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Xaverian Missionaries US Province Statement on Islamophobia and the Executive Order on Refugees
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these." Mark 12:30-31
Jesus himself referred to loving God and one's neighbor as the greatest of the commandments. They are the core of Christian teaching. Loving one's neighbor is also the core of the Golden Rule which is found in every religion and culture on this planet. "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12).
By banning refugees and immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries and inciting Islamophobia, America has violated the Golden Rule itself. We should be caring for those who are fleeing from conflict and strife, not turning them away. We should be welcoming those who wish become part of the mosaic that is our country, not stigmatizing them. We should be contributing to a world of justice, peace, and compassion, not to a climate of fear and hatred.
This country was founded on the principles of tolerance and acceptance. It grew and prospered due in no small part to the contributions of immigrants from around the world. Closing our doors and building walls will only result in diminishing not only our economic and commercial prosperity but more importantly, our moral and ethical principles and aspirations. In short: America risks losing its own soul.
Xaverian Missionaries serve in twenty countries around the world. We have seen first-hand the hardship and devastation caused by sectarianism, economic deprivation, conflict, and war. In the past America seemed to be a beacon of light to peoples struggling to achieve "liberty and justice for all." Now the light is dimmed and is in danger of being extinguished.
We strongly urge the new Administration to consider the consequences of its actions. We hope that all people will once again be welcomed into this country, especially those who are in most need. We hope that those who react out of fear will educate themselves on the true teachings of Islam, and not be influenced by lies and propaganda that turn people against each other for political gains. As a religious community, we remember the words of Jesus: "I was a stranger and you welcomed me.... What you do for the least of these, you do for me" (Matthew 25:31-46).
Fr. Mark Maragone SX & the Xaverian Missionaries