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Southern Baptist Convention urges churches to welcome refugees

WASHINGTON — In the midst of a political season in which political leaders have frequently decried refugees as a security threat to the United States, the nation’s second-largest religious group sent a different message about refugees on Wednesday: Welcome them.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the denomination that represents more Americans than any religion but Catholicism, approved a resolution on refugee resettlement in the United States at its annual meeting in St. Louis.

It was the first time that Southern Baptists, who regularly weigh in on all sorts of political topics, approved a resolution about refugees since 1985, according to Matthew Soerens of World Relief, an evangelical organization.

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The significance of the message did not escape Southern Baptists.

‘‘Scripture calls for and expects God’s people to minister to the sojourner,’’ the resolution said, citing Bible verses about welcoming strangers. ‘‘We encourage Southern Baptist churches and families to welcome and adopt refugees into their churches and homes.’’

Washington Post