The Common Good

Immigration: Unity, Morality and Common Sense

Sojomail - June 14, 2012

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Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis


Immigration: Unity, Morality and Common Sense

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Tuesday was a big day.

Nearly 150 evangelical leaders signed onto an “Evangelical Statement of Immigration Reform.” Signers came from across the spectrum of evangelicalism, from leading Hispanic evangelical organizations, to pastors such as Max Lucado, Bill Hybels, Joel Hunter, and Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family.

No, that isn’t a typo. Sojourners stood side by side with Focus on the Family to draw attention to the plight of millions who have been caught up in our broken immigration system. It was exciting to see such unity across the traditional political spectrum, which rarely happens in Washington.

Make no mistake, there are still big gaps in theology and politics among those in this group. But Tuesday wasn’t about politics. Rather we focused on the things we agreed were fundamental moral issues and biblical imperatives. This coming together to help fix a broken immigration system on behalf of those who most suffer from it is just what politics needs and could begin to affect other issues, too.

CLICK HERE to add your name (and if you forward to a friend you can get a free “Immigration Reform 2012” bumper sticker).

Instead of ideology, we came together because of morality and common sense. And that’s what leaders are supposed to do.

Here’s my statement from our press conference:

Big things don’t change in Washington first; they change in the nation’s capital last. You’d think that with all the lobbyists on K Street and the billions of dollars being spent, that Washington is the most important place. But this is the place where things don’t change, where politics maintains the status quo and the special interests maintain their own interests.

Things change when hearts and minds across the country change. Things change when social movements begin, when people’s understandings change, when families re-think their values, when congregations examine their faith, when communities get mobilized, and when nations are moved by moral contradictions and imperatives.

Things change when people believe that more than politics is at stake; but that human lives, human dignity, the well-being of moms and dads and kids, and even faith is at stake.

And when moral values change, culture changes; and then change comes to Washington.

The immigration system in America is utterly broken, and politics hasn’t changed that. Both sides, Republicans and Democrats, are responsible for this failed system. They are more concerned with their political bases and their votes than with the people and families whose lives are being crushed by a broken system.

There are two signs up at the border between Mexico and the United States. One says “No Trespass!” The other says “Help Wanted.” And 12 million vulnerable people have been trapped between those two signs.

But the Bible says that these people fall into the category of “the stranger,” and Jesus says how we treat them is how we treat him. They are not the political pawns of Washington, and many of them are our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. We have come to know them, and to love them: we’ve come to see how their families are being torn apart, and their lives are in great danger. And we believe that breaks the heart of God; and calls us to action.

Look who is here today: Christians from across the political spectrum. The NAE, Anglo churches and Hispanic Churches whom God has brought together, the Southern Baptists, Focus on the Family, Sojourners. Has that ever happened before?

We realize our work is stronger together than as individual leaders. An effort for immigration reform of this size and diversity has never been attempted in the evangelical community. In the months and years ahead, the principles we release today will serve as the basis of outreach and communications work across the nation.

Together, we will create a national groundswell for immigration reform by reaching out to our fellow evangelicals in the body of Christ, to students at Christian colleges and seminaries, and to our churches—both Anglo and Hispanic; because God is calling us to stand together now in faith, in truth, and in the power of the Spirit—which is even stronger than the powers of Washington DC.

Together we are much stronger than divided. We represent large constituencies of Christians across America—and we are here to tell our political representatives that it is time to shed your partisan behavior — and implement a moral and biblical imperative; fix this broken system and pass comprehensive immigration reform! It is time to transcend politics and do what is right.

Together, we make a prophetic announcement today. Washington will change on this issue. Washington will enact comprehensive immigration reform…. because the people of God have come together to begin that change in our own lives and our own churches. And every Sunday we pray, “Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on EARTH as it is in heaven. We mean that. Amen.

Add your name, sign today.

Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: A Guide for Economic and Moral Recovery, and CEO of Sojourners. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.

 

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 SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

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Top Stories:

Evangelicals push Congress for immigration reform
USA Today
Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, a Christian social justice organization, said passing immigration reform was a "moral and biblical imperative" that requires a critical mass of Americans supporting it to sway a gridlocked Washington. "Big things don't change in Washington first. Big things change in Washington last," Wallis said.

Diverse Evangelical Coalition Calls for Immigration Reform
CBN News
In a statement called the "Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform," The Southern Baptist Convention, Focus on the Family, Sojourners, and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference asked Congress to craft legislation that is tough but compassionate.

Evangelicals and Climate Change: What Does the Future Hold? (Pt. 1)
The Christian Post
Many evangelical leaders have signed the statement, including Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals and senior pastor of Wooddale Church, Eden Prairie, Minn.; Rob Bell, former senior pastor of Mars Hill, Grandville, Mich.; Andy Crouch, editorial director of The Christian Vision Project for Christianity Today; David Gushee, professor of ethics, Mercer University, Atlanta, Ga.; Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, Longwood, Fla. and a senior editorial adviser for The Christian Post; Brian McLaren, Emergent leader; Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action; Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners; and Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif.

"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.

 
 

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Witness for Peace offers the opportunity to join a delegation to Colombia to study in-depth U.S. militarization and how best to respond. August 1 – 10, 2012. Contact Thomas Long at 773-883-1003 or tlong340@gmail.com.
 

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