via Immigration Impact blog:
In the latest faith-based immigration effort, a group of Evangelical leaders and hundreds of conservative grassroots advocates joined Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) yesterday to discuss the need for bipartisan support on an immigration bill. Today, a large group of Arizona faith leaders (Evangelicals, Christians, Catholics and members of the Jewish faith) planned to meet with Senator John McCain and the White House to urge immediate action on immigration reform and a repeal of Arizona’s enforcement law. This is not the first time the religious community has called for immigration reform, but the harsh Arizona law has led to greater urgency within the faith movement—especially among Evangelicals. Much like the rest of the country, religious leaders are pressing the federal government for a solution that goes beyond enforcement, arguing that family unity, legalization and integration issues must be resolved as well. [Read the rest of the post here.]
Religious leaders from Arizona took their cause to Capitol Hill on Thursday (May 13), saying they can no longer ignore the “human cost” of illegal immigration in their state.
“I’m here representing evangelicals,” said Gary Kinnaman, an evangelical pastor from Phoenix after a morning meeting with Sen. John McCain. R-Ariz. “We are increasingly concerned.”
The interfaith group of Jewish, Methodist, evangelical, Catholic and Episcopal leaders said they oppose their state’s new law that allows police to question Arizonans about their legal immigration status. The group said the federal government, not the state, should take the lead on immigration reform.
Patheos Cross Examinations series asks pastors, professors, and writers to explore questions of vital importance to the church in a coherent and constructive manner. We hope that reflecting together will stimulate thought, focus conversation, and ultimately prove more edifying to online readers and to the church. Previous installments in the series have considered theological renewal amongst evangelical churches, the right relationship between evangelistic and social justice ministries, and evangelicalism and homosexuality.
The present installment asks the following question:
Immigration and illegal immigration are matters of grave ethical concern. Does the Bible give principles or insights that should guide Christian thinking on this issue? Is there a ‘Christian position’ on illegal immigration? Would it be un-Christian to expel illegal immigrants who have built their lives in the United States?
In addition to regular members of the Cross Examinations group, experts and activists in the area of immigration were invited to contribute. Read the responses here.
Matthew Soerens writes in Evangelicals and Immigration in 2010. Matthew Soerens is the US Church Training Specialist for World Relief and the coauthor of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate (InterVarsity Press, 2009).
- Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the New York-based National Latino Evangelical Coalition, to a conference of evangelical leaders in Birmingham
Hours after Senate Gang of Eight’s immigration bill dropped early Wednesday, evangelical leaders from across the country gathered at the Capitol to raise their voices for comprehensive immigration reform.
In the last two years, evangelicals have been a growing voice in the debate over immigration reform, hoping their votes — traditionally a bastion of conservative politics but recently broadening their engagement to gun violence prevention, poverty, and climate change — hold clout on the Hill when it comes to immigration reform.
The Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of evangelical leaders from across the political spectrum, gathered hundreds of people from 25 states for a day of action on the Hill. At the morning press conference, the Table representatives did not explicitly endorse or critique the Senate’s new bill. Instead, leaders pledged to “come alongside” any bill that supported their unified set of principals, namely immigration reform that: protects the unity of the immediate family; respects the rule of law; guarantees national security borders; and establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify.
Launched in January 2011, the EIT has been instrumental in building a biblically based movement toward a just and merciful immigration system. In addition to issuing what several leaders called their “moral template” for reform last July, the Table also launched the “I Was a Stranger” challenge, a 40-day commitment praying through 40 verses from the Bible on immigration. They also issued a letter urging the president and Senate and House leaders to address comprehensive immigration within the first 92 days of 2013 — a challenge, named for the 92 times the word “immigrant” is used in the Old Testament — on which the Senate has delivered.
Helping to kick off the day of action, Reverend Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, assured those listening on the Hill that the evangelicals gathered in Washington represent the “broadest group of evangelicals.” This coalition is notable as demographics and changing social sentiments continue to diversify the evangelical community. Dr. Richard Land, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, agreed, noting there are five thousand southern baptists and nine million Latino evangelicals — suggesting a significant demographic shift in the “lived experience” of immigration in evangelical churches.
The action included a worship service, Hill visits, and regular “prayer walks” to House and Senate buildings, Departments and Bureaus.
via @NewsHour: David Uth, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla., told reporters at a press conference for the s“Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action for Immigration Reform.”