unjust executive order and actively support efforts to expand refugee resettlement. The United States cannot renege on its legacy as a nation of immigrants and refugees.


The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights condemned the measure in a statement, published in part by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

The executive order “continues to effectively close our borders to Muslims, and flagrantly violates America’s longstanding, values-driven commitment to serving as a safe haven for refugees,” said a statement by the rabbinic group. “Masked as an effort to ensure national security, this new executive order is more of the same Islamophobia that targets Muslims by reinstating the discredited vetting procedures, established after September 11, 2001, aimed at men from Muslim-majority countries.”

Unitarian Universalist Association

Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, released a statement condemning the ban as “un-American”:

The newest executive order from the Trump administration restricting travel to the United States from Muslim-majority countries is as unjust and un-American as the previous one. Despite what the administration might say, this executive order is still a discriminatory attack on a single religious group rather than a strategic approach to national security. It will not make us safer. It will not unify us. It will only cause fear, confusion, and resentment. This executive order is the real threat to our democracy.

United Church of Christ

Rev. John Dorhauer, General Minister of the UCC, said in a statement:

We have always prided ourselves on our willingness and ability to be a refuge for vulnerable populations willing to work hard and start life over in a free and prosperous land. It contradicts our core values and the gospel imperative to treat the stranger as a threat, the refugee as one to be feared, or the Muslim as a terrorist. They will know we are Christians by our love.

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

We remain deeply troubled by the human consequences of the revised executive order on refugee admissions and the travel ban. While we note the Administration’s efforts to modify the Executive Order in light of various legal concerns, the revised Order still leaves many innocent lives at risk.

The removal of one of the original seven predominantly Muslim countries temporarily barred from entering the United States is welcome, but we are disappointed that the revised order maintains the temporary shutdown of the U.S. refugee admissions program, continues the more than 60 percent reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled into the United States this year, and still temporarily bars nationals from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

The U.S. Catholic Bishops have long recognized the importance of ensuring public safety and would welcome reasonable and necessary steps to accomplish that goal.

However, based on the knowledge that refugees are already subjected to the most vigorous vetting process of anyone who enters the United States, there is no merit to pausing the refugee resettlement program while considering further improvement to that vetting process.

The United States has long provided leadership in resettling refugees. We believe in assisting all those who are vulnerable and fleeing persecution, regardless of their religion, including Christians, Muslims, and all others. We believe that by helping to resettle the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith and “welcoming the stranger” as Jesus has challenged us to do.

Today, more than 65 million people around the world are forcibly displaced from their homes. Given this extraordinary level of suffering, the U.S. Catholic Bishops reaffirm their support for, and efforts to protect, all who flee persecution and violence, as just one part of the perennial and global work of the Church in defense of vulnerable persons. Resettling only 50,000 refugees a year, down from 110,000, does not reflect the need, our compassion, and our capacity as a nation. We have the ability to continue to assist the most vulnerable among us without sacrificing our values as Americans or the safety and security of our nation.

United Methodist Church (General Board of Church and Society)

The Church of Board and Society reiterated its previous opposition to the original ban, saying its position “still stands”:

World Relief

The group’s CEO, Tim Breene, called Trump’s new order “more of the same”:

The issuance of a new executive order on refugees and immigrants acknowledges that there were significant problems with the first executive order that caught up green card holders and others as they tried to enter to the United States. However, this new executive order does not solve the root problems with the initial order — the cutting of refugee admissions by 55% and the inability for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees to come to the United States, it is more of the same.

This list will be updated as additional religious groups voice their opposition.