June 12, 2012
New 'Evangelical Immigration Table' Announces Mobilizing Strategy for Immigration Reform
More than 150 influential evangelical Christians across America, including Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, endorsed an "Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform" released on Tuesday during a press conference on Capitol Hill. Following the press event, prominent evangelical leaders delivered these principles to leadership from the Obama Administration, Senate and House of Representatives. At a time when immigration has become a partisan talking point for campaigns on both sides of the aisle, these Christian leaders are uniting to call on Democrats and Republicans to lead our nation to a bipartisan solution on immigration.
Evangelical leaders formally announced the creation of an "Evangelical Immigration Table" to advance a cohesive immigration reform message and strategy while building political will in the pews. The "Table" was more than one year in the making and represents an unprecedented coalition of evangelicals from diverse political and theological backgrounds. The leaders made the case that humane immigration reform should be a moral priority and told stories of how concerted outreach to evangelical churches and colleges is already shifting opinions on immigration reform among the evangelical grassroots.
The Evangelical Immigration Table ran on Tuesday a full page ad in POLITICO announcing their principles for immigration reform and listing the 150 evangelical leaders endorsing the principles. The Table also released a radio ad that will begin running next week on Christian radio stations in Colorado and Florida. Further ad buys and earned media work will target publications and geographic areas with high populations of evangelical and Hispanic voters.
To read the endorsement list of the Evangelical Principles for Immigration Reform and to listen to the radio ads, please visit http://www.evangelicalimmigrationtable.com/
The statements below can be attributed to the following Evangelical Statement of Principles signatories:
Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
"Evangelical engagement with immigration reform has substantially increased in the last two years. From study of the Bible's teaching about immigrants to concern for fixing America's immigration system, Evangelicals are saying 'this is the time' for immigration reform."
Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family:
"I signed on to this statement because immigration reform is more than an 'issue' to families — it profoundly affects their stability, structure and quality of life. I'm encouraged that more than 100 evangelical leaders, who have some pretty significant differences of opinion on matters of theology and public-policy advocacy, have come together to declare with one voice that our government must respect and balance both the rule of law and the God-given humanity of all people in working toward an immigration solution that puts principles ahead of politics."
"It's a tough challenge, but our nation was built on and has been sustained by meeting tough challenges. So we call on Republicans and Democrats alike to set aside their party agendas and work together for the public agenda and the common good."
Dr. Richard Land, President, Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission:
"The immigration crisis facing the nation touches every level of society. If we as a nation are going to resolve this crisis in fair and equitable ways, we must engage all levels of civic society, perhaps most importantly, people of faith. We are calling upon all people of faith to bring their faith commitment to loving your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31) and letting righteousness roll down like rivers of living water (Amos 5:24) to the difficult but not impossible problems of immigration reform."
Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:
"Evangelicals agree and disagree on many things but there are not many things that a group of Evangelical leaders this diverse can agree on when it comes to public policy. The unity we have found around these principles for comprehensive immigration reform is unprecedented. Many Christians are weary of the political polarization in Washington D.C. these days, and are ready to come together around biblically based and common sense solutions that cut across traditional political boundaries."
Reverend Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
"As U.S. Evangelicals we know that our immigration system is in urgent need of repair. We can't keep kicking the immigration challenge down the road for the next generation to respond. The National Latino Evangelical Coalition is so proud to stand with this unprecedented network of Evangelicals to call for our government, Republicans and Democrats, to solve this problem now. We can and should pass legislation that respects the rule of law and honors our moral commitments to love the immigrant. Silence and inaction are not options."
Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:
"At this time of political gridlock around immigration reform, a strong and clear moral voice is emerging from within the Evangelical community calling both Democrats and Republicans to fix our broken immigration system. It is a new day to get this done, for the sake of our immigrant neighbors, and for the sake of our own well-being as a nation."
Stephan Bauman, President and CEO of Baltimore-based Christian aid agency World Relief:
"In order to accomplish immigration reform, the Administration and Members of Congress must rise above the rhetoric and take courage; they must hold firm to the rudder of conviction, to what is right. Our leaders will be accountable to evangelical Christians of all backgrounds and colors to fix what has been fundamentally broken for years. Leadership that achieves real change in our immigration system will restore faith in a government which honors our heritage, serves its people, and works for the good of our nation."
Dr. Carlos Moran, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
"Our Evangelical optics require us to see the Imago Dei, the image of God in every human being; poor and rich, white and black, citizen and immigrant. Today, collaboratively we raise a clarion call as leaders of faith and followers of Jesus for all Christians and people of faith to repudiate political expediency and embrace a prophetic posture of compassionate justice. Justice that will secure our borders, our families, our values, hardworking God loving immigrants and the image of God in every human being."
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"The United States has a long and strong tradition of tax free housing allowances for our military and ministers. Let's expect that one judge will not be able to end this valuable way of blessing those who serve so many and are often paid so little. The Court of Appeals can uphold the present long term law."