The Common Good

Immigration Up Next For Obama, Baptists

Date: October 21, 2013

With the government shutdown over, Republican and Tea Party leaders say they are primed to battle President Obama over one of his top agenda items, one just as big as health care: immigration reform.

But any such campaign will feel be met with considerable pushback from American religious groups, including many Baptists.

“You will continue to hear CBF speak out,” Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, said about immigration reform at the state and national levels.

“Our participation with the Evangelical Immigration Table has been consistent and will continue to be,” she added. “I think you will see the whole faith community continue to speak on this.”

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.”

That group isn’t alone. Groups like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and individual activists working in U.S. border states are calling for reforms that would go far beyond most legislation coming out of the White House and Congress so far.

But they have their work cut out for them. Some Republicans and Tea Party leaders were declaring a give-no-ground opposition on immigration reform even before the shutdown ended.