Where do evangelicals stand on immigration and the National Question?
As an evangelical Christian myself, I don't intend for my immigration activism to conflict with my faith. And I don't believe it does.
It's an important question for the patriotic immigration reform movement.
After all, evangelicals comprise approximately a quarter of the electorate.
To get as many evangelicals with us as possible would be highly advantageous.
Sad to say, the leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals (hereafter referred to as the NAE), representing 40 denominations with memberships totaling 30 million, has gone over completely to the other side.
On Oct. 8th, 2009, the NAE adopted a resolution calling for "comprehensive immigration reform"—the code word for amnesty.
The NAE drafted a document entitled IMMIGRATION 2009. This document just serves up the same old, tired secular Open Borders rhetoric. But since it's written by evangelicals, it wraps these arguments in arguments supposedly based on the Bible and Christian doctrine. I say "supposedly" because their arguments twist Christian doctrine to make it appear to support their agenda.
Rather than subject the reader to the complete IMMIGRATION 2009 (which can be read in its entirety online for those so inclined), let's hit some of the low points. For example, it says:
"Discussion of immigration and government immigration policy must begin with the truth that every human being is made in the image of God…
"Immigrants are made in the image of God and have supreme value with the potential to contribute greatly to society."
Yes, the doctrine that Man is made in the image of God is a key Biblical doctrine—and so is that of the Fall of Man.
But how does that doctrine prove that we need amnesty? It just doesn't.
After all, everybody is made in the image of God – and not only the much-celebrated illegal aliens.
Aren't American citizens also made in the image of God? Aren't unemployed Americans, Americans who get murdered by illegal aliens, and Americans who are killed by illegal alien drivers?
The NAE is just twisting a basic Christian doctrine to make people feel guilty for opposing illegal immigration. It's sort of a religious equivalent of the phony "nation of immigrants" argument.
The NAE document follows with a list of examples from the Bible, none of which remotely proves its point. It's just more slipshod logic dressed up in piety. Then it has the gall to say this:
"The Bible does not offer a blueprint for modern legislation, but it can serve as a moral compass and shape the attitudes of those who believe in God. [So why are you even drafting this statement?]…policies must be evaluated to reflect that immigrants are made in the image of God and demonstrate biblical grace to the foreigner."
This is just more misuse of Biblical doctrine to promote illegal immigration. Regarding "biblical grace" being extended to "the foreigner", it's not really the job of the government to extend grace—that's the prerogative of God and the Church. Christian charity should not be confused with welfare, confiscatory taxation and Affirmative Action.
Here's more rhetoric from the NAE document:
"Immigration is a worldwide phenomenon. People migrate due to economic globalization, armed conflicts, and a desire to provide for their families. The United States of America is a country founded by immigrants….Immigrants will continue to be an essential part of who we are as a country…." Etc.
It's just the standard boilerplate used to justify mass immigration, just as misleading in an "evangelical" document as it is in a secular document.
The NAE seems woefully out of touch with the labor realities of the country. In a time when millions of Americans are out of work, it has the gall to say that
"…many jobs and industries rely on immigrant workers. Current quotas do not grant enough visas to meet these needs, nor does federal immigration law provide sufficient opportunities to others who also come seeking gainful employment."
It's the old "If-we'd-just-let-in-more-immigrants-then-nobody-would-come-here-illegally" argument, a specious one if there ever was one. The appetite grows with the eating, and the more people we let in, the more of their friends and relatives want to come here too. It's time to shut the gates!
Then there is the evangelism argument:
"Immigrant communities offer a new, vibrant field for evangelism, church planting and ministry. Denominations have launched efforts to bring the gospel to these newcomers, establish churches, and train leaders for immigrant believers."
Have these NAE guys never heard of Christ's Great Commission, which commands Christians to "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…"—not Bring all nations into your country?
Then there's this familiar argument:
"Millions of immigrants also come from Christian backgrounds. These brothers and sisters in Christ are revitalizing churches across the country and are planting churches and evangelizing."
"Revitalizing"? Wait a minute! Haven't I heard that same argument in a secular context – that immigrants are "revitalizing" our cities, and our country?
From a Christian perspective, if you want to revitalize your church or evangelize others, then how about revitalizing and evangelizing the people who are already here—rather than encouraging the importation of millions of foreigners to displace your own people?
And what about evangelicals in Mexico and other countries? Don't they have a responsibility to their own countrymen?
Finally, after all the clichés and bad logic under a thin veneer of piety, the NAE presents its "Call to Action", in which the NAE "calls for the reform of the immigration system". Not only does the NAE want amnesty, it wants higher immigration levels:
"That the government establish more functional legal mechanisms for the annual entry of a reasonable number of immigrant workers and families."
And oh yes, the family….
"That the government recognize the central importance of the family in society by reconsidering the number and categories of visas available for family reunification, by dedicating more resources to reducing the backlog of cases in process, and by reevaluating the impact of deportation on families."
It's the old and tired "family reunification" argument. Well, if these people were really concerned about family unification they would have stayed in their home countries, where they can always be reunited—if that's really what they want.
And of course…
"That the government establish a sound, equitable process toward earned legal status for currently undocumented immigrants, who desire to embrace the responsibilities and privileges that accompany citizenship."
Amnesty, in other words. And…
"That the government legislate fair labor and civil laws for all residing within the United States that reflect the best of this country's heritage."
We already have fair labor laws, but the cheap labor profiteers don't want to obey them.
And one more quote, if you can stand it:
"That immigration enforcement be conducted in ways that recognize the importance of due process of law, the sanctity of the human person, and the incomparable value of family."
How about treating illegal aliens in a humane manner as we deport them back to their families in Mexico?
To summarize, the NAE resolution is bad doctrine, distorts the Bible and just rehashes the same old slogans and guilt trips used to promote illegal immigration.
Evangelicals shouldn't fall for it.
But the NAE has done more than churn out this resolution. NAE president Leith Anderson (photo here , email here ) testified before Congress at the invitation of New York Senator Chuck Schumer (who has a D- grade in his Numbers USA evaluation).
Anderson said that the NAE's 75-member board adopted the resolution unanimously.
And, in the past few months, the NAE amnesty campaign has continued
On January 26th, the NAE participated in "prayer vigil events to call for comprehensive immigration reform" in 6 U.S. cities
On January 28th, the Washington Post, which publishes a regular column by Galen Carey, the NAE's Director of Government Affairs, ran one entitled Why Evangelicals Want Immigration Reform This Year.
On February 10th, Galen Carey participated in a much-publicized teleconference kicking off the "Together, Not Torn: Families Can't Wait for Immigration Reform" campaign. The goal is to collect over a million "pro-reform" postcards to send to Congress. Congressional co-conspirators include Yvette Clark (F grade from Numbers USA) and Mike Honda (F- grade).
It sounds like the NAE is gung-ho for amnesty. Does that mean that the NAE speaks for all of us?
On the contrary, on an issue like this it's highly doubtful that any one group or leader could speak for all evangelicals.
The idea that evangelicals all march in lockstep and robotically follow orders from Evangelical Central might be an effective left-wing fundraising tactic. But anybody familiar with the evangelical world should know it's unlikely.
There is no equivalent of an evangelical Pope (not that all Catholics obey the Pope anyway!). Evangelicals don't all belong to the same church, but many churches.
In fact, the American evangelical world is one of endlessly multiplying and dividing denominations, non-denominations, independent churches and ministries. When individual evangelicals don't agree with something in their congregation, they will often just quit and join another. Church splits often result in the formation of a new congregation. Even when two denominations merge, the result is often three denominations instead of one, since there is a group in each merging church that refuses to go along with it.
My church, for example, has autonomous congregations and no central headquarters. So it would be impossible to formulate an official statement for or against any such resolution.
So for the NAE to claim some sort of authority to speak for all American evangelicals is rather preposterous.
Not only that, but even within the NAE everybody doesn't agree with the amnesty.
It's noteworthy that of the 40 denominations in the NAE, the leadership of only 13 of them supported the Amnesty Resolution. (Click here to see if your denomination's leadership supports it, and if you disagree, send them a message.)
The resolution was also endorsed by 16 individuals and 4 organizations. Two of the supporting organizations were the Bilingual Christian Fellowship and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC). This latter group is led by Latino supremacist Samuel Rodriguez, who believes Hispanics are better Christians than non-Hispanics. (See Hispanic Evangelicals Flunking National Question?).
Some NAE denominations repudiated the Resolution. As reported in NAE Members Rebel Against Immigration Resolution, The Charlotte World, Oct. 24, 2009:
"… several of the member denominations have since issued statements saying they do not agree with the resolution. A church official with one member denomination said he had received 'hundreds of letters' protesting the NAE immigration resolution."
Denominations rejecting the resolution include:
And you can't exactly accuse the Salvation Army of not caring for the poor, now can you?
Just two months after the NAE resolution, The Center for Immigration Studies released an interesting study entitled Religious Leaders vs. Members: An Examination of Contrasting Views on Immigration, [Steven S. Camarota, CIS, December 2009].
This article outlines the results of polling indicating the immigration views of four American religious groups: Jews, Catholics, Mainline Protestants and Born-Again Protestants (evangelicals).
This research indicated that born-again Protestants are more opposed to amnesty and mass immigration than the population at large. It consisted of six questions.
Question One: Putting aside the question of legal status for a moment. and focusing only on the totals, is the number of immigrants entering the country each year too high, too low or just right?
In response to the first question, 67% of Americans said the current immigration level is too high, while among Born-Again Protestants it was 78%. (Mainline Protestants – 72%, Catholics – 69% and 50% among Jews).
Question 2 asked if illegal immigration was caused by limits on legal immigration or lack of enforcement. In agreement with the latter explanation were 85% of Born-Again Protestants, 78% of both Catholics and Mainline Protestants and 60% of Jews, and 74% of Americans polled.
Regarding the labor situation, question 3 asked if the U.S. needs immigrant workers or there are enough Americans that can do the jobs. To that question, 61% of Jews, 69% of Catholics, 73% of Mainline Protestants and 75% of Born-Again Protestants answered that we have enough Americans for the work (with 71% of Americans polled agreeing).
Question 4 asked about a "path to citizenship" (amnesty) to which 17% of Born-Again Protestants were somewhat opposed and 47% were strongly opposed. Meanwhile, among Catholics it was 14% somewhat opposed and 40% strongly opposed, among Mainline Protestants 17% somewhat opposed and 37% strongly opposed, and among Jews it was 11% somewhat opposed and 24% strongly opposed. Among the general population it was 15% for somewhat and 36% for strongly.
Question 5 asked if respondents would support attrition through enforcement. Among the general public, 67% supported that, as did 50% of Jews, 68% of Catholics, 69% of Mainline Protestants and 78% of Born-Again Protestants.
Question 6 actually made respondents choose between two approaches – that of enforcing immigration law (the attrition approach) or granting legal status (amnesty). To this question, 43% of Jews, 64% of Catholics, 62% of Mainline Protestants and 76% of Born-Again Protestants agreed with the former option, with 61% of the public in agreement.
From this poll we can see that the majority of the membership of the three major Christian groups are in agreement with VDARE.COM.
And, according to this poll, evangelicals were the most in favor of patriotic immigration reform.
So despite the machinations of Leith Anderson and the NAE, most evangelicals don't support amnesty.
According to Roy Beck, approximately one-third of the members of Numbers USA are evangelicals. In other words, many are already involved in the movement.
But much more needs to be done. More evangelicals should be recruited into the immigration restrictionist movement.
Many of our fellow evangelicals are either uninformed, misinformed, or not particularly interested in the topic. It's our job to educate them, including some ministers who may be tempted to jump into the open borders camp.
Why not recommend a relevant VDARE.COM article to those who need educating?
When elitist church leaders, of any denomination, confuse today's immigration invasion with Christian charity, they are sorely mistaken and are distorting the gospel. We shouldn't let them make us feel guilty for supporting borders and the existence of separate nations.
You can contact the NAE here and Leith Anderson here and let them know you don't agree with amnesty and mass immigration.
And you can discuss the issues with the leaders of your own denomination and/or congregation.
Remind them that real Christian charity is helping others, in the name of Christ, of our own free will.
Christian charity is not the same as Big Government Coercion and Social Engineering, a prime example of which is today's mass immigration. Mass immigration destroys lives, families and communities here in the U.S., in Mexico and in other countries.
Confusing it with Christian charity is a big error and we shouldn't fall for it.
So speak up and let your voice be heard!
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) recently moved back to the U.S.A. after many years residing in Mexico. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here and his website is here.