Statement on Collegiality and Solidarity

On January 9th, 2016, the members of the Society of Christian Ethics approved by majority vote a "Statement on Collegiality and Solidarity." The Society of Jewish Ethics has joined the Society of Christian Ethics in endorsing this statement, which is intended especially to offer affirmation and support to members of the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics in this time of rising indiscriminate prejudice against Muslims. Much of the scholarly work of members of the SCE and SJE has been directed against a wide range of forms of discrimination, and their memberships are deeply committed to respect for and the protection of the religious freedom of members of all faiths. The approved statement reads as follows:

A disturbing wave of hostility and hatred aimed at Muslims continues to sweep across the globe. The Society of Christian Ethics repudiates this hostility directed at Muslims, including anti-Muslim hate crimes, mosque closures, and proposed registration programs. The Society recognizes and respects the gifts and perspectives that diverse traditions bring to the academy. As a partner of the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics, we will continue to foster relationships of collegiality and solidarity with our Muslim colleagues in the academy and Muslims across the globe.

* * * * *

Society of Christian Ethics Presidential Cabinet Statement on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”

The January 27 executive order’s restrictions to US refugee, immigration, and travel policy have evoked principled resistance across the United States.  The legality and constitutionality of the order and its initial chaotic enforcement are already under analysis, and we entrust those matters to our elected representatives, the judicial system, and to public and private entities with the expertise to analyze them. 

We agree that the U.S. government is justified in taking deliberate, proportionate actions to protect its citizens.  Even so, as scholars of Christian ethics we are conscientiously obliged to object publicly to dimensions of the order we find morally disturbing.

  • By reducing the refugee quota for 2017 to less than half the planned level (Sec. 6d), the order restricts the United States’ ability to provide safe haven to a significant proportion of the 1.19 million persecuted and displaced people from all regions of the globe who are in need of resettlement.
  • By prioritizing victims of minority religious persecution once admission of refugees resumes (Sec. 5b), the order unnecessarily jeopardizes the lives of vulnerable people who are suffering from political and social, not strictly religious, persecution.
  • By refusing to guarantee that the United States will adhere to international refugee agreements during the suspension (Sec. 5e), the executive order may impede the fulfillment of the United States’ treaty obligations.
  • By banning the entry of Syrian refugees to the United States indefinitely (Sec. 5c) without indicating under exactly what conditions this ban would be lifted and without establishing a safe haven, the order unjustly endangers vulnerable civilian victims of war, further worsening a severe humanitarian crisis.
  • Actions must be judged morally not only by their effects but also by their intent.  Although President Trump has insisted that the purpose of the executive order is to exclude terrorists,  he has not disavowed reports of his stated intention to exclude Muslims.  If these reports are correct, the order veils an unacceptable intent to welcome Christian refugees from at least the specified seven majority Muslim nations but systematically exclude Muslim refugees from these same nations.

We especially abhor all government actions that effectively establish a state preference for any religious group, including our own, over any others.  Global history reminds us of the dangers of creating, endorsing, and/or exploiting prejudice against whole classes of persons on the basis of religion.  Our scripture teaches us to welcome strangers, no matter their religious affiliation.  Our ethics command us to respect the dignity of all who suffer for any reason and use our resources to ease the plight of innocent victims of violence regardless of their faith.

David Gushee, President

Diane Yeager, President Elect

Patricia Beattie Jung, Vice President

Cristina Traina, Past President

February 3, 2017

Statement by American Academy of Religion:

Statement by university professors and Nobel laureates:

Statement by the Board of the Catholic Theological Society of America:


- - -

The Society of Christian Ethics, founded in 1959, is a non-denominational academic association seeking to advance scholarly work in Christian ethics. The current president of the Society of Christian Ethics is Dr. Cristina Traina of Northwestern University. For more information about this resolution or the Society of Christian Ethics, contact[email protected], or check our website at: