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President Trump’s obscene remarks, reported yesterday — in which he described Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries as “s***thole countries” — were deeply disturbing. The National Council of Churches unequivocally condemns these statements.

Further, President Trump’s stated preference for immigrants from nations such as Norway, combined with numerous other comments he has made over past years, reveals a deep-seated racism that is unacceptable.  These attitudes must be publicly rejected by all people of faith.  The very soul of our nation is at stake.

As Dr. King said, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” We cannot remain silent at a time like this in the life of our nation.

We therefore demand that President Trump renounce his reprehensible views and apologize to the people he has demeaned through this likewise reprehensible language.  We further demand that the President seek to restore the dignity of the Oval Office by living out through concrete actions our country’s universal invitation to “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.”

In this spirit, we not only stand in solidarity with the noble people of Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa, we welcome those who immigrate to the United States from all countries of the world. We urge assistance to refugees. We support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  And we insist that Congress take action to protect these sisters and brothers.

As followers of Jesus the Christ, himself a resident of and refugee from a poor and marginalized country, we ask everyone to join us, to act now, to unite, and to end racism.