Should America’s Refugee Policy Put Persecuted Christians First?
Four Christian experts offer their take on Trump’s controversial plan.
Under President Donald Trump’s new executive order, religious minorities claiming persecution will take priority over other applicants once the refugee program resumes.
Last weekend on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Trump indicated that the policy will particularly advantage persecuted Christians from the Middle East:
They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.
Since 2011, between 1 and 3 percent of Syrian refugees admitted to the US were Christians, while the proportion of Christian refugees from the country is estimated to be much larger. (CT previously looked at explanations for the disparity.) Overall, 1 in 4 refugees resettled from the seven Muslim-majority nations now restricted under Trump’s order were Christians.
While some evangelicals agree with Trump’s efforts to course-correct on behalf of persecuted brothers and sisters, many others worry about the ramifications of privileging Christians above other faiths. Arab Christian leaders in the Middle East told CT they appreciate Trump’s sentiment, but disagree with his strategy. CT asked four evangelical experts in international affairs, religious persecution, and refugee resettlement to weigh in below.