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National Association of Evangelicals Provides Moral Model on Immigration Reform

Mar 18, 2010 | Updated May 25, 2011

After nearly two years of collective scripture study, discernment, and dialogue, on Oct. 8 the National Association of Evangelicals spoke publicly for the first time in support of immigration reform. The resolution passed with no dissent from the 40 denominations that comprise the NAE. This is a monumental step, and I commend NAE president Leith Anderson for his boldness in taking this issue to the leaders of the NAE and to leaders in Congress.

You know the wind has shifted in Congress when moderate and conservative evangelical leaders testify before the U.S. Senate in support of an earned pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Such a hearing would not have taken place in the climate of the last legislative debate. I believe the NAE statement reflects a different tone in Washington and in the U.S. with respect to immigration reform. Church leaders who have been personally and privately supportive of immigrants and their struggles have now publicly declared that it is morally wrong to keep families apart, and that it is morally right to fix the broken system so that immigrants are treated with respect and mercy.

I encourage you to read the NAE statement, especially the biblical foundations portion, which calls us to remember "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." The NAE has set a model before us to take seriously the call of scripture and to act prophetically when it comes to pressing moral issues.

Jim Wallis is the author of The Great Awakening, Editor-in-Chief of Sojourners and blogs at www.godspolitics.com.