With Hispanic attendance at their churches rising quickly, many Evangelical Christians are coming out in support of immigration reform, one of the Obama administration’s top priorities.
Though some publications find Christian support for immigration reform surprising, such advocacy is actually fairly in-step with Biblical principles. The Bible is full of stories of “immigrants” like Abraham and Moses, as well as passages like Matthew 25:35: “I was a stranger and you invited me in.”
“The scriptures command us to take care of the immigrant. It’s not just one verse here or there, it’s a repeated command throughout the Biblical text,” said Matt Soerens, a lecturer on immigration from the World Relief organization.
Support for immigration reform among Christian conservatives has grown over time. MSN reports that in 2011, the Southern Baptist Convention called for a “just and compassionate path to legal status” for illegal immigrants along with securing the US/Mexico border. The Southern Baptist Convention boast 16 million members, and is the country’s largest Protestant body.
Additionally, a Public Religion Research Institute poll in 2010 showed that white evangelicals support immigration reform that would allow illegals to become Americans by a margin of 2-1.
“Some of them don’t necessarily see or acknowledge the changing demographics or the electoral merits of passing immigration reform, but I do think that many of these religious leaders could push them in that direction by really referencing the humanitarian interest, or moral argument,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, one of the country’s most prominent Hispanic evangelicals, said that helping illegal immigrants is a Christian duty, reports Reuters.
Evangelical Christians who support immigration reform are being asked to write “I am a Christian, a conservative and I vote. I want you to support immigration reform this year,” to their local congressman.
Are you surprised that Evangelical Christians support immigration reform?