President Donald Trump’s executive immigration order surprised, shocked and horrified a majority of the United States. Many saw it as a direct attack on all immigrants and Muslims.
A week after the issuance of the executive order on Jan. 27, President Keefe released the official response of the University of Dallas to the document.
Trump says that the purpose of this order is to protect American citizens from terrorists who take advantage of the United States’s formerly benevolent position toward immigrants from war-torn countries.
“The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law,” the end of section 1 reads. “In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
“Just over one year ago, the University of Dallas joined in a celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate,” Keefe wrote in his response.
Nostra Aetate is a document released by Pope Saint Paul VI, calling all religions to cooperate in pursuing peace and social justice.
“In light of recent events in our country, I feel it is important today for me to reflect on the guidance of the church and also assure all University of Dallas students, faculty and staff of my commitment to their individual welfare regardless of their nation of origin or religion,” Keefe said in his statement.
Keefe went on to state that the order does have an impact on the community, but he will “continue to pursue policies and and practices that recognize our responsibilities as a Christian community [and] lessen the impact as much as we can, acting in accordance of the law and our Catholic faith.”
What Keefe says comes directly from Nostra Aetate, which dedicates a section to living in peace with members of the Muslim community.
This peace across religions has also been encouraged by Catholic church officials.
Pope Saint Paul VI said:
“Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice, as well as peace and freedom.”
On the other side of the fence is the large cultural difference between Muslim immigrants and the average American.
This is exemplified in the response to a now-viral video by Steven Gern, a 10-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, who worked an additional 10 years as a security specialist operating in the Middle East, regarding the reaction of native Iraqi citizens to the halt on immigration from their country.
“My simple question was, ‘As an American, if I went out in town right now, would I be welcome?’ ” Gern said in his video. “They answered me and said, ‘Absolutely not, you would not be welcome.’ And I said, ‘Okay, what would happen if I went in town?’ They said the locals would snatch me up and kill me within an hour. I would be tortured first, and after they were done torturing me, I would probably be beheaded. It would go on video for everybody to see as an example.”
Granted, Gern is in a war-torn environment, which was invaded by Americans during Operation Iraqi Freedom back in 2003. The population of Iraq cannot be blamed for not having faith or trust in Americans, particularly American soldiers.
But Gern’s final point is:
“I can’t go out in town here. Why should they go out in town in my country?”
With regard to this tension, President Keefe said: “We strongly believe that respecting an individual’s path to the Lord is an important asset and a blessing to our community.”
I firmly believe that, as do most on this campus.
It is a difficult subject, as we do not want another 9/11 to occur here. But at the same time, shutting out a whole country based purely on its partial Muslim population goes against our Catholic faith.
If we are to live our faith to the fullest, we must be vigilant in our watch for the wolves in sheep’s clothing, but also kind and compassionate to the many people who come here seeking better lives.