B.T. Rice

The St. Louis County NAACP calls on President Donald Trump to immediately stop his racist, xenophobic attacks on four United States congresswomen in particular and immigrants in general. His words have been dangerous, inflammatory, and beneath the dignity of the occupant of the Oval Office. The president of the United States must not use hateful, violent, divisive language against American citizens.

We are compelled to speak out now. The origin of the NAACP lies in the hearts and minds of all those who refused to stand idly while race prejudice tarnished our nation. For 110 years, we have remained vigilant in our mission to ensure that the promise of America is made real for all Americans.

“President Trump’s racist, nativist and xenophobic statement that elected representatives of color should ‘go back where they came from’ represents a whistle call to white supremacists and increases the risk of racially motivated acts of violence against these congresswomen and people of color more generally,” Derrick Johnson, national NAACP president, stated.

“This kind of divisiveness moves our country backward, not forward. President Trump should issue an immediate apology to the freshman congresswomen who were the subject of his tweets and to the nation as a whole.”

It is possible to have a legitimate debate about immigration policy. There are reasonable questions about our policy on immigrants who break the law. But President Trump’s statements are none of that. He has attacked American citizens and is questioning their patriotism merely for opposing his policies. He has implied that immigrants are less loyal to our country and less American. We have not seen this open appeal to division by race, ethnicity, and religion since the days of George Wallace. “Send her back” must not be the campaign call of an incumbent candidate for president in America in 2020. This is not the way to “make America great.”

We agree with the resolution passed this week by the United States House of Representatives: “immigrants and their descendants have made America stronger, and those who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in the United States for many generations.” 

The Book of Hebrews in Christian Scriptures tells us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” We have the right to demand that the president of all Americans not seek to divide us, but to instead appeal to our better angels.

Pastor B T Rice is pastor of New Horizon Christian Church and vice president of the St. Louis County NAACP.

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