Faith leaders approach immigration reform with spiritual values

Christian leaders throughout America visited the White house earlier this week to discuss immigration reform with the leadership of other faiths. President Barack Obama was present and patiently listened to why these leaders support immigration reform. The political issue is quickly becoming a rallying point for people of various religious faiths, but for Christians in particular.

Advocating immigration reform through Christian beliefs
According to a 2008 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than 78 percent of Americans adhere to the Christian faith. Latinos account for almost a third of the Catholic population in the U.S., and arguably have the most at stake concerning immigration reform. It should come as no surprise then, that many Christian leaders are doubling their efforts to reach out to their political counterparts. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, the second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with Dr. Noel Castellanos of the Christian Community Development Association in Chicago and Dr. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tenn., met with President Barack Obama to discuss immigration reform and what it might mean for their constituents. According to Uchtdorf, there is much work to be done, but people should not lose hope.

“There are many programs and actions that the president or the administration is standing for, for which we have opposing views,” Uchtdorf told reporters. “… We hope that this time around the communities and the nation pull together and find a solution to this problem, which could be resolved in a Christian … way.”

Combining Easter celebrations with immigration reform discussions
In the Tampa Bay area, the Evangelical Immigration Table sought to transition from Easter celebrations to a forum on immigration reform based on religious values. According to Augustin Quiles, the Director of Community Engagement for the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, the gathering was developed to share the spiritual ideals of Christianity with those interested in immigration reform.

“We believe that as Christians we have a moral responsibility to protect our families, protect their immediate families, protect their God-given dignity, that’s what we’re here to support,” Quiles told CL Tampa Bay.