Immigration Reform Crucial to Future of Evangelical Church, Analysts Say
Pastors in Arizona are urging Republicans and Democrats to embrace immigration reform in the U.S, and analysts have said that immigrants are tied closely to the future of the evangelical church.
"A lot of this simply has to do with the sense among many evangelical leaders that the immigrant community, particularly the Hispanic community, is very important to the future of evangelical churches, that the missionary opportunities are very large," said John Green, director of the University of Akron's Bliss Institute, according to AzCentral.com.
Immigration reform is something that has become a bipartisan issue following the November 2012 elections, with politicians saying it is time to find a solution for the roughly 11 million undocumented people living in America, many of whom are from the Hispanic community.
Evangelical pastors have been praying and calling on Congress to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform, saying that the Bible teaches Christians that they should be welcoming of the stranger.
"I'm convinced that we stand on the edge of the Jordan called 'immigration reform.' On the other side lies the promised land of integration, secured borders and safer communities," the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said during a press call in May.
In the same press call, Jim Wallis, president and CEO of the Christian ministry Sojourners, commented, "How we treat the stranger is how we treat Christ himself. That message is converting evangelicals by the thousands, by the millions – and we've seen now how that conversation is changing politics."
Christ's Church of the Valley Pastor Don Wilson has added his voice with radio ads in Arizona. "Christians," he says, "should be known for their love," according to AzCentral.com.