Thursday, October 29, 2009

Conservative, Evangelical Christians on Immigration Reform

On Oct. 8 the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) voted without dissent in support of cmpre-hensive, national immigration reform.  NAE president Leith Anderson rallied and solidified the troops to see this position paper and value statement adopted after a couple of years of intensive study. 

The U. S. Congress would do well to read the document. 

Here's a taste for your consideraiton: 

Immigration 2009

The significant increase in immigration and the growing stridency of the national debate on immigration compel the National Association of Evangelicals to speak boldly and biblically to this challenging topic. The complexity of immigration issues provides an opportunity to mine Scripture for guidance. A biblically informed position provides a strong platform for the NAE to make a contribution in the public square that will be explicitly Christian. Out of commitment to Scripture and knowledge of national immigration realities comes a distinct call to action.

Biblical Foundations

Discussion of immigration and government immigration policy must begin with the truth that every human being is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28). Immigrants are made in the image of God and have supreme value with the potential to contribute greatly to society. Jesus exemplifies respect toward others who are different in his treatment of the Samaritans (Luke 10:30-37; John 4:1-42).

The Bible contains many accounts of God’s people who were forced to migrate due to hunger, war, or personal circumstances. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the families of his sons turned to Egypt in search of food. Joseph, Naomi, Ruth, Daniel and his friends, Ezekiel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther all lived in foreign lands. In the New Testament, Joseph and Mary fled with Jesus to escape Herod’s anger and became refugees in Egypt. Peter referred to the recipients of his first letter as “aliens” and “strangers,” perhaps suggesting that they were exiles within the Roman Empire. These examples from the Old and New Testaments reveal God’s hand in the movement of people and are illustrations of faith in God in difficult circumstances.

Migration was common in the ancient world. Outsiders were particularly vulnerable. They stood outside the kinship system that regulated the inheritance of property. They did not have extended family to care for them in case of need. The Law recognized their helplessness and stipulated measures that served as a safety net. The motivations behind this generous spirit were that the people of God were not to forget that they had been strangers in Egypt (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33-34) and that God loved the foreigner (Deuteronomy 10:18-19). The New Testament adds that all believers are spiritual sojourners on earth (Phil. 3:20; 1 Peter 2:11). Christians should show compassion and hospitality to outsiders (Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:2).

The Bible does not offer a blueprint for modern legislation, but it can serve as a moral compass and shape the attitudes of those who believe in God. An appreciation of the pervasiveness of migration in the Bible must temper the tendency to limit discussions on immigration to Romans 13 and a simplistic defense of “the rule of law.” God has established the nations (Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26), and their laws should be respected. Never-theless, policies must be evaluated to reflect that immigrants are made in the image of God and demonstrate biblical grace to the foreigner.

To read the entire statement click here.



Chris said...

As of a week ago,Senator Chuck Schumer's attempt to claim overwhelming evangelical Christian support for his pending amnesty legislation has crumbled. His master plan was to use the staff and leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) to give the impression of near amnesty. But now it turns out that 75% of the NEA member demonations will not sign up for the pro-amnesty crusade. After the eruption in the pews with faxes, e-mails, phone calls, only 11 of the 42 NAE member demonations have been willing to sign on to endorse the NEA resolution that the NEA president presented in support of Schumer's "Comprehensive Immigration Reform."

Most of the demonations distancing themselves from the NEA position are clear they will continue to provide pastoral and other help to illegal aliens but do not see a biblical mandate to make them U.S. citizens.

c hand said...

Will America be strengthened or weakened by "immigration reform"? Will Mexico be strengthened or weakened by "immigration reform"? What kind of immigrant do we want? How many muslims?

Anonymous said...

Way to miss the point! Since it seems you missed it the first time:

"An appreciation of the pervasiveness of migration in the Bible must temper the tendency to limit discussions on immigration to Romans 13 and a simplistic defense of 'the rule of law.' ... [L]aws should be respected. Never-theless, policies must be evaluated to reflect that immigrants are made in the image of God and demonstrate biblical grace to the foreigner."

Larry James said...

chris, nice quote you pasted in. Whose words did you use? Be nice if you footnoted your sources.

Of course, all associations like NAE operate at the level of pastoral and denominational leadership. What individuals do or what single churches may do is always up in the air.

I called the offices of NAE and spoke with the person working on the issue. As it turns out, the 11or so denominations that signed the resolution did so because their representatives were vested with the authority to endorse on behalf of their faith groups without further deliberation. At the time the resolution was passed, the entire board of NAE voted unanimously and without any objection or dissent to support the document.

Those faith groups who need further authorization to actually sign their names to the document are currently working to secure that authority. So, it is not quite as your source characterizes it. Not surprisingly.

Anonymous said...

It appears that the NAE can be added to religious groups hijacked by liberal leadership. They follow in the footsteps of the Episcopalians and Lutherans who were also hijacked by a covert leftest leadership that left their memberships bewildered. Note that the NAE Board of Directors has issued the latest Immigration pronuncement unaided by the membership , and they have perveted the organization's original intent. Infiltrate and conqueor - is this part of the great Alinsky's program?

Chris said...

The leadership of the denominations looked like they were backing amnesty until the people in the pews heard about it, thanks to Numbers USA. After that, the leaders ran like scared rabbits and refused to sign the endorsement. Good luck on "securing that authority." It won't happen.

Anonymous said...

Read Larry's comments at least, Chris. Those who didn't sign, didn't have authority to sign, but none dissented. Those who had authority, signed. Quoting an organization like Numbers USA is frightening given the racism in their organizational history, present and DNA.

Anonymous said...

Chris and Anon 3:21 -

You are still off topic, as usual talking about process (or anything else) instead of substance. Please explain exactly what is incorrect about what the statement actually says concerning the Bible's view of "foreigners," or immigrants.

Chris said...

It's so funny, when a liberal loses an arguement, the other person is either a racist or off the subject. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:52, who made you the blog police?

Anonymous said...


What exactly did you "win"? You simply never addresed the issue: Is the NAE wrong about what the Bible says about immigration? A dismissive tone does not get you off the hook for a complete failure to address the real issue.

Anon 3:21/8:01:

I don't know what "blog police" means, but the whole point of having comments on a blog is to discuss the original issue presented. If someone is off topic, it is reasonable to point that out and try to elicit discussion about the actual subject at hand.

I happen to agree with the NAE and find their statements accurate. Chris and o-anon, you have yet to point out any actual error in the statement itself, you've just thrown around terms like "liberal" as though attaching that label obviously brings any discussion to a close. In Chris's words, "Nuff Said." Well, it's not enough said. It's nothing said.

c hand said...

What country is more hospitable to immigrants? It is simply a question of numbers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:57,

If you append radical to liberal, and throw in a little of Alinsky's manifesto,the leadership issue is clarified. If you would be so kind as to publish your "Rules for Bloggers', I'm sure that the pc crowd will fall in line. By the way,your commenting on my comments violates your policy. Penalize yourself accordingly.

Chris said...

Immigration is simply out of hand. If the stimulus bill created 850,000 jobs, it was offset by importing more than a million working age foreign workers. It makes no sense.

Immigration is condeming vast numbers of Americans to poverty, in addition to the immigrants themselves.

Chris said...

It should be noted that Jacob and his extended family were INVITED to live in Egypt by Pharaoh himself.