Evangelicals evolve on immigration
The Wall Street Journal ran this article about evangelical attitudes on immigration on the front page today. The placement tells me that a) shifting views among conservative Christians are surprising and b) what these believers think (and how they vote) matters. Some 300 evangelical leaders will gather in Washington next week to lobby lawmakers to overhaul immigration policy.
In some cases, according to the article, pastors who advocated a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants wound up alienating their flock. But it sounds like more people in the pews are coming around and seeing the immigration dilemma through a new biblical lens. Welcoming the stranger, helping the needy, doing what Jesus might have done.
The reporter also notes a more practical incentive:
[The evolving position on immigration]comes as many evangelical churches, much like the Republican Party, see an opportunity to add members from the swelling Hispanic population.
Of course, there are many, many evangelical conservative types who reject the biblical argument for amnesty. Texas U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith makes this pointed remark:
“The Bible contains numerous passages that do not necessarily support amnesty and instead support the rule of law,” he said. “The Scriptures clearly indicate that God charges civil authorities with preserving order, protecting citizens and punishing wrongdoers.”
Don’t get me started on all the vile laws Smith’s God has charged authorities with upholding. But it’s true that the Bible can be used to justify or condemn illegal immigration.
Another observation in this rather disjointed post: The online comments on the WSJ piece were pretty nasty. An example:
Let’s just take every barefoot beggar the world has to offer, sign them up for food-stamps, housing assistance, Welfare & cell phones; hope they get enough to qualify for an auto loan, and call it a day.