Christianity Today Press Items
During an hour-long meeting on Friday, President Barack Obama told religious leaders that he hopes Congress will approve a comprehensive immigration reform bill within the next several months.
A notable coalition of Christian leaders is urging the federal government to avoid allowing "hungry and poor people" to fall through the cracks as spending cuts, scheduled to start Friday, could force the reconsideration of funds for certain welfare programs.
Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:
“A bipartisan group of Senators has spoken: No legislation can be called immigration reform without a roadmap to citizenship. Creating a just and compassionate immigration system that meets the needs of the 21st century won’t happen overnight and it won’t be easy. For years the faith community has been calling for change, and we will be watching every step of the way to ensure that families are protected and the dignity of every one of God’s children is respected. We expect and demand nothing less. For us, this isn’t just a matter of politics, but one of faith and obedience to Jesus’ call in Matthew 25 for his followers to ‘welcome the stranger.’”
Sojourners president Jim Wallis said the elections were not a disaster for evangelicals per se, just those who "had again tied their faith to the partisan political agenda of the Republican Party."
Wallis wants evangelicals to be defined by their faith, not their politics. "Evangelical," said Wallis, is too often equated with "conservative white evangelical."
Just one week after the U.S. presidential election raised concerns about the Republican Party's ability to appeal to minority voters, Christian organizations are expressing new and renewed interest in Hispanics.
“The announcement from the White House today is very good news for 1 million young people who have a dream of staying in the country where they have lived most of their lives. Instead of being placed in the deportation pipeline, they will receive work permits enabling them to contribute to the nation and help build America’s future,” Sojourners president Jim Wallis said.
However, several changes among leadership and priorities have paved the way for other leaders connected with evangelical institutions to take a stance. Other names included Max Lucado, Russell Moore, Margaret Feinberg, J.D. Greear, and Timothy George. Organizations included World Relief, Bread for the World, the Southern Baptist Covention's Ethics & Public Policy Center, Esperanza, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and the National Association of Evangelicals. Daly could not attend the gathering of several evangelical organizations on Tuesday, but longtime Focus staffer Tom Minnery will join the release. On Monday, Daly spoke with CT about why he signed the statement and what it means for the organization.
More than 100 evangelical leaders, including Focus on the Family's Jim Daly, signed a statement listing the values that they say should guide immigration policy. The Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform is not a policy proposal with specific recommendations, however. Instead, the statement lays out broad parameters that the signers believe should guide the debate over immigration reform.
Leaders from Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, World Relief, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, Sojourners, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the World Evangelical Alliance, the Christian Community Development Association, the NAE, and other prominent faith-based groups sent an open letter to Congress opposing the new provisions.
And secular elites aren't the only ones writing social conservatism's obituary, or lamenting its influence. Liberal evangelicals like Jim Wallis insist that younger evangelicals have moved beyond abortion and gay marriage to matters of immigration and economic justice. Many main-stream Republicans complain that social conservatives hold the party hostage to a divisive agenda. Happy to court social conservative votes, they sweep social conservative causes under the political rug once victory has been attained.