Church of England Bishops Blast Trump's Refugee Ban

Senior Church of England bishops have broken their silence to condemn Trump's ban on refugees entering the US.

The Archbishop of York, the second most senior Anglican in the UK, was joined by the Bishop of Liverpool, Rt Rev Paul Bayes, in branding the policy unchristian and extraordinary.

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, is the second most powerful leader in the Church of England

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday that suspended the US refugee program and banned people from seven Muslim majority countries from entering America.

Those fleeing the war in Syria and indefinitely blocked from the US with others from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen are barred for 90 days.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said it was "extraordinary" that any civilised country would ban anyone from receiving humanitarian protection.

"There is a valid question as to whether Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in the Middle East have so far had adequate access to such protection," he said.

"However a blanket ban on any individual group is bound to undermine the fundamental principles of asylum. In Christ, we are called to welcome the stranger especially when in desperate need."

The Bishop of Liverpool lambasted executive orders in particular as "an unseemly way" for the leader of the free world to conduct business.

"I am deeply disappointed by this way of governing," he said. "The US will not be made safer if hurting and displaced people are ignored or rejected."

The Bishop of Durham weighed in later with a stinging rebuke to Trump.

Rt Rev Paul Butler said in a statement: "Is being inhospitable to all really the best way to tackle concern about the very few?

"Where does showing compassion to the refugee fit with placing a blanket ban on all?

"How does a flourish of a signature on an executive order demonstrate to the world that democracy is a good way to govern?

"Like so many others I have been deeply disturbed by the action of President Trump and the manner of that action in relation to immigration and refugees. I hope and pray he rapidly recognises that this is not the best way to lead or show leadership in a world of great need." 

Trump has insisted Christians and other religious minorities fleeing persecution would be exempt from the ban.

But Bayes said this approach was impossible to square with the gospel "I urge President Trump's administration to follow Christ's example and to welcome the stranger," he said. Other bishops added their opposition to the plans and pointed to the Church's previous call on the UK government to welcome at least 50,000 refugees fleeing war torn countries such as Syria.

The Church of England bishops joined fellow Anglicans in The Episcopal Church (TEC) in America in condemning the move.

"Terrorism is not the product of any one religion," said Jim Winkler, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, of which TEC is a member. "It has been shown that targeting refugees from these and other countries is a fool's errand. And to enact what ultimately amounts to a 'Muslim ban' is to encourage terrorism. Further, any hint of favoritism shown toward Middle East Christians plays to Muslim fears that the Crusades are not over."