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WCC joins many in condemning Trump’s derogatory remarks

WCC joins many in condemning Trump’s derogatory remarks

Photo: Alex Grichenko/CC0 Public Domain

15 January 2018

The World Council of Churches (WCC) joined ecumenical organizations, churches and congregations as well as many governments across the world in condemning President Trump’s reported remarks on 11 January referring to several nations as “s***thole” countries, and reportedly telling a group of lawmakers that the United States should have more people coming from places such as Norway.

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit voiced his support for churches in the USA and elsewhere as they made it very clear that such racist expressions are against the most basic tenets of Christian faith and ethics.

“We call upon governments and heads of state to fulfill their responsibility to set high standards and promote mutual respect, non-discrimination and care for the dignity of all, both in international relationships and in their own countries,” said Tveit.

In addition, as a Norwegian, Tveit said he finds Trump’s reported comments particularly disturbing. “As a Norwegian and as general secretary of the international fellowship of churches in the WCC, I don’t accept that my country - or any other country - is used in expressions to undermine the dignity of other people and other countries.”

The National Council of Churches in the USA, in a statement issued 12 January, described Trump’s words as “deeply disturbing.”

“…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,” the NCC statement said. “These attitudes must be publicly rejected by all people of faith. The very soul of our nation is at stake.”

The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church also issued a statement taking a stand against the racist rhetoric and social policies of the Administration.

“The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Social Action Commission of our church demand not only a public apology but inclusive and ‘just’ social and immigration policies,” the statement reads. “We stand with the public summoning of US diplomats by the countries which were slandered by the president.”

Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said she was very disappointed and disturbed by the remarks attributed to President Trump.

“Regardless of the context, references of that kind have no place in our civil discourse and, if true, reflect racist attitudes unbecoming any of us, but especially a president of the United States,” she said. “Instead, we should be fostering a world where each of us sees every person – regardless of race, origin, ethnicity, gender or economic status – in the image of God and, therefore, worthy of dignity and respect.”

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, also issued a statement on 12 January on behalf of the council concerning the reported remarks.

“We are appalled by the offensive, disgusting words attributed to President Donald Trump who is said to have referred to immigrants from African countries and Haiti, and the countries themselves, in an insulting and derogative manner,” the statement reads.

“As reported, President Trump’s words are not only offensive and harmful, they are racist,” the statement reads. “We call upon all Christians, especially United Methodists, to condemn this characterization and further call for President Trump to apologize.”

The government of Botswana summoned the US ambassador to Botswana to express its displeasure at Trump’s alleged remarks. “The Botswana government has also enquired from the US Government through the Ambassador, to clarify if Botswana is regarded as a s***thole country, given that there are Botswana nationals residing in the US…”

An African group of ambassadors met at the UN on 12 January, and released a statement strongly condemning the remarks. The group demanded a retraction and an apology, for remarks which “denigrate the continent and people of colour” and expressed concern “at the continuing and growing trend from the US administration towards Africa and people of African descent.”

As the UN also condemned Trump’s reported remarks as racist, faith-based and humanitarian groups expressed their agreement.  The Sisters of Mercy, a community of Roman Catholic women, said in a statement that Trump’s language was “consistent with the racist decision making and attitude” of the Administration.

NCC Condemns Obscene Remarks by President Trump

Statement of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America presiding bishop Elizabeth Eaton

United Methodist Bishops condemn President Trump’s “offensive” remarks against immigrants

Reuters: Africa calls Trump racist after 'shithole' remark

Statement: “Sisters of Mercy Condemn President Trump's Racist Remarks”