More than 250 Local Evangelical Pastors Meet with Congress, Urge Votes on Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C.More than 250 local evangelical pastors from 25 states are on Capitol Hill to meet with their members of Congress and urge a vote this year on immigration reform.

Pastors attended a worship service this morning, and meetings are scheduled this afternoon with more than 100 rank-and-file members of Congress, most of them Republican. Today’s event comes on the heels of 17 local press events in 13 states over a 10-day stretch, at which pastors stressed the urgency for reform and highlighted their trip.

At a press conference this morning, leaders and local pastors from across the evangelical spectrum spoke about the urgency for action:

Eugene Cho, Pastor, Quest Church, Seattle:
“I was 6 years old when my family immigrated to this country. I am grateful not only for my parents’ sacrifice but for the hospitality of this amazing country. I am truly a grateful American citizen. I am in deep support of immigration reform — not only because of my personal story, but also because of the moral imperative given to us by Scripture. I am a pastor, not a politician, and I don’t like politics. But I acknowledge that we must engage politically because it is the only way to fix systems that impact people. So today I am here to tell our members of Congress that it is time to do their jobs.”

Rich Nathan, Senior Pastor, Vineyard Columbus, Columbus, Ohio:
“For me, immigration reform is not a political or partisan issue. It’s a moral issue and it’s a family issue. Our congregation has people from 120 different countries. We’ve seen married couples separated, mothers taken away from their children and fathers deported because of the broken immigration system. We need reform and we need it now.”

Paige Patterson, President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas:
“Immigration reform offers the finest opportunity we in the United States have had to put politics aside and do the right thing, for the right reason, at the right time. For all the criticism heaped on the USA, we remain the most generous and kind country in the world. With no hint at amnesty, with determination to have a republic ruled by law, let us wrap our arms around all the well-meaning people who have sought the umbrella of America’s protection and opportunity.”

John Perkins, Chairman Emeritus and Co-founder, Christian Community Development Association:
“Fifty years ago the African-American community longed to be heard, and unfortunately much of the evangelical community was not standing with us. However, I’m absolutely honored to be standing today with my brothers and sisters looking forward, recognizing that the urgency of the now is upon us. It is time for us to make a decision for immigration reform.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; and Pastor of The Lamb’s Church, New York City:
“Evangelicals believe that now is the time to cross the proverbial Rubicon on immigration reform. It’s the right thing to do. Every day there’s a delay, families, particularly children, continue to suffer. As a pastor and parent my urgent prayer is for a vote on immigration reform this year.”

Rev. Althea C Taylor, Executive Pastor, Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene, New York City:
“A society is judged on the treatment of the most vulnerable among them. Undocumented immigrants represent some of the most vulnerable within our society. As a nation anchored in caring for the inalienable rights of humanity, our moral compass is being tested by how we care for undocumented Immigrants amongst us. Ignoring the plight of undocumented immigrants speaks to the very fabric of our moral integrity as a nation.”

Bryant Wright, Senior Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, Marietta, Ga.; President, Southern Baptist Convention, 2010 to 2012:
“I’m here today because in 2011, the Southern Baptist Convention overwhelmingly approved a resolution on immigration reform. The leadership of the convention was concerned that so many conservative Christians were having their views shaped by talk radio and other news outlets, and we wanted them to come to a position shaped by Biblical teaching. Now it’s time to bring these Biblical teachings to our leaders in Washington, D.C., and ask for immigration reform this year.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform and #VoteOnReform.