The Metacriticism of Biblical Scholarship unit in the Society of Biblical Literature expresses its opposition to the Executive Order issued by President Donald J. Trump on January 27, 2017, that immediately suspends entry of citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen into the United States.
We recognize that the Bible bears contradictory views about immigrants, and we do not utilize the Bible as an authority to set any government policy or to oppose any government policy.
Our opposition is firstly based on the detrimental effect that such an order has on the welfare of victims of oppression and violence that will now be trapped within the listed countries. The Order, in effect, is a death sentence for thousands of men, women, and children of many religious backgrounds who are trying to flee violence.
As members of a community of scholars, we also are concerned that the Executive Order adversely affects the ability of scholars from the listed countries to interact with those in the United States. Such interactions are a key component of expanding knowledge and building relationships across the globe.The Executive Order, along with many related statements made by Mr. Trump, suggest that the basis for this action is partly based on religious discrimination. He declared his intent to ban all Muslims in December of 2015, and he has since stated that he wants priority given to Christian refugees, who are not the majority of those experiencing violence in the listed countries. Identifying a religious preference for entry, or for the denial of entry, into the United States is neither consistent with our Constitutional principles nor with the general principles of equality.
We, therefore, denounce in the strongest possible terms the premises and consequences that this Executive Order will have for our fellow human beings and for the entire academic enterprise that is global in scope.
Hector Avalos (Co-Chair), Iowa State University
Rebecca Raphael (Co-Chair), Texas State University
Krista Dalton, Columbia University
André Gagné, Concordia University (Montreal, Canada)
Ed Silver, Wellesley College
Stephen Young, Appalachian State University