Southern Baptist Convention Reaffirms Support For Immigrants
June 13, 2018
DALLAS — The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) overwhelmingly passed a resolution affirming its support for immigrants and call for immigration reform during its annual meeting Tuesday.
The resolution highlights the importance of maintaining family unity, the need for a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants with appropriate restitutionary measures, and the importance of secure borders.
“I am grateful for the strong, unanimous vote of the Southern Baptist Convention in support of our immigrant neighbors and brothers and sisters in Christ. I am grateful for the way that churches all around the country are ministering to immigrant communities,” said Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “Now is the time for our country to act justly, to stop separating families, and to fix an immigration system that is hurting too many people in our country today.” The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is a member of the Evangelical Immigration Table.
The resolution also calls upon Southern Baptist churches to actively minister to vulnerable immigrants and denounces “any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation [as] inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.” A separate resolution, also passed Tuesday, specifically reaffirms a 2016 call for “Southern Baptist churches and families to welcome and adopt refugees into their churches and homes.”
The Southern Baptist Convention, which is the nation’s largest evangelical denomination, last passed a resolution calling for immigration reform in 2011. As Tuesday’s resolution notes, “after seven years of continued policy gridlock, there have been no substantive changes in the immigration system that would make it more just, humane, efficient, and orderly.”
Other leaders within the Evangelical Immigration Table added their support for the SBC resolution:
Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals
The Southern Baptist Convention got it right about immigration reform taking too long. Government hears pleas and debates recommendations but keeps postponing to future years while so many children and families keeping waiting.
Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“Southern Baptists and other evangelicals have long advocated for immigration reform consistent with biblical values of compassion, family unity, and respect for the rule of law. This new resolution re-affirms that evangelicals continue to stand with immigrants. In the midst of a number of troubling changes to US immigration policy, I’m encouraged that evangelical Christians are speaking up clearly for the dignity of our immigrant brothers, sisters, and neighbors.”
Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities:
“We commend our Southern Baptist brothers and sisters in Christ for their reaffirmation of the value and dignity of immigrants, their call for a just and equitable immigration system, and their encouragement for churches to serve their local immigrant communities. We pray Congress will act to fix our broken immigration system so that it reflects these values and most immediately provides a permanent, legislative solution for Dreamers — beloved children of God.”
Hyepin Im, President & CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment (formerly Korean Churches for Community Development):
“The Southern Baptist Convention’s resolution on immigrants is a powerful testament to who we are and what we are called to do as believers.”
Jo Anne Lyon, Global Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“I’m so grateful to the Messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention for this powerful resolution. I look forward to how we will all work together making this resolution a reality in the lives of millions of immigrants and refugees who will experience the love, hope and a future through the servants of Jesus Christ.”
Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Hispanic evangelicals — including many Southern Baptists as well as many in other denominations — are grateful for this very strong, unanimous resolution from the Southern Baptist Convention this week, clearly affirming both the urgency of immigration reform and the call on all Christians to extend God’s love to the immigrants in our midst.”