This statement appears in a number of edited forms to meet required word limits of web and print media.
A Statement From the ELCA Synod Bishops of Minnesota
In the church’s way of telling time January is the season of Epiphany, when Christians remember the Magi—travelers from the east who followed a star to the infant Jesus. Not by accident these mysterious wayfarers are often depicted as reflecting the wondrous diversity of the whole world. The Christ child is thus honored as Lord of all, regardless of race or gender or class or nationality.
In this season of Epiphany (“revealing”) we bishops speak with one voice in professing that we believe all people are loved by God, priceless and full of amazing potential. We rebuke our nation’s president for the vile, bigoted language he reportedly used on January 11th to describe certain countries in God’s beloved world.
This episode far transcends the “politics” of the moment. It speaks to the very soul of our nation and touches upon some of our dearest American values: deep respect, loving care, and welcoming hospitality toward others—especially the marginalized. We are not just grieved by the unfortunate language that was used. More troubling to us is the president’s assumption that our country should only care about and receive the gifted and successful of the world—along with the presumption that he knows which countries provide such. Our disagreement with the president arises from both our faith and our personal experiences with neighbors from around the globe.
We bishops call upon all Minnesotans to join us in repudiating racism and all other forms of bigotry. We implore all ten members of our state’s U. S. Congressional Delegation to ask the president to apologize for his unfortunate remarks, to engage with international partners in seriously addressing the global refugee crisis, and to work in bipartisan fashion toward truly comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform in our own country.
Bishop Thomas Aitken, Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Bishop Jon Anderson, Southwestern Minnesota Synod
Bishop Steven Delzer, Southeastern Minnesota Synod
Bishop Patricia Lull, Saint Paul Area Synod
Bishop Ann Svennungsen, Minneapolis Area Synod
Bishop Lawrence Wohlrabe, Northwestern Minnesota Synod