Throughout scripture, Christians are called to give thanks for good things. Think of all the psalms that contain some version of “Give thanks to the Lord, for the Lord is good” — there are many. While we reserve our highest thanks and praise for God, we tend to understand these exhortations as a call to gratitude more generally. A spirit of thanks should guide our behavior with others, as it marks a humble spirit.
This month we at the Evangelical Immigration Table — a coalition of diverse Christian organizations devoted to working towards an immigration bill that embodies key Biblical principles — had an opportunity to put this principle into practice. Our success shows that people of faith are being heard.
After years of witness and leadership from the faith community on the biblical call to welcome the stranger, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill with a pathway to citizenship for aspiring Americans. The bill is not perfect, but the Senate worked hard to forge a compromise that will bring real hope and opportunity to undocumented immigrants across the country.
As such, the Evangelical Immigration Table publicly thanks these Senators for their courage. We reaffirm that Christians across the country are praying for moral, compassionate reform. And as the immigration debate moves to the House, we hope that each Representative will hear our prayers and receive our support as they consider various proposals.
On the eve of the GOP immigration summit, during which Republicans will determine their position and strategy on immigration reform, the Evangelical Immigration Table held a press conference with national leaders to strongly urge House members to find the political courage to move forward on commonsense immigration reform.
“We have forgotten to engage in conversation and instead have focused on throwing stones at arguments,” David Cooper, President and Head of School at Front Range Christian School in Littleton, Colo., said.
Mathew Staver, Chairman of the Liberty Counsel, agreed.
“[Immigrants] need to have an opportunity to make a choice…to be able to reach a point where they can obtain legal status,” he said.
Currently, hundreds of Evangelical Christians are expected to join in a day of prayer and action in Washington, DC on July 24, following the 92-day Pray4Reform challenge. During this challenge, people of faith across the country are taking a few minutes each day to lift up their political leaders in prayer as they consider the options moving forward. More than 25,000 prayer partners have signed up for the challenge since its start, and we welcome many more to join.
We are at a critical moment, one where we urgently need to fix our broken immigration system. The Senate’s passage of the immigration bill recognized that. As we turn to the debate in the House, it is right to give thanks and praise.
Janelle Tupper is Campaigns Assistant for Sojourners.