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
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).
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
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.
Evangelical elite providing
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
"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
"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
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.