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Churches Critical of Lepage's Position on Asylum Seekers

 AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ The Maine Council of Churches is decrying Gov. Paul LePage's opposition to allowing Syrian refugees to enter the state.

    The council _ representing nine denominations and more than 600 churches _ told the governor in a letter that the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut were frightening. But its board said, ``We cannot allow fear to become so powerful that it clouds our judgment and hardens our hearts against innocent, frightened people.''

    The board said in its letter that it's important that the U.S. carefully screens refugees, but said rejecting all Syrian refugees would compound the recent tragedies.

    Executive Director Jane Field said the board voted to send the letter Friday, four days after the governor announced he will ``adamantly oppose'' any attempts to place Syrian refugees in Maine.