Evangelists launch immigration ad campaign

Evangelicals in North Carolina, Texas, Colorado and Florida are taking a Biblical approach to immigration. On April 2, a coalition of evangelical Christian groups launched radio ads aimed to educate the faithful on the Bible’s point of view on immigrants. The ads are sponsored by the Evangelical Immigration Table, and members told reporters that they do not mention specific lawmakers. Instead, the ads stress that key policymakers back a comprehensive immigration reform policy.

“The Bible speaks clearly and repeatedly to God’s concern for the immigrant, guiding the Christ-follower toward principles that we believe should inform both the interpersonal ways that we interact with our immigrant neighbors and the public policies that we support,” read the Evangelical Immigration Table’s website.

Rev. David Fleming, senior pastor for Champion Forest Baptist Church of Houston, told ABC that immigrants are in a system “isn’t working.” He also said that the way immigrants are treated now is like “political footballs.”  Fleming stressed to ABC that policymakers should view immigrants as equals.

“These folks speak English, they work hard, they pay taxes,” Fleming said, according to ABC News. “They are great neighbors, they are friends of ours.We live together, we work together, we serve together. We are all in this together. We see the immigrant as a person created in the image of God.”

One reason for the push among evangelical leaders could be the strong shift toward representation of Hispanics in their churches. According to ABC News, in a 2012 Pew Hispanic Poll, 13 percent of U.S. Hispanics identify as evangelical, second to Catholicism.

The Evangelical Immigration Table, with leaders including the National Association of Evangelicals and Bread for the World, is also organizing a “Day of Prayer and Action” in Washington, D.C., on April 17 that will include meetings with members of Congress. The coalition is not lobbying for a specific piece of legislation, but wants a path to citizenship for those immigrants who are living in the United States illegally.