The Common Good

William McKenzie: Evangelicals playing key role on immigration

Date: July 26, 2013

Mark Bailey leads Dallas Theological Seminary, an evangelical school known for conservative beliefs on issues such as interpreting Scripture and the Second Coming. Bailey also is part of the Evangelical Immigration Table, a collection of evangelical pastors, academics and lay leaders who want Congress to broadly overhaul immigration laws.

This group is a crucial wild card in the debate and holds the key to recreating our immigration system.

Bailey told me why he has come to this point. “As a church,” the seminary president said, “we are called to treat all people as God’s creation. Our care for individuals is a constant regardless of a person’s legal status.”

Bailey emphasized that he and other evangelicals respect the rule of law. That is one of the six principles guiding the Evangelical Immigration Table. Others include securing the national border, respecting the God-given dignity of every person, and allowing illegal immigrants to work for citizenship or legal status.

The role that evangelicals like Bailey are playing is significant since evangelicals generally line up with Republican politics. They have a standing with GOP legislators that more liberal church groups do not.

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