America must respect both the security of its people while maintaining religious liberty, the bishops said

The chairmen of three US bishops’ committees have expressed solidarity with the Muslim community and voiced their deep concern over religious freedom issues which will result from President Donald Trump’s refugee ban.

Trump’s executive memorandum of January 27 “has generated fear and untold anxiety among refugees, immigrants and others throughout the faith community in the United States,” said the committee chairmen in a joint statement. “In response … we join with other faith leaders to stand in solidarity again with those affected by this order, especially our Muslim sisters and brothers.”

“We also express our firm resolution that the order’s stated preference for ‘religious minorities’ should be applied to protect not only Christians where they are a minority, but all religious minorities who suffer persecution, which includes Yezidis, Shia Muslims in majority Sunni areas, and vice versa,” said the statement from by Bishop Mitchell T Rozanski of Springfield, Massachusetts, Archbishop William E Lori of Baltimore and Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

They are, respectively, the chairmen of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on International Justice and Peace.

“While we also recognise that the United States government has a duty to protect the security of its people, we must nevertheless employ means that respect both religious liberty for all, and the urgency of protecting the lives of those who desperately flee violence and persecution,” they said.