Does Scripture call for amnesty?

Friday, January 18, 2013
 | 
Chad Groening, Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

Experts agree that a majority of rank-and-file evangelical Christians probably don't support amnesty for illegal aliens, even though many evangelical leaders are getting on the amnesty bandwagon.

In "Why evangelicals are the new partners for immigration reform," The Christian Science Monitor earlier this month reported that advocates of amnesty for illegal aliens have been trying to woo evangelical clergy and voters to their cause, emphasizing scriptural themes of love, justice, and welcome for strangers.

The article points out that in June of last year, the Evangelical Immigration Table was formed by diverse Christian leaders like Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and liberal Jim Wallis of Sojourners. Their goal: supporting immigration reform (a.k.a. amnesty).

Mehlman, Ira (Federation for American Immigration Reform)Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), tells OneNewsNow these evangelical leaders believe they are being compassionate.

"On the surface, there is some appearance of that," he admits. "But when you get to the root of it, they are being compassionate with other people's resources -- and I don't know any moral or ethical code that allows you to be compassionate with somebody else's job, with somebody else's money, with somebody else's child's education."

But while these church leaders may support amnesty, he says that does not necessarily mean their parishioners do.

"The fact that the church leadership may be taking a position doesn't necessarily mean that the rank-and-file also believe in those positions," Mehlman contends.

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Tooley, Mark (IRD)Evangelical elite providing cover

Mark Tooley of The Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD) adds that though liberal clergy are citing scripture to support amnesty for illegals, he agrees with the FAIR spokesman -- a majority of the Church is not buying it.

A popular verse within the movement is Matthew 25:43, which reads, "I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me." Other passages also deal with treatment of people from foreign lands.

"Do these evangelical elites actually represent most evangelicals, whom polls show are the religious demographic most resistant to ideas about legalizing current illegal immigrants?" Tooley wonders. "But at the very least, these evangelical elite do provide some level of political cover to those who are advocating so-called 'immigration reform.'"

As the IRD spokesman points out, the Bible does not give specific guidance on what U.S. immigration law should be in the year 2013.

"So I think it is unfair for Christians on any side of the political spectrum to try to claim that there is a specific and certain Christian political viewpoint on U.S. immigration law," he submits.

Tooley tells OneNewsNow there is no indication in the Bible that Israel allowed anyone and everyone to relocate to their land without following a legal process. And he feels the issue is a distraction at a time when evangelicals need to focus on other issues such as marriage, pro-life, and religious liberty.

Mehlman believes the primary motivation of pro-amnesty church leaders is to fill the pews and the offering plates.

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