No, Evangelicals Are Not United on Immigration Reform

No, Evangelicals Are Not United on Immigration Reform August 9, 2013

The Rev. Michael Wilker — who hosted 300 evangelical leaders at his Church of the Reformation, very close to the capitol in Washington DC, for an Evangelical Immigration Table Day of Action — published an op ed in the Washington Post where he reiterated these words from the gathering:

“We are announcing the Gospel that welcomes the stranger and we will denounce those that block immigration reform.”

I’ve not taken a position on the current immigration reform efforts, but an honest observer on either side of the issue has to admit that’s a nifty manipulation of religious language, a deft slide from the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a denunciation of those who raise questions about a specific legislative effort.  I don’t know who spoke those words, and it’s been difficult throughout this entire evangelical immigration reform campaign to tell the difference between the Evangelical Immigration Table and the way it’s spun and promoted in liberal media.  But Rev. Wilker goes on to write: “Christians — evangelicals, Roman Catholics and mainline — are united and urgently calling for immigration reform that preserves families from detentions, deportations, and other forms of separation.  We stand together, with our allies of many faiths, for reform that includes a roadmap to earned citizenship for 11 million aspiring new Americans.”

And yet…well, Christians aren’t exactly united on this, are they?  Or at least, if they’re united in their shared conviction that all immigrants are created in the image of God and deserving of compassion and justice, they’re not united on what exactly this means legally and legislatively.  I personally would like to see “a roadmap to earned citizenship,” but I’m not sure categorically “denouncing” those who feel differently is right.

In any case, Michael Patrick Leahy wrote about this at Breitbart and invited other evangelicals to respond.  I’ve been publishing a series of essays (the latest one here) from the Evangelical Immigration Table, and I too invited other opinions.  Well, Kelly Monroe Kullberg, founder of the Veritas Forum, author of the bestselling Finding God at Harvard, and acting president of Christians for a Sustainable Economy, has been quite vocal in her criticism of the EIT.  She shared an email I am posting below.  As always, guest posters’ opinions are their own (I differ from Kelly on some points), and bear in mind that I am posting this alongside no fewer than three essays supporting the immigration reform effort.


From Kelly Monroe-Kullberg:

Christians agree on the call to love, but at times they disagree on the nature and implications of love and kindness.  God invites all of us to be citizens in his kingdom wherever we happen to find ourselves on this curious blue planet.  But he also places us in families, tribes and nations, and gives us biblical wisdom about shaping a thriving culture.  Like gardening, growing a culture requires discernment and vision.

Nowhere in Scripture do we see blanket asylum, blanket amnesty, or blanket immigration.  Rather, when we take into account the full counsel of scripture, and not merely convenient selections, what we find are both welcome and walls.  The people of God extend welcome to a well-meaning Ruth or Rahab (the sojourner, or ger in Hebrew, is something like a convert, someone who comes lawfully, as blessing) — but the scriptures also show Nehemiah leading his nation in the building of walls to cultivate the good and to set themselves apart from the ways of the “foreigner” (the nekhar or zar) who does not respect the laws, customs and values of the country visited.  Any culture is unwise to embrace incompatible values, as economist Thomas Sowell often reminds us in his writings, and yet sections in this bill will ease asylum even for America’s enemies (see Sections 3401, 3502, 3504 for example).  Yes, we should care for the stranger, but we should also care for those who are struggling and suffering in our midst already, and for the enduring sustainability of our economy and our culture if it is going to continue to be a force for good.

But the point here is not merely that the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill does not reflect balanced biblical teaching (for more, see our EBI letter here).  The point is that the behavior and tactics of the “evangelical leaders” who have promoted the Evangelical Immigration Table as a united evangelical front in favor of the current immigration reform effort has been deceptive and manipulative.  If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to throw a party.

Consider the process.

This Spring, I was one of the “evangelical leaders” who received a message from Carl Ruby of the National Immigration Forum (NIF).  It invited us to click one button to endorse a set of principles.  The principles were simple, such as God’s love for all people, including immigrants.  Yes, of course God loves all people.  I agreed with most of the principles, but I was skeptical of the process.  A healthy dose of skepticism seems wise in this case, since atheist globalist and open border advocate George Soros (of the Open Society Institute) is the largest donor to the NIF, and the NIF for years has spun out amnesty and open border projects.  I knew too that Soros has funded longstanding efforts through Jim Wallis and Sojourners to engage in “messaging and mobilizing” around issues like immigration reform, and I had observed that Wallis (not coincidentally) helps Carl Ruby and others campaign for immigration reform through poaching Bible verses and presenting a partial view of the whole counsel of Scripture.

So I wasn’t surprised when, on May 2nd, an ad hoc group called the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT) sent a letter to Congress falsely representing the “170 evangelical leaders” who had clicked a button endorsing a set of general principles as though they endorsed the 1000-plus page Gang of Eight bill (S. 744).  In context, it was abundantly clear that the letter was intended to boost the passage of S. 744, even though the “170 evangelical leaders” had agreed to no such thing.

So I asked a few friends who were listed among the 170 whether they knew that they had been enlisted in endorsing a bill.  No, they said, we had no idea.  Have you read the bill?  What bill? some asked.  Did you know that George Soros stood behind the NIF, which stands behind the EIT?  No, no one told us that.  Did you know that sections of the bill make asylum easier for people like the Boston Marathon bombers?  No, we didn’t know that.  Have you seen the 30-year net economic projections on what this bill would imply for American economic sustainability?  No.

You get the drift.  Eric Metaxas, author of the great Bonhoeffer biography, was one of the leaders to visibly part from the EIT.

And now those of us who question the bill and question the tactics with which it has been advanced are being denounced.  It would be comical if it were not so tragic.  I wonder if rebuke belongs more to those who design such a campaign in the name of God.

Perhaps this could be a soul-searching moment to those who align with the likes of Soros without studying his tactics and his goals.  It’s good to take a stand for what’s on God’s heart and mind, but we must do so with discernment.  We cannot allow our names to be used without asking questions about the men behind the curtain.  Soros and his allies have an interest in border and culture manipulation — not in the Bible, American sustainability, or the Church.  For decades, Soros’s team has weakened Judeo-Christian cultures by funding anti-Christian policies such as pansexuality, abortion, and the legalization of prostitution and drugs.  They were among the first funders of Obama’s campaigns for Senate and President, and they fund ACORN, Al Franken, Van Jones, the Center for American Progress (Obama’s policy tank), La Raza, and many efforts to weaken borders and escalate debt.  Soros profits from chaos.  Perhaps we should pay attention?

I would suggest that the EIT signers take their names off the EIT website until they’ve considered the whole counsel of Scripture and read the 1,200-page “Gang of Eight” bill, which is full of ambiguities and problems as well as some good ideas like securing borders.  (Of course this won’t happen because few have the time to read this, or to circle back to the EIT.  All we were asked to do was to click one button).

With the full weight of Obamacare falling upon us soon, the last assault that beleaguered Americans need is another massive, mysterious tome of legislation that we have “to pass in order to know what’s in it.”  God loves us all, and the Bible does not teach such folly, such unkindness.  This is a time for extreme wakefulness, wisdom and leadership.

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  • Prisoner-of-Christ

    Is CHRIST divided?……Absolutely NOT…….therefore, I totally disagree with some of the writer’s comments above…JESUS gave us the two greatest commandments and they are timeless, forever, everlasting, Amen:
    MARK 12 v 28—–34 (kjv) >>>>JESUS re-iterate the two greatest commandments:
    1 Thou shalt LOVE the LORD THY GOD with…….
    2 Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbors as thyself………

  • The Sleazy Luis Gutierrez House Republican Pocket List

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Good thoughts.

  • TimN1

    Unfortunately any statement that starts not with reference to scripture, but to George Soros reveals where it’s priorities lie. There appears to be a belief amongst the right that Soros is akin to the anti-christ, and therefore anything he might support is therefore to be opposed. Sure Soros is no Christian, but that does not preclude him supporting causes that Christians agree with, as well as those we don’t. But the truth is that from the start this is Republican party propaganda complete with appropriate “dog-whistles”, dressed up as theology.

    The essence of their “Biblical argument” is that Israel had certain rules in regards to assimilation and therefore so should we. That’s not a bad stance, although one wonders where the legality of the exodus fits into their thinking – it seems distinctly unbiblical following the logic of the arguments.
    Where it really breaks down is the distinction between “virtuous” and “un-virtuous” immigrants which merely feeds xenophobic attitudes that say if some immigrants commit crime, then none should be allowed (disregarding the fact that they might be substantially more law-abiding than the base population).

    The fundamental issue that we face as Christians is not that we disregard the issues facing “Our poor. Our widows. Our unemployed, many of whom are African- and Hispanic American young people. Our veterans and college graduates having trouble finding meaningful career paths.” But that the distinction between “Our” and “Other” is meaningless in Christ. When asked who is my neighbour, the example Christ gave was not one of “us”, but that of a despised minority (the Samaritans) occupying part of “our” country. It goes beyond the platforms of Republicans and Democrats. They are the rules of another kingdom.

    • Noah172

      Unfortunately any statement that starts not with reference to scripture, but to George Soros reveals where it’s priorities lie

      Soros is not the only suspicious supporter of “evangelical” immigration reform. The major donor to the Evangelical Immigration Table, more so even than Soros — according to one of its own leaders, Samuel Rodriguez, self-appointed spokesman for Latino evangelicals (i.e., not merely my opinion) — is one Paul Singer. Singer is a Jewish hedge fund billionaire who has spent millions promoting legal abortion and homosexual marriage within the Republican Party as well as the cause of open borders.

      People like Singer and Soros (and, for another, Sheldon Adelson, a Jewish casino billionaire who favors open borders, gay marriage, and abortion, and is the top individual donor to the Republican Party) did not get to be wealthy, powerful men by being stupid or profligate with their money. What’s in it for them in supporting open borders among evangelical Protestants and the political right (two constituencies with significant overlap)? Cheap labor, and thus bigger profits, for the superrich is an obvious answer. Another may be a belief, common among elite Jews, that a less white, less Christian America is safer and more comfortable for Jews since mass immigration makes them less of a conspicuous minority.

      These are hardly Christian motives, and it is perfectly fair to wonder about the loyalties of so-called “Christian” amnesty supporters who are so heavily dependent on unsavory sources of funding.

      But that the distinction between “Our” and “Other” is meaningless in Christ
      Major logical fallacy here. The United States government — or any earthly government — is not Christ and not the Church, and does not dispense salvation. Once that truth is acknowledged, your argument falls apart. God may love all his children, and may offer all of them forgiveness of sin and eternal life through the sacrifice of his Son, but earthly governments have obligations first, last, and always to their own citizens and nobody else. Indeed, that is what God ordained civil government to do: dispense justice (imperfect, earthly justice, not heavenly) for its own constituents, just as God ordained the family such that parents would love and care for their own children first and foremost, not engage in utopian schemes to care for strangers’ children more than their own.
      In the parable of the good Samaritan, to which you allude, Christ was talking about private citizens helping each other through their private efforts, even those of other ethnicities; he was not advocating any particular political agenda or piece of legislation — which he never did at any point throughout his earthly ministry, you ought to remember.

  • Hacim Obmed

    Problems With the Senate (Gang of 8) Immigration Bill

    #4: Interior Enforcement is Virtually Nonexistent: Under the Senate immigration bill, the interior enforcement of our immigration laws would be completely gutted. Specifically –

    a) Presidential On/Off Switch: The Senate bill does not take away the immigration enforcement “on/off switch” from the President. The House enforcement bill (SAFE Act) does this by granting states full independent authority to enforce the laws in the future.

    b) Enforcement Free Zones: The bill allows the Secretary of DHS to designate sancutaries where no enforcement activity can take place.

    c) Halts Immigration Enforcement: Creates an immigration enforcement holiday where no enforcement actions will occur for two and a half years.

    d) Countless Waivers: Under the Senate bill, wherever enforcement is mentioned, there is a waiver authority delegated to the Secretary of DHS, repeating many of the same problems we have today with the lack of immigration enforcement.

  • Dave Francis

    The Leftist media and both political parties lie to us.

    This time their is no second chance to stop overpopulation,
    crumbling infrastructure and shortages of drinkable water.

    America will only be secure enough when the Obama Administration doesn’t give away freebies, for votes.

    America will only be secure enough when we station the
    National Guard and build the real double fencing
    instead of Afghanistan’s border.

    America will only be secure enough when businesses are openly complaining they can’t get
    enough illegals.

    America will only be secure when Farmers and agriculture are held
    accountable for legal guest workers, for emergency care and

    America will only be secure enough when schools no longer teach English as a second language.

    America will only be secure enough when I no longer get greeted by a people speaking Spanish
    when I walk into a store.

    America will only be secure when they
    implement the mandatory entry and exit system, along with
    E-Verify to detect visa airline, ports of entry overstays and
    border jumpers.

    America will only be secure enough when Mexico
    and other dictatorships have REVOLUTION, because it then cannot
    dump its poor, it’s criminals and malcontents in the U.S. and
    their people rise up and overthrow the corrupt government economic
    and political system.

    America will only be secure enough
    should NOT be determined or influenced by pro-illegal alien groups
    such as the Latino Public Policy Center or La Raza.

    America will only be secure when they revise the BIRTHRIGHT
    CITIZENSHIP ACT, so only babies and children of U.S. citizen
    parents can claim public benefits and cash payments.

    America will only be secure enough
    when EVERY American CITIZEN is issued a biometric ID card to
    replace the worthless Social Security cards and they will be
    required in order to hold a job. These cards should maintain your
    fingerprints, retinal scan and photograph to detect unauthorized
    workers, voter fraud and personal credit theft.

    America is only secure enough when the IRS and Social Security and ICE talk to each other
    and exchange intelligence back and forth instead of being
    prohibited by law from doing so, which makes it very difficult to
    catch invaders.

    America will only be secure when both political parties learn
    their allegiance is to ALL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE and not Special
    Interests and their lobbyists.

    America will only be secure if the underestimated 11 million
    illegal aliens don’t get a free pass to citizen entitlements,
    sponsoring more family members and thereby accelerating the
    population by another 30 to 50 million and adding more poverty to
    our nation.

    Privacy of
    innocent Americans is being obliterated thanks to
    agencies like the NSA spying on us;

    Votes were
    suppressed—even STOLEN—as the IRS targeted conservative
    political groups during the last election;

    Our right to
    bear arms under the Second Amendment is in grave jeopardy
    as this administration attempts their gun-grab every
    chance it gets. Tyranny has come alive;

    Now Obama
    administration is using the Trayvon Martin case to launch
    his attempt to obliterate Stand Your Ground laws in 30

    Amendment rights are being trampled with wiretapping of
    the press;

    60% of
    doctors will retire in the coming 3 years as a direct result
    of Obamacare—a death sentence to many;

    only in the initial stages, is already a catastrophe,
    collapsing on itself;

    33 million
    illegals who broke the law coming into our country could
    soon be rewarded with amnesty—jobs will be stolen from
    hardworking Americans while wages are diminished;

    divide is growing bigger not smaller.
    The Obama administration continually race-baits America and
    has recently stepped it up, fueling hatred with his own
    ignorant views on the Trayvon Martin case;

    blood still runs like a river through his hands—and
    still, justice has not been served but swept under the carpet;

    He freely
    gives guns and money to criminals and terrorists in Egypt…and
    positions in the White House to radical members of the
    Muslim Brotherhood who influence Obama’s policies;

    Hundreds of
    millions of our taxpayer dollars have been spent by Obama
    and his family on lavish vacations;

    Has the gall
    to throw rock star parties at the White House—after
    closing it to the public.

    At every chance he breaks the law and
    flaunts mass hypocrisy. He and his buddy Dept of Justice Eric
    Holder should be in JAIL.

    Oh yes, his true nature has been fully exposed in a way that
    makes your blood run cold. Even Obama’s most diehard defenders
    are questioning his motives.

    We need to strike while the iron is blistering hot.

    We have fought long and hard and people are finally opening
    their eyes to the fake, the fraud, the rot, the liars in the Obama administration.

    talk. Fax you indignation and frustration at

  • And that is ok. Christians are free to differ on matters of law and government.

    They can be misguided utopians who have great intentions but cause much more harm than good. Or they can try and conserve this Republic and live along the lines of the Constitution…going down swinging.

  • Rob Schwarzwalder

    The comments of Pastor Wilker are disturbing. There are biblical principles concerning the foreigner relevant to immigration reform, surely, but to state dogmatically that opposing or supporting a specific legislative effort – really a compendium of drafts, proposals, etc. that is quite complex – is a matter of fidelity to Scripture is discouraging. The church loses credibility when it assumes a prophetic mantle to comment on things outside of its expertise – including the highly sophisticated nuances of border enforcement law, etc. The National Council of Churches is a meaningless aggregation of old-line Protestantism in part because over the decades its leaders felt compelled to take “the” Christian position on every imaginable issue (even the deportation of young Elian Gonzalez to Cuba in the late 90s). They are now irrelevant to the public policy debates in DC. We must be very careful, as Evangelicals, only to say “thus saith the Lord” on things concerning which the explicit teaching of Scripture is clear. Principles of immigration reform can be deduced from the Bible; support for any specific immigration overhaul cannot.

  • IndyRon

    Any, so called Christian leader, that denounces those who support law and order isn’t worth a pulpit. Mr Wilker is not a person I would want my children, friends or neighbors to listen to.

  • sg

    There is a non-stated false premise underlying immigration reform discussions:

    Other countries are so awful that keeping anyone out of our one super special country constitutes abuse of those individuals who are either denied entry or forcibly repatriated.

    When you think that other countries are just fine and that life there is reasonably good, then there is no good reason for allowing folks to come here illegally.

    Going along with this idea is the current extant condition that the US already is allowing extremely high levels of legal immigration from the same countries that the illegals often come from.

    Also, the fraction of legal immigrants who go on to commit crimes in the US is much much lower than the fraction of criminals among the illegals because legal immigrants can’t have a criminal record.

    Anecdotally, there are many workers worldwide working for multinational corporations. Often they live in foreign countries for years working on projects. Some of their children have never even attended school in their home countries or even in their home language, yet when their parent is transferred back home, he and his family must leave that country. If it is not inhumane for those legal workers to go home, why is it inhumane for illegal workers to go home?