- The Washington Times - Monday, December 14, 2015

America’s Catholic bishops came out in opposition to GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s call for a temporary ban on admission of Muslim immigrants and visitors, issuing a statement Monday saying the U.S. should never “target specific classes of persons based on religion.”

Recounting the series of recent shootings from a Colorado abortion clinic to the San Bernardino terrorist attack, Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the church leadership wants to see gun controls and would accept some more efforts aimed at mental illness, but said the country must reject singling out Muslims as it fights against terrorism.

“We should employ immigration laws that are humane and keep us safe, but should never target specific classes of persons based on religion,” the archbishop said. “Policies of fear and inflammatory rhetoric will only offer extremists fertile soil and pave the way toward a divisive, fearful future.”

Archbishop Kurtz also cautioned the country not to clamp down on its refugee program, saying the Catholic Church “remains steadfast” in supporting the program. Indeed, church affiliates are among the nonprofits that help settle refugees, collecting tens of millions of dollars from the federal government for their efforts.

While the archbishop didn’t mention Mr. Trump’s name, the billionaire businessman has been the chief driver of the national conversation in recent weeks with his suggestion in the wake of the California terrorist shooting that the U.S. impose a temporary halt on admitting Muslims. How such a ban would work is unclear, but the sentiment has received strong support from GOP primary voters.

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