A Statement from Bishop Gary E. Mueller concerning Syrian Refugees

A Statement Concerning Syrian Refugees

Syrian Refugees“As governor, I oppose any facility or installation in Arkansas being used as a Syrian refugee center. Many of the Syrian refugees are fleeing violence in their own country but Europe, Asia or Africa are logically the best places for resettlement or for temporary asylum. Syria is a war torn country and the United States will support our European friends in fighting ISIL in Syria and elsewhere; however, this is not the right strategy for the United States to become a permanent place of relocation. Again, I will oppose Arkansas being used as such a relocation center.

“The hardships facing these refugees and their families are beyond most of our understanding, and my thoughts and prayers are with them, but I will not support a policy that is not the best solution and that poses risk to Arkansans.”

Governor Asa Hutchinson
November 16, 2015

refugee3As the horrific events of the past couple of weeks in Egypt, Paris and Lebanon remind us, we live in perilous times that force us to explore the relationship between what often seems to be opposing claims: security and compassion.

I affirm the need for heightened security in the face of global terrorism, including appropriate military action against ISIS. However, I also strongly believe there is a need for heightened compassion towards Syrian refugees who are suffering at the hands of ISIS in ways we can only begin to comprehend.

Governor Hutchinson has weighty responsibilities for the welfare of all Arkansans and I pray for him as he fulfills his difficult role. Certainly, we cannot allow an unregulated flow of refugees into our state. But it solves nothing to categorically exclude a group of people whose lives have been torn apart, as the governor has indicated he would like to do concerning Syrian refugees.

Thoughts and prayers matter. But so does action. I believe that most Arkansan United Methodists, as well as others of good will, would gladly join together to positively address a global humanitarian crisis. Indeed, I would consider it a privilege to join our governor in being part of such an effort in any ways I might be helpful.

Living as a disciple of Jesus Christ is a joy and privilege. It also means we see life through a different set of lenses than we normally might prefer. As we struggle to figure out how to live faithfully in a complex and frightening world, I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 25,

refugee444 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ (NRSV)

Please join me in continuing to pray for the victims of terrorism and for God’s Will to become just as real on earth as it already is in heaven. As well, I ask you to seek God’s guidance about how we can make a difference in the lives of people who need it most.


Bishop Gary Mueller

The Arkansas Conference of The United Methodist Church
November 16, 2015