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Iowa and National Evangelical Leaders Send Letter to Presidential Candidates Regarding Immigrants

Des Moines Register Digital Ad Boosts Effort

DES MOINES, JANUARY 27, 2016 — In a letter today, evangelical leaders across Iowa are sending a message to presidential candidates to encourage a compassionate response to immigrants and refugees, as guided by Scripture.

Joined by five national evangelical leaders, the 32 Iowa signatories seek a biblical approach regarding immigrants and immigration. The letter is also featured in a digital ad buy: a takeover of the Des Moines Register’s Caucuses page.

“Immigrants are not just our co-workers but also our neighbors, friends and members of our church family,” the letter reads. “Having lived and worshipped together, we know them to be vital members of our community. When our immigrant neighbors are attacked with harsh rhetoric, we feel their pain.

“ … Scripture guides us toward a just and compassionate response to immigrants in our country. We encourage you to heed its words and get to know our communities. Come meet us and our immigrant neighbors, friends and fellow church members.”

The following are quotes from signatories:

Douglas Van Aartsen, Pastor, First Reformed Church, Ireton, Iowa:
“I support this endeavor because I believe that we as Christians are called by God to welcome the immigrant and to treat everyone with the dignity and respect that are ours, because we are all created in the image of God and find salvation in Jesus Christ alone.”

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“The Bible says a lot about immigrants and how we are to treat them. This letter invites candidates to begin with the Bible to develop our immigration policies.”

Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU):
“With the primaries approaching, it’s crucial that we engage with our political leaders on matters that are important to us through letters like this. The impact of our broken immigration system is something that is near to all of our hearts, as the people directly affected are our neighbors, classmates, students and fellow church members. Therefore, we must ensure our leaders understand that as Christians, we are called to both love the stranger and to uphold the law, and so we must work together to find solutions that meet both of these goals.”

Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC):
“Demagoguery or constructive conversations; that is the choice for today’s presidential contenders. As it pertains to immigration, Americans will no longer tolerate sound bites. Now is the time for a solution that will protect our borders and values. Now is the time for a Christian conservative prescription; one that stops illegal immigration while integrating those currently here in a manner that reflects the hopes of Ronald Reagan and the conviction of Jack Kemp. Now is the time!”

 

 

‘The Stranger’ to Premiere on GOD TV

Film Explores Biblical Response to Immigration

WASHINGTON, D.C., JANUARY 22, 2016 — This weekend, The Stranger will make its television premiere on GOD TV, a worldwide faith-based programming service on TV and online.

The film, which highlights the stories of three families caught in our broken immigration system, has been screened nearly 3,700 times in 47 states and Washington, D.C., since its debut in June 2014.

It will air tomorrow at 8:45 p.m. EST and Sunday at 1:15 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. EST, online as well as on television. The screening is part of the network’s broader focus on refugees, which includes a social media effort using hashtag #loveyourneighbour.

The Stranger challenges perceptions of what is the ‘typical’ immigrant story and shows how the strangers in our midst are also our co-workers, neighbors, classmates, and sisters and brothers in Christ,” said Liuan Huska, whose family is featured in the film.

Pastor Derrick Smith and his wife, Meghan, speak in the film about their involvement with the Kaleidoscope Multi-Ethnic Fellowship in South Carolina and about welcoming our immigrant neighbors.

“Christians have a unique opportunity to show the love of Jesus by welcoming the stranger among us,” said Meghan Smith. “The Stranger shows us how our faith can inform our politics and how scripture can serve as our guide for how to address the important issue of immigration reform.”

“While the rhetoric of fear dominates the political conversation surrounding refugees and immigrants in our country, it is more important than ever to have a biblically grounded view of the Christian necessity to welcome the stranger,” Derrick Smith said. “There are eternal ramifications. This film explores real stories that humanize the issue.”

The Stranger offers a stirring presentation of the biblical and human dimensions of our nation’s debate on immigration reform,” said Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President of Public Policy and Research for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, who is interviewed in the film. “Before you make up your mind about this important issue that affects millions of families, you should watch this film.”

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