Associated Baptist Press Press Items
President Obama has nominated law professor and Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will be charged with promoting religious freedom around the world.
The Evangelical Immigration Table, which includes voices ranging from the Southern Baptist Convention to the National Association of Evangelicals to Sojourners, calls for immigration reform that.
Other lead signers included David Beckman of Bread for the World, Richard Killmer of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Sayyid Syeed of the Islamic Society of North America, David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Jim Wallis of Sojourners.
Tomorrow I will attend my first board meeting for Sojourners. This new role reflects my own ongoing commitment to evangelical Christianity, 24 years after I joined the staff of Evangelicals for Social Action and first encountered the evangelical world outside of the Baptist South. Both ESA and Sojourners actually predated, and opposed, the Christian Right. Both have always offered a “peace-and-justice” type evangelicalism, and both were among the first evangelical organizations to embrace moral agendas such as peacemaking, urban poverty, gender equality, racial justice and creation care, rooted in a passionate love of Christ and love for those Christ loved. Both embody what I find a compelling Christian vision.
Others signing the letter included Paul Basden and Jim Johnson, pastors of Preston Trail Community Church in Frisco, Texas; Roger Olson, Foy Valentine Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics at Baylor University; Chris Seay, pastor of Ecclesia in Houston; Shaine Claiborne of The Simply Way in Philadelphia; Fisher Humphreys, retired professor at Samford University; Christian author Brian McLaren; Sojourners founder Jim Wallis; and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, associate pastor of St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, N.C.
The Table brings together broad range of Christian groups, including theological liberals like Sojourners and conservative ones like the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. The organization says participants are united in “advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.”
“These immoral cuts are incongruent with the shared values of our nation,” Wallis added in a letter Sept. 9. “They demonstrate the triumph of political ideology and self-interest over sound public policy and concern for the general welfare.”
Jim Wallis of Sojourners, a leader in the broad-based Evangelical Immigration Table that coordinated the Pray4Reform Day of Prayer and Action, said evangelicals have been “converted” on the immigration issue by the Scriptures, the witness of Hispanic brothers and sisters in Christ and “the future of the church.”
In his recent lament over the Trayvon Martin tragedy, evangelical leader Jim Wallis implored: “If there ever was a time that demonstrated why racially and culturally diverse congregations are needed — that time is now.”
Christian leaders across the country released a pastoral letter July 18 urging Congress to make hungry and poor people a priority in negotiations over a new federal budget.