Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, joined dozens of evangelical leaders from around the nation in a letter saying they are “deeply concerned” about President Donald Trump’s suspension of refugee resettlement to the United States.
The statement took the form of a full-page advertisement in the The Washington Post, sponsored by refugee resettlement agency World Relief.
Danny Akin said, "I signed the statement to stand with many of my brothers and sisters in asking this administration to consider the needs of those who are displaced and desperately hurting."
The ad featured signatures from evangelical leaders in all 50 states, including Akin and fellow Southern Baptists Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., and Bryant Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., and former Southern Baptist Convention president.
“We live in a dangerous world and affirm the crucial role of government in protecting us from harm and in setting the terms on refugee admissions,” the ad said. “However, compassion and security can coexist, as they have for decades. For the persecuted and suffering, every day matters; every delay is a crushing blow to hope.”
President Trump issued an executive order Jan. 27 without warning that placed a 120-day moratorium on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, suspended immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and banned Syrian immigrants indefinitely. The order also decreased the potential number of admitted refugees in 2017 to 50,000.
“I respect the president and support his concern for safe and secure borders,” Akin said in a statement to the Biblical Recorder. “I simply believe the policy laid out in his executive order on January 27, as it specifically pertains to our refugee resettlement program, is not the best approach.
“I signed the statement to stand with many of my brothers and sisters in asking this administration to consider the needs of those who are displaced and desperately hurting. I continue to pray for President Trump and Vice President Pence and am thankful to live in a country where we can petition our leaders on these types of matters.”
Stetzer told the The Post, “This is not the usual list of left-leaning, social justice-oriented, religious leaders. This is a surprising list of prominent evangelicals who care enough about this issue to use their leadership platform to speak out, even when many evangelicals have deep fears and concerns about refugees entering this country.”
An expanded version of the letter, including signatures from 500 evangelical pastors and ministry leaders, will be delivered to President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
View The Washington Post advertisement here.