Saguaro.jpgThere’s an excellent NYTimes report about evangelicals and immigration, though I wish they had mentioned M. Daniel Carroll R., whose book is one of the best I’ve seen: Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible

“My message to Republican leaders,” said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the evangelical National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and one of the leaders who engaged his non-Hispanic peers, “is if you’re anti-immigration reform, you’re anti-Latino, and if you’re anti-Latino, you are anti-Christian church in America, and you are anti-evangelical.”…

Evangelicals at the grass-roots level are divided on immigration, just as the nation is. But among the leaders, recent interviews suggest that those in favor of an immigration overhaul are far more vocal and more organized than those who oppose it.

Each side draws on Scripture for support. Those who oppose comprehensive immigration overhaul cite Romans 13, which says to submit to the government’s laws. Supporters cite Leviticus 19: treat the stranger as you would yourself.

Both sides agree that security at the nation’s borders needs to be strengthened. The biggest point of contention is what to do about the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country….

Advocates of a comprehensive new immigration law want to establish a path to citizenship that would allow illegal immigrants to register with the government, pay a fine, undergo a background check, prove they can speak English and only then get in line to apply for permanent legal residency. Those not interested in permanent residency could become legal temporary workers….

Perhaps this is the most interesting comment, by Richard Land of the SBC:

“I’ve had some older conservative leaders say: ‘Richard, stop this. You’re going to split the conservative coalition,’ ” Dr. Land continued. “I say it might split the old conservative coalition, but it won’t split the new one. And if the new one is going to be a governing coalition, it’s going to have to have a lot of Hispanics in it. And you don’t get a lot of Hispanics in your coalition by engaging in anti-Hispanic anti-immigration rhetoric.”
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