October Prayer Partner: What Changed?
In the past few weeks, multiple polls have found that a strong majority of evangelical Christians (or, depending on the specific poll, sometimes just white evangelical Christians) are supportive of efforts to welcome Afghans who have been forced to flee the threat of persecution from the Taliban. Throughout the country, churches and individual Christians are mobilizing to welcome these new neighbors.
At the Evangelical Immigration Table, we’ve long been advocating to restore the U.S. refugee resettlement program and are encouraged by the broad support for welcoming Afghans and others fleeing persecution. We’re also continuing to advocate, particularly for the Afghans who – though fleeing persecution like any refugee – are not technically admitted to the U.S. as refugees and thus do not have a clear path to permanent legal status. We’ve seen the challenges faced by immigrants who are stuck in a perpetual “temporary” status for literally decades, without the certainty that they truly belong in the United States long-term. We continue to advocate for individuals who have been living and working lawfully for many years in temporary statuses to have the opportunity to pursue permanent legal status and eventual citizenship, and we do not want to see our new Afghan neighbors put in this same predicament. You can join us in advocating by adding your name to this letter.
Even as I’m encouraged by strong evangelical support for Afghan refugees now, though, I’m also troubled by a question I’ve had from multiple reporters: what changed? As recently as a year ago, other polls found that most white evangelical Christians wanted to dramatically restrict refugee resettlement.
I can speculate as to what has changed, but one dynamic clearly has not: the Bible, which ought to be our primary guide to responding to refugees. We’ve long known that relatively few evangelical Christians say the Bible is the primary factor influencing their views on the arrival of immigrants to our communities, but we believe it ought to be.
Toward that end, we have a whole range of resources for you and your church to address refugee and immigration issues from a biblical perspective: a 40-day Bible reading guide, the Thinking Biblically about Immigrants and Immigration Reform e-book and videos, sample sermon examples for pastors preparing to preach on this topic and many more. We hope they can be a tool to equip the U.S. church to engage immigration issues – and, more importantly, immigrants themselves – in ways rooted in God’s unchanging Word.
That’s also our prayer focus this month, asking God to give us – His church, in this country and in every country – His mind and His heart as we respond to the arrival of immigrants of various backgrounds to our community. You can join us in prayer in your own times of prayer and/or join us on Monday, October 18, at 4 PM ET for a virtual prayer gathering. If you’d like to join, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link.
National Coordinator, Evangelical Immigration Table
P.S. Later this month – from 3 PM to 5 PM ET on October 25 and 26 – my friends at the National Immigration Forum are hosting a free, virtual conference called Leading the Way, with a really fantastic lineup of speakers, including several coming from an evangelical Christian perspective such as World Relief’s Jenny Yang, Southern Baptist Convention president Ed Litton, World Vision USA president Edgar Sandoval, WORLD News Group editor Mindy Belz, David French of The Dispatch, Peter Wehner of the Ethics & Public Policy Center and various others. You’ll not want to miss it – you can register at no cost here.
The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.