No Room at the Inn Letter Delivered to Governor Bentley

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Church leaders from across the state are asking Governor Bentley to reconsider his stance on allowing Syrian refugees into the state. This comes after the governor announced in November that he was not allowing refugees into the state because he perceived their presence as a threat after the attacks in Paris.

Judith Comer is an Episcopal priest who has lived all over the country, but says she has always considered Alabama her home.

“This is my home state. I grew up here, my family’s been here since 1816,” Comer says. “And my husband is kin to three Alabama governors. I feel like I am an Alabamian through and through.”

And she is comfortable letting refugees into her home.

“I want to include those neighbors that are fleeing terrorism and fear and poverty all over the world,” adds Comer.

Comer and two other church leaders came to Governor Bentley’s office to deliver a letter urging him to reconsider his statements on allowing Syrian refugees to seek shelter in Alabama. The letter plays on the Bible story of Mary and Joseph being told there was no room at the inn for them to stay. Faith leaders say, in Alabama, there is plenty of room for everyone.

“I think Governor Bentley takes things that are reasonable and he takes them seriously,” says South Highland Presbyterian Church Pastor Jim Truesdell. “So I think the request that we have of Governor Bentley is reasonable and I trust him to be reasonable and thoughtful as he reads it.”

“We view this as a communal effort to give voice to the voiceless, to those who are in trouble, those who are in need,” says Homewood Cumberland Presbyterian Church Pastor Derek Jacks. “God calls us to voice the concerns of those who have no voice. And to care for those who are suffering injustice.”

In their letter, the faith leaders from across the state are reminding Governor Bentley that, “faith requires us to welcome the stranger, love our neighbor, and care for the least of these.”

Bentley was the first of two dozen governors to ban the refugees from coming into his state. He also ordered state agencies to use all “lawful means” to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Alabama.

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