Evangelical Leaders to House Members: ‘We’re not going anywhere on immigration reform”
WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 24, 2014 — The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention hosted a screening of The Stranger, a documentary film that explores immigration from a distinctly Christian perspective, for congressional staff on Capitol Hill today.
More than 1,250 screenings in 40 states have been scheduled since the June 4 premiere of The Stranger. Following today’s screening, Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President of Public Policy and Research for the ERLC, made the following statement:
“The faith community addresses this question from the moral perspective. We’re saying, let’s legalize these folks because they’re being abused, children are living in fear, and people are not living up to their full potential. The Cantor loss doesn’t make the need for immigration reform any less urgent, it doesn’t change the Bible’s thousands of years of guidance on immigration.
“We’re beyond the point of having to win this on principle or policy. We’re now just at the point of politics. We’re not going anywhere. The Southern Baptist Convention is going to continue to call for immigration reform until we get this done.”
Dr. Duke was joined by local and national evangelical leaders for a discussion on the moral imperatives for reform. They emphasized that for evangelicals, reform remains urgent:
Jon Ashley, Senior Pastor, The Presbyterian Church, Fremont, Neb.:
“I live and pastor in a community where immigration has really had an impact and has been a divisive issue. I’ve seen lives hurt, families torn apart, kids afraid that their parents aren’t going to be there when they come home from school. As a pastor my heart is aligned with God’s call to welcome the stranger and help those that are being hurt. Whatever the political climate is, the need for reform is still there. It just needs to get done.”
Pastor Patty Pell, Community Impact Pastor, Christ Community Church, Greeley, Colo.:
“I’ve spent a lot of time studying the legal codes of the Old Testament, which really show God’s heart for immigrant. Today, Christians are stuck between wanting to be law-abiding and caring for people, and immigrants are stuck there as well. The only way out is to reform the system. Someone has to decide to be courageous and do something because the public wants our members of Congress to act.”
Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“Pastors are the ones dealing with the brokenness of the system in families in our local communities. Faith leaders bring a moral voice, but they also bring the stories of dealing with the impact of our broken system. The House is in a special position right now to act on reform. And now the debate isn’t a policy question, it’s a matter of when. There is a real urgency to get this done, and if we don’t, the brokenness in our communities is going to continue and is going to deepen.”