Social Science Research Council Research AMP Mediawell

Welcoming the stranger at home

Frazier, Emily K.

The headlines told the story. Following the inauguration of former president Donald Trump, articles with titles such as “White Evangelicals Have Turned on Refugees” and “The Group Least Likely to Think the U.S. Has a Responsibility to Accept Refugees? Evangelicals” appeared across news outlets, as multiple journalists and scholars attempted to explain “Why White Evangelicals Are So Hostile to Immigration.” Broad electoral support among white evangelicals for Trump’s 2016 platform sparked renewed public interest in the political allegiances of this demographic. Scholars, journalists, and pundits alike queried how a group that ostensibly derives its guiding values from the Bible could evince political positions so opposed to biblical directives to “welcome the stranger.” Stories with headlines such as “The Bible Says to Welcome Immigrants. So Why Don’t White Evangelicals?” suggested that white evangelical Christians, by supporting restrictive immigration policies and cuts to refugee resettlement, were acting against their own theological convictions.