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Category Archive for: "Statements and Press Releases"

PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Leaders Amplify Call For Bipartisan Immigration Reform With Radio Ads in Key States

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 3, 2013 — With members of Congress home for their Easter recess, leaders from the Evangelical Immigration Table announced today a new round of immigration ad buys on Christian radio in four key states: Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Texas. The ads are playing statewide at saturation levels.

The ad campaign further increases the Evangelical Immigration Table’s support for Congress to produce a new, bipartisan immigration process this spring. It also presages the April 17 Day of Prayer and Action in Washington, during which evangelicals will meet with legislators to demand action, as well as continue the biblically inspired reflection on immigration exemplified by the “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge.

The buy follows a successful ad campaign on Christian radio stations in South Carolina that led into the recess. Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., met with evangelical leaders in South Carolina, including the speaker in the ad, to discuss immigration.

The following quotes are from the speakers on today’s call.

Dr. Richard Land, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention:
“Evangelical Christians who listen to Christian radio tend to be well educated in the scriptures and politically engaged. Reaching them with this message about God’s heart for immigrants and the importance of immigration solutions rooted in biblical values will be absolutely crucial for building the political will we need to pass meaningful reforms in 2013. Our political leaders need to hear from our constituents and from their constituents and know that evangelical Christians are strongly behind them if they have the moral courage to act on the values we see in Matthew 25 and other places in the scripture concerning welcoming the stranger.”

Rev. Dr. David Uth, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Orlando:
“There’s a consistent message throughout scripture, and it’s a command to welcome and to treat fairly all people, but especially the stranger and the foreigner in your land. … When we fail to welcome the stranger, in essence we fail to welcome Christ. And so Christians in our church, when they learn about God’s heart for the immigrant and what the Bible has to say, their hearts are open because we are a people of faith and it is our desire to live out that faith in our world. Coupled with that, when they meet these immigrants, when they have personal encounters, all of a sudden this issue has a face, it has a story. And it’s in that meeting that transformation happens and has happened here for us. … We know that the time is now for this discussion.”

Rev. Dr. David Fleming, Senior Pastor, Champion Forest Baptist Church, Houston:
“We’re beginning now to see [immigrants as] ‘us’: We live together, we work together, we serve together, we’re all in this together, and the notion of welcoming the outsider and the stranger and inviting them in has been key to that. We see the immigrant as a person created in the image of God. They’re husbands and wives, they’re parents, they’re children. Oftentimes our broken immigration system causes great suffering in the homes and in the families and in people’s lives. … I believe and my experience has been here in Texas that conservative Christians and evangelicals are rising to support a biblical approach to this very complex issue.”

Rev. Nick Lillo, Lead Pastor, WaterStone Community Church, Denver:
“The Bible doesn’t give us a piece of legislation to govern our immigration system, but it does give us a framework and an approach on how we can think as Christians in a way that’s faithful and biblical. … I really didn’t understand the injustice of our immigration system or how convoluted of a process and unfair of a process it is, but when you start talking to people who are even in the midst of that, it just angers you, because it’s not treating them fairly or justly. … As evangelical Christians, we have to ask ourselves whether or not the way we think and feel and act toward immigrants as individuals, as a community, and as a country really reflects the way we think that Jesus himself should be treated. And we need to ask our elected officials to ask themselves the same questions.”

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:
“It is impossible to read the scriptures and not to conclude that how we treat the stranger and the vulnerable among us is very closely connected to the authenticity of our Christian faith … The focus of our effort as evangelical leaders goes way beyond politics. It’s about changing hearts around the nation, including changing the hearts of our legislators. … We’re a growing movement of evangelical Christians who are committed to supporting Congress and exerting pressure on our elected officials to make sure that commonsense, just immigration reform is a reality this year.”

**To listen to a recording of today’s call, visit http://tinyurl.com/Evangelical0402.
To listen to the ads, visit https://soundcloud.com/eit_1.**

PRESS RELEASE: Colorado Faith Leaders Call For Bipartisan Faith Solutions

FORT COLLINS, COLO., MARCH 29, 2013 — Today, Colorado evangelical leaders joined together at SouthGate Church in Fort Collins to discuss immigration from a biblical perspective. They spoke about the moral imperative to improve our country’s immigration process in a way that adheres to biblical principles and keeps families together.

One focus was the ongoing “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge, during which church members, pastors and elected officials are reading a passage of scripture related to immigrants daily for 40 days.

The following statements can be attributed to speakers at today’s event:

M. Daniel Carroll-Rodas, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Old Testament, Denver Seminary:
“My goal is to open these scriptures to pastors, illustrating that if we are Christians, we need to base our lessons on what the scripture says. The Bible teaches us to welcome strangers, and we must live that. We must make this a foundation for what we are communicating to our congregations.”

Michelle Warren, MPA, Colorado Immigration Specialist, Christian Community Development Association:
“Immigration is a biblical justice issue. As we learn to value people as equals in humanity, deserving to be treated with dignity and respect, we will look at all life and justice issues with new understanding. The Bible clearly spells out how we are to welcome the stranger among us, to care for and have compassion for them. As Christians we need to learn and practice the spirit of hospitality to the nations that are coming to our doors and not allow our politics and fear to hinder that spirit.”

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PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Leaders Plan DC Day of Prayer and Action at Key Moment in Immigration Reform Discussions

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 25, 2013 — The moment to fix our broken immigration system and restore hope to millions by passing immigration reform has arrived. On April 17, a unified evangelical voice will echo through the halls of Congress proclaiming a biblical vision for immigration reform that respects the rule of law, reunites families and upholds human dignity.

Evangelical leaders are planning their day of action as bipartisan leaders in the Senate try to reach final agreement on the elements of immigration legislation before their two-week Easter recess. At this critical moment in legislative negotiations, members of the Evangelical Immigration Table pray that all stakeholders involved can work toward a compromise. The hopes and dreams of millions lie in their hands.

WHAT: Evangelical Immigration Table Day of Prayer and Action on Capitol Hill

WHO: Confirmed speakers include:
•    Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill.
•   Dr. David Uth, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Orlando
•    Dr. David Anderson, Founder and Senior Pastor, Bridgeway Community Church, Columbia, Md.
•   Lee de Leon, Executive Pastor, Templo Calvario Church, Orange County, Calif.
•    Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief
•    Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World
•    Tim Goeglein, Vice President for External Relations, Focus on the Family
•    Rev. Sam Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
•    Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
•    Sandra Van Opstal, Director of Worship, Urbana Mission Convention, will lead worship

WHEN: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, beginning at 10 a.m. Daylong events will include a press conference, meetings with members of Congress and their staffs, and worship services

For questions, please e-mail media@immigrationforum.org.

PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Leaders to Push for Earned Citizenship

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 18, 2013 — Evangelical leaders today announced a statement of support for earned citizenship as part of broad, bipartisan immigration reform. The Evangelical Immigration Table’s call is rooted in the biblical values of human dignity and respect.
The conversation around immigration has changed among evangelicals and is changing in Congress, where leaders are hearing the call of evangelicals and others who are pushing for a road to earned citizenship. Evangelical leaders have continued to build momentum: They met with President Obama on March 8 to talk about immigration reform and are in the midst of a Christian radio ad campaign in South Carolina in support of immigration reform informed by biblical principles. Speakers on today’s call also noted the impact of the continuing “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge.

The following statements can be attributed to speakers on today’s call:

Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals:
“We’re pleased that all of the serious proposals that have been put forward for fixing our broken immigration system do involve having a way for those who are here in an undocumented status to come forward and identify themselves and then be able to earn permanent residency and eventually citizenship. … We want to see at the end of the day an opportunity for the folks who have been here, who have been working hard and contributing but lacking that legal status, to be able to eventually become citizens like the rest of us.”

Robert Gittelson, President and Co-Founder, Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform:
“All of our organizations [in the Evangelical Immigration Table], from the more progressive groups to the more conservative organizations, didn’t have significant daylight between us in how we felt about the issue of earned citizenship. We were unanimous in our conclusion that both from a moral perspective as well as from the perspective of our shared American values, we all felt that some kind of rigorous yet attainable pathway towards eventual citizenship was appropriate and just. … Aspiring Americans should be able to swear their oath of allegiance and fealty to our great nation [and] be able to assume the oath of citizenship. They should have an eventual yet unfettered access to the full pursuit of our shared American dream.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“The National Latino Evangelical Coalition is so hopeful that there’s strong bipartisan support, that the Evangelical Immigration Table, with evangelicals from all over the political spectrum and ideological spectrum, have gotten behind a legalization process that gives people a path to citizenship. We believe that now is the time, that the moral standard is being met … Many of our congregations are full of immigrants that just want to contribute to the American dream and contribute to the American economy.”

Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:
“As evangelicals we don’t believe there are second class images of God, and therefore we don’t believe in a second class status for people who are willing to follow an earned path toward citizenship. That’s very important to us. … We’ve been through a conversion on this as evangelicals, a biblical conversion, a relational conversion, and really a conversion about the future of the church. … Faith leaders can offer to political leaders both courage and coverage, sometimes, to do the right thing … we think that’s happening now and we’re very encouraged by the atmosphere on this issue.”

Jenny Yang, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, World Relief:
“We believe that immigrants will contribute to the social fabric of our country and really build upon the values that our country was founded upon. … For many in the evangelical community, we strongly feel like we should not create bad policy for the sake of political expediency that will only kick the can down the road, but we should address this issue once and for all and really create a permanent pathway for immigrants to earn the right to stay in this country but also earn citizenship as well. [Earned citizenship] makes social sense, it makes economic sense, and for those in the evangelical community, it’s something that we meaningfully embrace as something that’s an important part of the immigration debate.”

 

PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Leaders Launch S.C. Ad Campaign to Call for Bipartisan Immigration Solutions

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 13, 2013 — Today, the Evangelical Immigration Table announced an advertising campaign in support of immigration reform on 15 Christian radio stations in South Carolina. The advertisement, which will run at saturation levels for two weeks, features Spartanburg County Rev. Jim Goodroe, urging support for immigration reform based on biblical principles. Goodroe, who participated in the call, also co-authored an op-ed in today’s Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.

The Evangelical Immigration Table’s intensifying push to mobilize local and national evangelical support for bipartisan immigration solutions also includes the “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge, during which hundreds of evangelical congregations in 49 states are reading Scripture for guidance on immigration.

These efforts are building momentum as South Carolina legislators fill key roles in the evolving debate in Congress. Sen. Lindsey Graham is part of a bipartisan group of senators that is drafting legislation, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, whose district includes Greenville and Spartanburg, is the chair of the immigration subcommittee in the House of Representatives.

The following quotes can be attributed to participants in today’s call.

Rev. Jim Goodroe, Director of Missions, Spartanburg County Baptist Network:

“As I’ve gotten to know immigrants, their stories have been varied and shed light on two aspects of immigration. The first is that many of those who are here as undocumented immigrants came legally, but for various reasons it’s been hard for them to go back to their home country. … These are good people who have added so much to our churches, our communities, and our economy …

“[Regarding] the path to citizenship, we’re not talking about amnesty, which has no repercussions. We’re talking about those who are willing to take on the additional responsibilities and obligations of citizenship. … Even the path toward citizenship is tough but needs to be fair …

 

Rev. Trey Doyle, First Baptist Church of York, York, S.C.:

“I believe that through even the most basic and essential practices of the local church in gathering around the Bible to seek the truth of Jesus Christ, we can find answers, we can discover guidance and support of even seemingly difficult issues like that of immigration reform. I believe the radio ads will further solidify the growing base of support for immigration reform. Finally, I also believe the new kind of coalition we are witnessing, the new kind of coalition forming around support for substantial immigration reform, is illustrative of God’s kingdom on Earth as it is in heaven. The congregation I serve with, and I suspect Christians everywhere, count opportunities to participate in the continual unfolding of God’s kingdom — a blessing indeed. … This is about faith for us and putting that faith into action.”

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:

“The Bible teaching is changing the way evangelical opinion is being expressed on immigration. More and more leaders as well as people in the pews are beginning to speak out and say we want a just, humane immigration reform that will change the gridlock that has currently been dominating the discussion in Washington. … The campaign is rooted in our Christian faith and our belief that every human being is created in the image of God. …

“Once we get to know immigrants and their families and see who they are and the ways that they are contributing to this country and some of the very real challenges that they face, as Christians we are moved to really take action and to get involved.”

Dr. Richard Land, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention:

“This is an issue of conviction, it’s an issue of values, it’s an issue of bringing our biblical values to bear … We need to begin the process of stopping the pain and the suffering and the denial of basic human dignity that goes with a broken immigration policy. We believe this is an imperative for our nation. We believe that there is a comprehensive immigration reform package that can be passed, can be signed by the president, can be put into law … this year. Now is the time to do this. Those congressmen and senators who are standing up and going beyond the partisan divide to try to make this happen need to hear from those who support them …

“South Carolina is important both because Senator Graham has been part of the group of senators that have courageously been taking this issue on, working in a bipartisan manner with his Democratic colleagues as well as Republican colleagues in the Senate. … Lindsey Graham and Trey Gowdy and the other representatives from South Carolina need to hear from those who support them.”

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PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical, Other Faith Leaders Press for Immigration Reform in Meeting with President

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 8, 2013 — Members of the Evangelical Immigration Table and other faith luminaries met with President Obama today to discuss the need for commonsense immigration reform and the building momentum for it in Congress. The meeting took place as evangelical leaders and pastors encourage their flocks to reflect on the Bible’s words regarding how we treat our immigrant neighbors and mobilize in support of a better immigration process.

Evangelical leaders continue to support broad, bipartisan action as leaders in the Senate — four Democrats and four Republicans — develop legislation that will modernize and strengthen our out-of-date immigration process. The 40-day “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge encourages evangelicals to read a passage of scripture daily that relates to immigrants and pray for immigrants in their communities — and encourage their members of Congress to do the same. In addition, pastors are planning media campaigns in key states such as South Carolina to emphasize the urgent need for reform in 2013, including an eventual road to citizenship.

The following quotes can be attributed to faith leaders who met with the president today.

Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief:
“In our meeting, we reiterated the importance of the faith community in not just advocating for immigration reform but in being a bridge to provide services to immigrants if immigration reform passes.  We specifically encouraged the President to consider the implications of passage of reform and to partner with faith-based organizations in helping immigrants in the integration process, specifically by providing immigrant legal service, and English and civics classes.”

Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“I was very encouraged by the immigration reform meeting with the President today. He spoke clearly about his desire to see us achieve passage of legislation this year. While many details remain to be worked out, the big pieces are in place. Secure borders, workplace enforcement, legal status for undocumented immigrants who qualify, and a citizenship process for those who desire to be U.S. citizens are all within reach.”

Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration:
“Our collective faith groups are prepared to support just and humane reform of a broken immigration system. With the president’s leadership and cooperation between both parties in Congress, we can achieve this goal within the year. We agree with the president and bipartisan Senate leaders who are stressing the importance of a path to citizenship for the undocumented. We should not sanction a permanent underclass in our society.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Today’s meeting invigorated me with hope and optimism. The president’s resolve in conjunction with evangelical support facilitate the prescription for a comprehensive resolution addressing America’s immigration crisis. I am convinced that with prayer and prophetic activism we will live out Matthew 25 and welcome the stranger in the name of Jesus. The collective commitment to incorporate a pathway to citizenship as an integral part of any legislative solution secures a complete integration process. Both the president and faith leaders understand that citizenship must be earned, yet denying it will create a two-tier society attempting to live one dream: the American dream.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“Today’s meeting with President Obama is a clarion sign for Latino Evangelicals that immigration reform is possible. We need strong bipartisan leadership from Republicans and Democrats that finally creates a just and humane solution. Latino Evangelicals stand committed to see this through in ways that provide an earned path to citizenship while addressing any security concerns. Immigration reform now!”

Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:
“The building momentum for immigration reform is proof that it’s still possible to lift up the common good, and not just political ideology, in Washington, D.C. The faith community has called for political action on immigration for years and is encouraged to see the leadership the president is taking. President Obama made clear how high a priority immigration reform is for him and the White House and that the involvement of the faith community will be an integral part of ensuring it passes. If the bully pulpit of the White House and the pulpits of the faith community speak to the moral issues at stake in this debate, we can accomplish a genuine, bipartisan solution to fixing our broken immigration system. I’m leaving the White House today encouraged that it can and will happen.

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PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Leaders Applaud Senators’ Immigration Reform Framework

 

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release                                                             CONTACT: 202-347-0040

Evangelical Leaders Applaud Senators’ Immigration Reform Framework
Bipartisan Accord Reinforces Faith Values

WASHINGTON, D.C., JANUARY 28, 2013 — This afternoon, a bipartisan group of senators released a framework for broad immigration reform that includes a conditional path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The Senators’ framework emerges two weeks after the Evangelical Immigration Table, an unprecedented coalition of evangelical leaders across the political spectrum that launched in June 2012, launched the “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge.

These statements can be attributed to Evangelical Immigration Table leaders:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Now is the time for immigration reform. We’ve settled too long for a broken system, and now the nation is ready for changes that are just, reasonab le and compassionate. Let’s make immigration the issue where our political parties can come together and do what is right.”

Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief:
“We applaud the Senate’s courage and bipartisan nature in proposing a set of principles for immigration reform legislation. The principles include much-needed reforms to our outdated immigration system, and we urge the Senate to pass reforms that include an earned pathway to eventual citizenship, strong support for family unity, and provisions that would facilitate the integration of immigrants into our society in partnership with the faith-based community.  We hope this step forward by the Senate today will lead to a robust and open political process for immigration reform, one we can celebrate within the greater evangelical community. We look forward to working with members in both the Senate and House in coming months to address this critical issue.”

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:
“The leaders of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), which represents hundreds of local organizations working in immigrant communities throughout the nation, applaud the principles released by Senate leaders working to fix our broken immigration. The faith community is ready to stand by a proposal that respects the dignity of the 11 million men, women and children trapped in our current system, provides a fair integration into our U.S. society, and assures the security and prosperity of our nation. We are ready to work together to get immigration reform passed!”

Reverend Luis Cortés, President, Esperanza:
“We find ourselves in a defining moment, a moment when people of all backgrounds, political persuasions and religious convictions are acknowledging that we must solve this civil and human rights crisis in our country once and for all. We support this bipartisan effort and the immigration reform principles put forth in the senators’ proposal, and we thank those who are leading the effort for doing their part. May they experience the full support of a nation and a government ready to fix the broken system we have lived with for far too long.”

Robert Gittelson, President, Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform:
“It is encouraging that the set of principles released by this important and influential group of senators is very much in line with the principles that we have long been advocating for them to advance. Their outline is balanced and just. While we acknowledge that the ‘devil is in the details,’ we are optimistic that these reasonable principles will serve as a fair and broad outline that should hopefully lead to solutions that will once and for all solve the very intractable problems inherent in our broken and antiquated immigration system.”

Dr. Richard Land, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“Congress does not often exceed my expectations. But these principles, and this demonstration of bipartisanship by our leaders, certainly have. The senators have introduced principles for a bill that has a true chance of passing. I think they sense this is a real opportunity. Not only should we be encouraged but we should understand that this is truly what St. Paul would call a ‘kairos,’ or propitious, moment to be seized. The momentum needs to be used to pass significant and helpful immigration reform.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference commends and applauds the principals proposed by United States Senators committed to finding a solution to the immigration crisis. As a member of the Evangelical Immigration Table, the NHCLC stands committed to an outcome that reconciles conviction with compassion, security with integration, all while recognizing the image of God in citizen and immigra nt alike. Accordingly, while we continue to engage in prophetic activism, we also continue in our ‘I Was a Stranger’ prayer challenge. For we understand that prayer and activism result in one thing: justice in the name of Jesus!”

Dr. Carl Ruby, Vice President for Student Life, Cedarville University
“What excites me about this moment is the momentum that I see among evangelical university students. All across the country, young evangelicals are rallying around this issue. They see it as an act of living out their faith and honoring Christ’s call to minister to the marginalized. They view it through the lens of civil rights and they don’t want to be on the wrong side of history, as many white evangelicals were during the civil right movement. This is their moment to get an issue right, and that energizes their support for comprehensive immigration reform.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“The National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) and its 3,000 congregations are hopeful that the principles for immigration reform laid out in a bipartisan manner provides real hope to the 11 million women, children and men who remain undocumented. This legislation is an honest compromise that can move the nation forward in healthy ways.”

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel, and Chief Counsel, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“I applaud the bipartisan group of Senators working together to reform our broken immigration system. We need to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and provide opportunities for undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and participate in the American dream.”

Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:
“A bipartisan group of Senators has spoken: No legislation can be called immigration reform without a roadmap to citizenship. Creating a just and compassionate immigration system that meets the needs of the 21st century won’t happen overnight and it won’t be easy. For years the faith community has been calling for change, and we will be watching every step of the way to ensure that families are protected and the dignity of every one of God’s children is respected. We expect and demand nothing less. For us, this isn’t just a matter of politics, but one of faith and obedience to Jesus’ call in Matthew 25 for his followers to ‘welcome the stranger.’”

 

PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Leaders Launch Immigration Prayer Challenge

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release                             CONTACT: 202-347-0040

Evangelical Leaders Launch “I was a Stranger,” Immigration Prayer Challenge and Video
National Leaders, Local Pastors Ask Lawmakers to Consider Immigration through Biblical Lens
**Listen to a recording from today’s press call at http://tinyurl.com/iwasastranger.**

WASHINGTON, D.C., JANUARY 14, 2013 — As we prepare for a national debate on immigration policy, the Evangelical Immigration Table launched an effort on Monday to encourage Christians to think about immigration from a distinctly biblical perspective. The diverse coalition of influential evangelicals will reach out to political leaders and more than 100,000 churches for their “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge.

Leaders announced the launch of a promotional video featuring high-profile evangelical leaders reading from the 25th chapter of Matthew, from which the challenge gets its name. This coordinated effort of churches and Christian ministries summons legislators to allow biblical teachings to inform their views on immigration. The challenge invites individual evangelical Christians, church congregations, and legislators to read 40 verses of Scripture that relate to immigration and to pray that these passages will evoke the political will to create a just immigration system that better reflects Christian values.

The statements below can be attributed to the following evangelical leaders:

Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief:
“For years, many people have asked whether evangelicals care about immigration. The “I Was A Stranger” Challenge mobilizes thousands of Christians to take action on immigration reform. Evangelicals are serious about Scripture and its command to take special care of immigrants living among us. As people all across our country put immigrants first, we believe our elected officials will understand reform is urgent, moral, and biblical, and that they must tackle it early this year.”

Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent, The Wesleyan Church:
“The church was birthed in diversity 2,000 years ago and for 2,000 years God’s people have been speaking and acting on behalf of the vulnerable. God’s call compels us to action today on behalf of immigrants in our congregations and communities.”

Taylor Bell, Student, Samford University (Alabama):
“This prayer challenge brings us evangelicals back to the scripture, reminding us that we are called as members of the community of God to welcome the stranger among us. I know from my own experience as a student in Alabama that we have a long way to go as evangelicals on the issue of immigration, and this prayer challenge will provide the biblical foundation we need to get there.”

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:
“Today, we are launching a campaign to explore the teaching of God’s Word regarding our call to love the stranger in our land. Join thousands of Christians over the next 40 days to discover God’s heart for our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

Dave Gibbons, Pastor and Founder of Newsong Church and XEALOTS.org (California):
“Loving God and Loving Neighbors is the same as Loving Immigrants. They are all symbiotically related.”

Dr. Bill Hamel, President, Evangelical Free Church of America:
“As an evangelical, I am committed to not missing this moment in history where we can lead a movement for Biblical justice and compassion. Evangelicals sat on the sidelines in the civil rights discussions but we must not this time!”

Dr. Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland Church (Florida):
“As a pastor, I want my congregation to have a Biblical framework for addressing challenges, not a primarily political one. The most powerful motivation for us to find a good way to include people who are marginalized is to read scripture and try to follow its guidance.”

For more information about the challenge, please visit: http://evangelicalimmigrationtable.com/iwasastranger/

Follow the conversation on Twitter at #IWasAStranger or text Immigration to 877877 to connect to the Evangelical Immigration Table and sign up for the I Was a Stranger challenge.

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PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Leaders Call for Immigration Reform

For Immediate Release                                CONTACT: 202-347-0058

Evangelical Leaders Call for Immigration Reform in First 92 Days

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 13, 2012 — Leaders from across the evangelical community came together today to release open letters to President Obama and to the House and Senate leadership, seeking action on immigration policy. On a press call this morning, leaders discussed the implications of the 2012 election and their plans for harnessing the growing consensus in the evangelical community around reform.

The letters highlight why evangelical leaders are concerned about the current immigration system, lay out moral principles for reform and explain why leaders have called for reform in the first 92 days of President Obama’s second term. The letters state:

We are driven by a moral obligation rooted deeply in our faith to address the needs of immigrants in our country. Compassionate and just treatment of immigrants is a frequent topic in scripture. The Hebrew word for immigrant, “ger,” occurs 92 times throughout the Bible.

The letters call for balanced immigration reform that respects the God-given dignity of every person, guarantees secure national borders, protects the unity of the immediate family, ensures fairness to taxpayers and respects the rule of law, but also establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents.

The Evangelical Immigration Table, which launched in June 2012, represents diverse evangelical leaders from across the political spectrum, including The National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. A full list of partner organizations is available at www.evangelicalimmigrationtable.com, along with a list of more than 150 prominent evangelical leaders who have endorsed the Table’s principles for reform.

The group discussed their legislative and campaign priorities. The letters read, “We stand ready to support legislation that reflects Christian values and builds the common good.”

Full quotes from the members on the call can be read below:

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC): “This election season split our country, but today we come together in an unprecedented show of unity within the evangelical community: black, white, Hispanic and Asian. Our country needs a just immigration system, and Congress and President Obama must act this coming year.”

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals (NAE): “Immigration is not just a Hispanic issue. Immigration is not just an Asian issue, European or African issue. It is a Christian issue. It is a moral issue. And how our country chooses to handle our immigrants reflects the character of our entire nation. As a Christian, my faith calls me to be concerned for all my neighbors, whether or not they look like me, talk like me or even believe like me. My mother was an immigrant — we are a country of immigrants, and many of us are just a few generations separated from our families arriving on this nation’s shores. Immigration is an issue close to my heart because it is close to the heart of God. It is of concern to me because it is of concern to my neighbors.”

Dr. Danny Carroll Rodas, Immigration Spokesperson, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and professor at Denver Seminary: “There is a movement spreading and a new consensus on immigration is growing. The Evangelical Immigration Table has organizers across the country with CCDA, World Relief, NaLEC, Esperanza, and NHCLC working in states such as Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Texas who are all building out an infrastructure of advocates who are passionate about immigration reform. This work is built on the premise of relationships that cross ethnic lines and denominational differences. When people get to know their neighbors, they come to know the concerns and the struggles their neighbors face. As Christians, we are called to bear one another’s burdens. And that is what is happening.”

Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention: “The Evangelical Immigration Table is politically diverse. Not everyone on this call voted the same way on Election Day. But, we share some core convictions about the values our nation should reflect. We are united in the belief that all people are created in the image of God and worthy of respect and dignity, regardless of country of origin. We are fighting for the right of families to stay together, for business owners to have the ability to hire the workers they need and have a system that ensures fairness to taxpayers. We don’t need to choose between American security and treating immigrants who are already here with respect and dignity.”

Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners: “During the election we heard the media talk a lot about “evangelicals,” and what they were normally referring to was a political term. But when we use the word “evangelical” we are using it as a theological term. We are all united by shared belief the Christ has come, Christ has risen and Christ will come again — and that is good news for us all and the world. We stand ready and willing to work with both Republicans and Democrats who are committed to fair and just immigration reform. The country is hungry for its political leaders to tackle this challenge. They want to see a bipartisan win that shows we can work together as a country and move mountains.”

Full text of the open letters is available here. Audio of the call is available here.

www.EvangelicalImmigrationTable.com

 

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