Valley Church Leaders React to President’s Travel Order
PHARR – Rio Grande Valley churches are taking note of President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
The president’s executive order calls for suspension of travel to the U.S. for refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Pastor Ruben Martinez, an Evangelical minister in Pharr, said the travel ban is less of an issue against Muslims and more the government protecting the people’s security.
Pastor Martinez said the Bible is clear when charging the church to protect refugees. He said his church is welcoming to those fleeing troubles back home.
“We love refugees. As a church, we love refugees. In fact, the Bible says that all of us actually are refugees and God takes care of us,” he said.
Pastor Martinez added that the church also has to abide by the law. He said the church recognizes the ban as a way to keep Americans secure.
“The church understands that the government… one of the main roles of the government is to protect the people. So it’s in favor in that sense,” he said.
Father Jerry Frank, a Catholic priest in San Juan, said he is speaking for himself and not the Catholic Church as a whole or even his parish, when he says the travel ban was a bad decision. He believes it is targeting majority Muslim nations.
“It’s not going to protect us. I don’t think. If anything, it’s going to cause a backlash with terrorist groups and create a reaction that we’re probably not going to want to see,” he said.
Father Frank thinks the issue of those being kept out of the U.S. due to the travel ban is very similar to something else faced in the Christian belief.
“I think the people in the Rio Grande Valley by and large have a lot of sympathy for Central American immigrants coming in, and I think they can quickly make the transfer to Muslims, people from Muslim countries coming for the same reasons,” he said.
Father Frank said refugees should be vetted but unquestionably Christians should be open to receiving them.
He said his church would accept refugees and he personally would do his best to protect them.