Bishop Hirschfeld's Statement on Executive Order re: Immigration and Refugees

From The Right Reverend A. Robert Hirschfeld, 

Bishop of the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire

30 January 2017

Yankee folk wisdom says, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Each of the issues the recent Presidential Executive Orders seeks to fix deserves a considered, bi-partisan conversation, combined with a measure of humility from all sides. Blunt force can make matters worse.

The Executive Order tightly restricting immigration and refugee resettlement based on religious identity has done very little but intensify global tensions while worsening human suffering among those who honor and admire this nation.  What is called for is competent diplomacy, informed statesmanship, and a clear commitment to the biblically informed ideals of hospitality to the stranger and the oppressed. That these values are being so cavalierly rejected in favor of rash and fear-based edicts not only violates the dignity of those immediately affected, but also damages our own reputation. This is not what gaining respect in the community of nations looks like.  

We appear to be descending quickly from the Republican vision, as held up by President Ronald Reagan, of America as 'the shining city on the hill.'  It is worth noting that President Reagan was quoting John Winthrop, a Puritan who was himself, like so many refugees of our day, fleeing sectarian persecution and tyranny.