Campaign demands Christians give ‘dignity’ to illegals

By John Bennett

“Each person’s God-given dignity” requires amnesty for illegal aliens.

So says a new radio advertisement by an organization called Evangelical Immigration Table.

The pro-amnesty radio ad can be heard online, and will be airing in 13 key states.

The ad features Russell Moore, a Southern Baptist Convention official who has claimed “Jesus himself was a so-called ‘illegal immigrant.'”

But the ad’s message about theology and politics has generated intense criticism among Christian leaders who favor controlled, legal immigration.

Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, warned WND, “Christians should be wary of utopian political demands.”

“Church elites are confusing the church’s vocation, which is mercy, with the state’s, which is order,” he said.

Tooley also pointed to a disturbing outcome of the pro-amnesty rationale. There is “the implication from some church elites that the U.S. should provide all the entitlements of citizenship to anyone who enters our borders.”

If current illegal aliens must be granted citizenship because of their “God-given dignity,” then later illegal aliens must also be granted citizenship for the same reason. The EIT ads did not state or imply that there was any limitation on the role of “God-given dignity” in creating an entitlement to citizenship.

Therefore, evidently, every illegal alien should be placed on a path to citizenship, and there would effectively be no meaningful border and no national sovereignty. This vision of Christian ethics on immigration is firmly rejected by some Christian leaders.

Father Dominique Peridans opposes the notion that Christian charity justifies amnesty, writing:

“If well-ordered charity begins at home, then the church ought to extend compassionate understanding to American citizens as they struggle with what amounts, in many ways, to an ‘invasion.'”

Peridans explains that the Bible possibly doesn’t contain any moral or theological insights pertinent to a 21st century discussion of immigration laws in modern nation-states.

Likewise, Tooley said, “[N]either scripture nor Christian tradition specifically describe what U.S. immigration law should be.”

The controversial ad states, in part, “I’m asking you to join a growing movement of Christians who are appealing to our political leaders for immigration solutions that respect each person’s God-given dignity … protect family unity” and “ensure fairness to taxpayers.”

The ad doesn’t say how amnesty would result in “fairness to taxpayers.” A comprehensive study by the Heritage Foundation, reported on by WND, puts the price tag for amnesty at $6.3 trillion, driven by the low education level of many illegal aliens and their tendency toward high rates of welfare dependence.

The ad concludes with a call for a “path toward citizenship.”

EIT is an amalgam of left-wing evangelical groups and figures, joined by some moderate and conservative evangelical elites. EIT’s ads feature Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

In that role, Moore’s duties are to speak about the ethical duties of the Southern Baptist church. However, Tooley said Moore’s views are not representative.

“Sadly, some church elites are claiming to speak politically for their flocks on immigration when they have no mandate from their constituency.”

In the past, Moore has claimed, “[O]ur Lord Jesus himself was a so-called ‘illegal immigrant.'”

While Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt to save their infant son, Jesus, from a state policy that infants be murdered, the circumstances of Mary and Joseph – according to many – are vastly different from current illegal aliens.

In his book, “The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible,” Trinity Evangelical Divinity School professor James K. Hoffmeier wrote, “[I]t is evident that for a period of a few years Jesus and his family were refuges, aliens in Egypt.”

Peridans has criticized the Catholic church’s support of amnesty, which he said “is designed primarily to benefit immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, more than it is designed to benefit the current national population.”

Heads of EIT include noted left-wing Obama spiritual adviser Jim Wallis. Others include the president of Esperanza, an organization that invests in “homeownership and rental projects for low-income individuals” and is “committed to raising awareness and identifying resources that strengthen the Hispanic community.”

Another head of EIT is David Beckmann, president of an organization named Bread for the World.

The “Pray for Reform” ads will appear in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Pray for Reform billboards will appear in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

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