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Beliefnet News

Baptists support legalization but not ‘amnesty’

c. 2011 Religion News Service

(RNS) Southern Baptists adopted a resolution Wednesday (June 15) that supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants but clearly states they reject “amnesty.”

After heated debate at their annual meeting in Phoenix, the Baptists approved a statement that called for secure borders and “a just and compassionate path to legal status, with appropriate restitutionary measures” for illegal immigrants already in the U.S.

Some delegates said the language on “legal status” was tantamount to amnesty, prompting an almost equally divided vote over whether to remove it. In response, officials added language that said: “This resolution is not to be construed as support for amnesty for any undocumented immigrant.”


After Tuesday’s election that put an African-American pastor in the denomination’s No. 2 leadership position, and plans to increase ethnic diversity, the resolution emphasized the church should minister regardless of a person’s immigration status or country of origin.

“The intention … is to point us all toward thinking about those who have come into the United States from other nations,” said Paul Jimenez, a South Carolina pastor and chair of the resolutions committee. “To ask the question first, not `What is your legal status?’, but `What is your gospel status?”‘

In a separate and unexpected vote, delegates expressed “profound disappointment” with the 2011 translation of the popular New International Version of the Bible, saying its use of gender-neutral language has made it an “inaccurate translation of God’s inspired Scripture.”

The meeting was attended by 4,814 registrants, the lowest number since 1944.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment bluebuss

    last time i looked, they are not the legislative branch of america. am i missing something?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Justin W

    I have been Southern Baptist my entire life, age 31, I this article could change that if they don’t reverse their position. Illegal needs to be deported.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    I don’t know where you live, but I think the Pequots had a similar feeling about the Pilgrims, The Powhatans and Algonquin weren’t too keen on the Jamestown folks, and the Seminoles made their displeasure known about the Huguenots that settled St Augustine. It is easy for the folks that are here to close the door behind them – give thanks for the people who opened the door before you, and think hat it meant to you. God did not ask us to issue invitations and use placecards at the Table. The call to hospitality is older and more important even that the Ten Commandments (Abraham’s story is told long before Moses’).

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