GOP candidates continue anti-Muslim, refugee rhetoric

Religious groups criticize GOP anti-refugee r... 02:16

WASHINGTON -- Republicans who want to block refugees from the U.S. are finding themselves in conflict with religious groups who say it's their mission to help them.

"But I do want a database for those people coming in," Donald Trump said Saturday, calling for a database to monitor Syrian refugees.

Donald Trump wants "surveillance of certain m... 01:28

It was an attempt to clarify where he stands amid an uproar over last week's seeming endorsement of a mandatory registry for Muslims living in the U.S.

"So here's the story, just to set it straight," Trump said. "I want surveillance of these people."

Over the last two days, several of Trump's rivals have said the idea of a national database to track Muslims was a bridge too far.

But since the Paris attacks, many GOP presidential hopefuls have contributed to the anti-refugee fervor, like John Kasich Saturday in New Hampshire.

"I don't want Syrian refugees to come here now because we don't know who they are," Kasich said.

How the 2016 candidates would deal with Syria... 01:37

That rhetoric has been widely criticized by faith-based groups who lead efforts to resettle refugees -- and evangelicals are a key demographic in republican primaries.

"There is panic that is being fed for political reasons," Linda Hartke, CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, told CBS News.

"I think those who imagine we should suspend the arrival of any Syrians into this country or any Muslim into this country is really over the top," Hartke said.

But a recent survey from the Public Religion Research Institute showed 73 percent of white evangelical protestants feel that the values of Islam are at odds with American values.

GOP: Pass national defense bill, block Syrian... 05:40

That's a sentiment about Muslims shared by a self-described Christian at Trump's rally Saturday in Alabama.

"I have to stop and think about our home country because they have been so vocal to say they want to be the sole people on this earth and it's their way or no way really," the woman said.

That survey was conducted before the Paris attacks, but it helps explain why GOP presidential hopefuls are taking a harder line on the refugee issue.

Several organizations resettling refugees around the country say they have been threatened in the last week.

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    Julianna Goldman is a CBS News correspondent based in the Washington bureau.