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May 14, 2010

Evangelicals Find New Unity on Immigration

In the shadow of Arizona's strict immigration law, a broad range of evangelical leaders are speaking in support of comprehensive immigration reform, with more specifics than some were able to embrace before.

At the same time, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, New York's Charles Schumer, is hoping evangelicals will nudge their allies in the GOP to push an on-again, off-again immigration bill through Congress.

The renewed push came in the form of a full-page ad in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, paid for by the National Association of Evangelicals, and a three-page policy proposal from Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian legal firm.

The NAE statement calls for keeping families intact, securing national borders, and establishing a path to legal citizenship for qualified people who want to become permanent residents.

"Initiatives to remedy this crisis have led to polarization and name calling in which opponents have misrepresented each others' positions as open borders and amnesty versus deportations of millions," the ad reads.

"This false choice has led to an unacceptable political stalemate."

The Liberty Counsel blueprint was even more specific, calling for a "just assimilation" of those seeking legal citizenship that includes lessons in English and U.S. history. It says temporary worker visas recognize the need for "field workers to engineers" in U.S. companies.

"America deserves a just immigration policy," the statement said, "one that begins with securing, not closing, our borders, one that provides a temporary guest-worker program, and one that offers a pathway for earned legal citizenship or temporary residency."


Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and a signatory on both the ad and the statement, said there has long been consensus on the need to secure the nation's southern border, but evangelicals are now focusing on the future of the nation's estimated 12 million undocumented
immigrants.

"I think that's where the consensus is building," he said.

Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land said the Arizona law -- which gives local authorities new powers to round up suspected illegal immigrants -- has prompted evangelicals to feel more strongly about the need for federal reform and to speak up for their Hispanic "brethren."

"I think evangelicals have said `Enough is enough is enough,"' he said Wednesday in a teleconference call hosted by the group Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Land included his name on both the ad and the policy proposal, as did the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Others signing the ad include NAE President Leith Anderson; megachurch pastors Bill Hybels and Joel Hunter; and civil rights veteran John Perkins. Bishop George McKinney, a leader in the predominantly black Church of God in Christ, also signed the proposal.

Even so, some of the most prominent umbrella groups for religious conservatives have not added their names to the new statements.

Focus on the Family spokeswoman Monica Schleicher said the Colorado ministry is "currently investigating the issue" but declined further comment. Family Research Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Christian ethicist David Gushee said the new energy surrounding immigration reform by non-Hispanic conservatives reflects a reaction to the Arizona law and long-term friendships that some have cultivated with Hispanic Christian leaders.

"Relationships are maturing and so that provides a context for engagement together," said Gushee, who teaches at Mercer University in Georgia and is a leader of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, which supports comprehensive immigration reform.

"When you've got a friend who's screaming out in pain, who's saying this is really dangerous, you pay attention to that."

Comments

Be VERY GENEROUS with those who do for you, what you don't like to do yourself, because it makes you sweat and loose weight.

Things like cooking on Sundays, shovel the Snow in COLD Winter days, till the Soil and do the Garden in Spring, do the Yard in HOT Summer days, rake the leaves in Autumn, pull the weeds, clean the stable, collect the vegetables, collect the thrash, clean bathrooms, mop the floors, sweep the streets, work the sweatshops to make your clothes and running shoes, etc. etc. and etc.

You don't have to like them, just LOVE them. Be Just and Fair with them. Pay them a Fair Salary, maybe even the one You would pay yourself for doing the same dirty WORK, that you don't like to do, or consider yourself to be above it. Because if Not James 5:1-5 will be fulfilled in You.

Wait, as a matter of fact Jam. 5:1-5 is being fulfilled, slowly but sure it is.

Everything and anything can, should and ought to be questioned.

????

John 10:1

I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.
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Breaking the law is immoral.

Legal immigrants are hurt by this! They wait for years to enter the country the right way!

As Christians are we supposed to support a crime and turn our backs on LEGAL immigrants?

SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!

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John 10:1

I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.

I applaud Arizona's new legislation, requiring police to help with immigration enforcement. This country is overpopulated, and fifteen million Americans are out of work.

I read today that Mexico's president is upset about the Arizona law. WHAT??? People are leaving HIS country and he is in a snit about how WE are treating them? Maybe he needs to enact some laws to keep his people THERE if he is so concerned about how they are being treated here. I also read today that the ACLU is jumping on the bandwagon in favor of illelgals. Wait...I thought this was the AMERICAN Civil Liberties Union, not the MEXICAN Civil LIberties Union.

If I wasn't already a Christian, I certainly would not want to become one when I see Christians express such attitudes as I see on this site. Hatred for anyone is wrong, no matter what their color or language and expressions of disgust for God's creation, surely must sadden Him. As for breaking the law, coming to this country illegally does not call for prison time or harsh punishment. And, if you had no way to support your families, what would you do? I am not saying that I support coming to the US without a visa, but I don't support harsh treatment either. Remember what Jesus said about at eye for an eye?

I hope that everyone wanting to prosecute to the fullest our undocumented residents also is willing to have the same attitude to all other "breaking" of the law -- speed limits come to mind.
It's also important to consider that Mexican law is based on Napoleanic law and one is guilty till proven innocent, and so the idea of breaking the law is considerably different to one coming from that background than to one who is innocent till proven guilty.
The lack of compassion, grace, or mercy as Christians discuss this disturbs me greatly. I do not encourage Mexican friends to enter the US without visas, but I surely understand why they do. And I pray that we can discuss and find a solution in a way that is both just and gracious/merciful.

Jesus said that whatever we do to the least of these, His brethren, we do to Him. That begs the question, then, who is the least? Is it the illegal immigrant? Would Jesus be asked for his papers? Or is the least the law enforcement put into an impossible situation with unrealistic expectations? Or perhaps, the least are those who assume they are the greatest, including those who imagine they have a right to be here. Any right we have was graciously bestowed on us by the same God Who created all people!

This is what Theodore Roosevelt said about immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907:

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.' Theodore Roosevelt 1907

I actually think it's a bunch of garbage if you think there is any kind of unity among evangelicals regarding illegal aliens. I know lots of people at several churches and not a single person I know thinks that the illegal aliens should be here, and we support the governor of Arizona 100%. I live in a northwest state. Jesus told people to obey their authorities, He didn't encourage anyone to break the laws of their countries. Is it really kind to them or us to run out of food and water because we are becoming overpopulated? Where are the environmentalists now? Have you seen pictures of the desert on the history or discovery channel from what has been done by these people crossing the border? Have you read how moslims are coming through the open border with Mexico? They simply dress like the Mexicans and walk right over. 7000-9000 every single day are crossing the border. C'mon you Canadians who were speaking up for health care in America. You take on these people and give them free care. Oh, that's right, it's only for Canadian citizens. You just expect US to give them free care, schooling, preferential college schlarships, you name it.

Maybe the writer of this article lives in Chicago and so isn't inundated with people who are insisting on using their own language, their own flags, having the Chicago prisons half filled with illegal aliens, your environment isn't being ruined by them, and your schools like New Trier High School aren't having to dumb down their classes for the Spanish speakers YET. Wait until it affects YOU. Wait until your hospitals are filled with people unable to pay, and expect YOU to speak Spanish, rather than they learn English. The midwest was originally settled by hard working Germans and Irish, and Polish people who quickly assimiliated into the American culture. Apparently you haven't seen the video of Mexican-Americans threatening to kill anyone who opposes them.

Has anyone checked into how much farmland is lost every year in this country? Have you checked into food and water shortages that are predicted? How compassionate is it to invite them to this country and not be able to feed everyone in the near future or have enough water? I know lots of people in lots of churches around here, and NONE of them are for having illegal aliens in our country, so I really doubt the author of this article did any research at all, or just asked people who had to give the pc answer.

If anyone thinks I am racist, I am NOT. I am like the other person who is affected by the influx of Russians. We only have so much food and water. We cannot accept everyone from Mexico, Central America, South America, Haiti, and whoever else you feel sorry for. Jesus said there will always be poor among us, I don't recall Him saying that the **government** should feed, clothe, house, and give medical care to them all.

Pretty soon we will be like Israel with bombs going off almost daily in cars and by suicide bombers who have crossed our borders and you're going to wonder why the government didn't do a better job of protecting you. It's because YOU are the problem and don't insist that the government protect us, and that immigration must be done legally.

Maybe the evangelicals with the warm, fuzzy feelings can read this article about the terrorists coming in from the border with Mexico. Illegals from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, and Yemen have all crossed the border too. They want us dead. Kind of takes away the warm, fuzzy feelings. That, along with the criminals and gang members from Mexico. We have a president who doesn't seem to care one whit about our safety, and a naive public that better prepare for attacks within our own country because we have been so lax. People need to be verified and come in legally for our own SAFETY. We are at war with terrorists who will go to any lengths to kill us. Do you even remember 9-11?

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/23434381/detail.html

We are at war with terrorists who will go to any lengths to kill us. Do you even remember 9-11?
Posted by: Barbara at May 18, 2010


Yes, yes I do remember! Eh,..Who was in charge then? Do you remember?

Everything and anything, can, should and ought to be questioned.

????

Salero, the mistakes in security date back to even before Bill Clinton's time in office and his administration didn't do anything about it either. Would you care to criticize him as well? As hard as it is to believe, not every problem in US history is George W. Bush's fault.

To all those who blame every problem on George W. Bush,

This is a pathetic argument that only serves to deflect blame from liberals. As many on here know, I'm far from a "W" fan, but it's getting ridiculous. I'm waiting for liberals to start blaming Bush for global warming, the recession from the 70s, the Great Depression, and probably the Black Plague. Oh, and did you know that he even caused the fall of the Roman Empire (note the sarcasm)? Blame for mistakes should be placed equally on ALL those responsible, not just on someone who makes a good scapegoat.

Well, both Joe Osteen and Rick Warren are in counties that have large illegal populations but they remain netural on the issue. So, not all christian leaders have come out in favor of it.

Personally I am not pro-illegal immigration although this issue is far from cut and dried.

Entering the country illegally is a class B misdemeanor only if they are caught and if they are not caught it falls under unlawful presence which falls under Federal CIVIL law not Criminal. We cannot and should not use deadly force for someone committing a class B misdemeanor. Should we start refering to those that speed as criminals or better yet should we start shooting them so there are less speeders on the roads?

This causes issues for enforcement. AZ law is concerning because even on the first page of the law they won't allow for anything less than prosecuting to the full extent of the federal law and the Feds hardly ever do that. Officers will abuse this law and the unintended consequenses of doing such will affect us greatly.

Barbara,
I'm from a NW state too, and I agree that most rank-and-file Evangelicals are very anti-illegal immigrant. That said, I'm an Evangelical and am for immigration reform, because Jesus loves all people, and commands that we care just as much about their interests as our own.

The US has more than enough food and water for everyone in the country now, but much of it is being wasted by wanton gluttony. "Live simply that others might simply live" applies here. This is also a clear example of collective and systemic sin, when children of hard-working parents die of malnutrition (because they cannot earn enough to support them) while the rich hide away in modern castles and do nothing.

But even if there were not enough resources to go around, as in parts of Africa, we should still pick up the orphaned children and feed them, at our own personal expense. Why? Because Christ commands it. That is what it means to live indwelt by the Holy Spirit: to love others as ourselves. (One of my dear friends became a Christian because he, a humanistic development worker, saw African believers sacrificing their own interests by literally doing this, adopting starving orphans and other selfless deeds.) When people see the power of the Gospel to put others above ourselves, explicitly in the name of Christ, they will stop and wonder, and want to know our Savior. This is not just about doing the right thing, this is about evangelism!