The Common Good

Immigration reform gets personal for evangelicals

Date: April 11, 2013

Jim Wallis, the evangelical founder of the anti-poverty group Sojourners, said some Christians have seen a passage from the Gospel of Matthew in a new light. It includes the verse that reads: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

He said a “biblical conversion” is occurring, along with a relational one.

“When you worship with people, you get to know them and you get to know their lives and their families and their kids and so stereotypes go away,” said Wallis, author of the new book, “On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good.” “And you understand who they are and that changes you.”

Evangelical leaders are hoping to use newfound support to galvanize Congress. Scores of pastors are meeting with legislators in their home districts and in Washington, urging them to take the “I Was A Stranger” challenge and study related Bible verses for 40 days.