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Evangelical Leaders Intensify Call for Bipartisan Immigration Reform with Radio Ads and Billboards

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 30, 2013 — As momentum builds in support of broad, commonsense immigration reform, the Evangelical Immigration Table announced Thursday its newest and largest paid-media campaign to reach evangelicals on the issue of immigration. On a press call today, national and local evangelical leaders discussed the quarter-million-dollar effort, which includes ads airing nationally on the Salem Communications Network and additional reach in 13 key states — including billboards near congressional offices in four states.

To listen to the ads, visit https://soundcloud.com/eit_1

The ad campaign further increases the Evangelical Immigration Table’s support for bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform and builds on the 92-day “Pray for Reform” campaign. The call took place as small groups of Christians in at least 20 states gathered in their communities to pray for immigrants and for Congress as part of the Pray for Reform campaign.

The national ads on Christian and talk radio stations feature Dr. Russell Moore, President-elect of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Lynne Hybels, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church. In addition, ads featuring local pastors are airing on stations in 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.

The following quotes can be attributed to speakers on today’s call:

Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief:
“What we’ve seen across the country is really a sea change among Christians and evangelicals. People are wanting to know about the issue, they want to know what the Bible says about it … [The radio ads] are very simple messages — praying for immigrants, praying for Congress and reminding Christians across our country that this is first a biblical and moral issue.”

Lynne Hybels, Co-founder, Willow Creek Community Church:
“Immigration is not an abstract issue because immigrants are people with whom we live and worship. We in this movement are reaching out to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ because we believe that this is one of the great moral issues of our country and that the voices of evangelical Christians must reach our politicians.”

Rev. Dan Krause, Lead Pastor, Chugach Covenant Church, Anchorage, Alaska:
“When you look through scripture you see the heart of God is one of concern for immigrants. It is our job as Christians and Christian leaders to love those who are here in Jesus’ name … I have had some conversations with our congregants on this issue, and they’re going through a similar process I did just several months ago. As soon as we take them into the scripture and really show people, ‘Listen, God has spoken clearly about this issue,’ it’s fairly easy to convince somebody who has a high regard for scripture that God loves the stranger, the sojourner in our land and we need to be praying for reform.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President-elect, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“Evangelicals understand that our broken system is a moral issue; this isn’t just a legal issue, it isn’t a political issue or an economic issue only. It’s a moral issue and it’s been a stain on our country for too long. Now is the time for the country to come together for an immigration system that respects the God-given human dignity of every person.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“There has really been a conversion [among evangelicals]. There is mounting momentum and impetus. The pushback that we may have now is not what we had even a year ago or six months ago because people are sitting down, reading and reasoning. And [people] are in relationships with immigrants. They know they’re hardworking, they know they want to contribute to society in healthy ways.”

Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill Heads to Full Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 21, 2013 – In a bipartisan, 13-5 vote today, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744, on to the full Senate.

The vote came as evangelicals participating in “Pray for Reform: 92 Days of Prayer and Action to Pass Immigration Reform” focused their prayers on a bill with no amendments that would jeopardize chances for final passage. As reported, the bill meets that description. Participants in the Evangelical Immigration Table’s campaign will continue their prayers as the debate continues on the Senate floor.

 

The following quotes are from Evangelical Immigration Table leaders:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:

“The Senate Judiciary Committee has proved that bipartisanship on commonsense solutions to tough topics like immigration reform is possible. We pray this spirit of cooperation and statesmanship continues as the bill moves to the Senate floor.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

“The NHCLC commends the Senate Judiciary Committee for successfully advancing the cause of immigration reform via it’s bi-partisan vote in favor of legislation that will resolve America’s immigration crisis. As the full Senate considers this historical bill, we pray that political courage trumps political expediency and both Republican and Democratic Senators coalesce around this legislative solution that, fully enacted, will protect our values, borders and families. For this cause, we hereby call bible believing Christ followers to pray for passage, preach reform and prophetically demonstrate courage by conveying to Congress that ‘Now is the time!'”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:

“Now is the time for immigration reform. The close to 8 million Hispanic evangelicals remain optimistic for broad, bipartisan legislation. We are hopeful to see real commonsense solutions that transcend partisanship. We know our country has the ingenuity to solve one of our most intractable problems in just, moral, and humane ways.”

Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:

“As Evangelical Christians we are very grateful the spirit of bipartisanship shown by the Senate Judiciary Committee in advancing legislation that reflects our nation’s best values on immigration. This shows political courage for the common good.”

As Evangelicals ‘Pray for Reform,’ Bipartisan House Group Agrees in Principle on Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 20, 2013 – On Thursday, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers announced that they have reached an agreement in principle on immigration reform. The announcement comes in the midst of the Evangelical Immigration Table’s campaign “Pray for Reform: 92 Days of Prayer and Action to Pass Immigration Reform.”

The following statement can be attributed to the Evangelical Immigration Table:

“This week, evangelicals participating in the Pray for Reform challenge have been praying specifically for the negotiators in the House to resolve their differences and put forward a proposal that reflects evangelical principles for immigration reform. We are pleased to see that they have an agreement in principle, which shows courage and marks a significant step forward.

“The momentum for immigration reform continues to grow. As evangelicals, we strongly support members of Congress who continue to work together. The agreement in the House is momentous. We look forward to seeing details of a House bill that brings honor to the rule of law, keeps our borders secure and is fair to taxpayers —  and also emphasizes the God-given dignity of every person, unifies families and includes a fair path to earned citizenship.

“We will continue to pray for members of Congress to come together on immigration, rise above partisan politics and — this summer — pass an immigration bill that will strengthen our families and our communities.”

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Follow the Pray for Reform campaign on Twitter at #Pray4Reform.

 

Evangelical Community Launches ‘Pray for Reform’ Campaign

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 8, 2013 — On the eve of the Senate’s first markup of the bipartisan immigration reform bill in the Senate, the Evangelical Immigration Table today announced the launch of “Pray for Reform: 92 Days of Prayer and Action to Pass Immigration Reform.” This nationwide grassroots and digital campaign will engage evangelical communities in all 50 states and support congressional leaders as they move toward passing broad, commonsense immigration reform.

The effort corresponds with the Evangelical Immigration Table’s drive for bipartisan passage of a bill within 92 days, corresponding to the number of times the Hebrew word for immigrant appears in the Old Testament. It is only the latest push by evangelical leaders for far-reaching immigration reform.

This year alone, tens of thousands of people have participated in the table’s “I Was A Stranger” prayer challenge, the table launched radio ad campaigns in five key states, and more than 300 evangelical leaders gathered in Washington for the National Day of Prayer and Action, which included more than 90 meetings with congressional leaders.

The following quotes can be attributed to speakers on today’s call:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“We are now at the point of markup, and what we have worked [on] and dreamed about and talked about for many years is now on the eve of reality. As evangelicals we have come together in a coalition that has stayed amazingly united. … What we’re doing today is a call for prayer for our Congress and for our country to actually pass immigration reform in 92 days, [corresponding to] the 92 Old Testament references to immigrants and immigration. We did this once before: We asked that our [congressional] leadership, in 92 days, present legislation, and we believe that that happened and that prayer was answered.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“I am convinced we stand on the edge of the Jordan called immigration reform. On the other side lies the promised land of integration, secure borders and healthy communities. What will it take for us as a nation to get there? Two words: prophetic courage. … This is not the time for political showmanship. The NHCLC calls on Congress not to sacrifice 11 million people on the altar of political expediency. Let’s not be distracted, let us be deliberate in the final crossing.”

Michelle Warren, Colorado Immigration Specialist, Christian Community Development Association:
“Here in Colorado, we had numerous churches in congressional districts all across the state participate in the ‘I Was A Stranger’ challenge, and as a result, the eyes of evangelicals opened to what the Bible had to say about our personal attitudes towards immigrants, and our hearts were changed on how we should treat immigrants in our country. Now we’re launching the Pray for Reform campaign, which will bring evangelicals from all across the country to participate in prayer gatherings around flag poles, in sanctuaries, in front of town halls and with elected officials themselves. … We believe in the power of prayer, we believe that it has been what has driven our momentum here in Colorado and we’re eager to see the results of Christians uniting all across the country to pray for immigration reform.”

Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:
“We’ve seen a message go out across the country that 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 conversion is changing politics. … Republicans and Democrats alike are telling us that they want to support this, but there are interests and forces and agendas always putting their weight against positive progress. So we’re praying that dysfunction can be overcome for the sake of 11 million vulnerable, undocumented people that Jesus calls us to welcome.”

Dr. Richard Land, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“This is a moral issue. We’re calling on Congress to not act like politicians who are focused on the next election but to act as statesmen and stateswomen who are focused on the next generation. … I believe that we are at a moment where we’ve seen really a providential convergence of forces. The Evangelical Immigration Table stands together in calling Congress to pass immigration reform in 92 days and the Prayer for Reform campaign will show Congress that evangelicals are behind them on this issue and we are ready to redeem this moment.”

Follow the Pray for Reform campaign on Twitter at #Pray4Reform.

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Evangelical Leaders to Congress: Pass Immigration Reform in the Next 92 Days

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 6, 2013 — With 92 days left until the start of the August recess, the Evangelical Immigration Table is launching the second stage of their campaign for humane and comprehensive immigration reform with an open letter to Congress that carries one simple message: The time is now – we respectfully urge Congress to pass immigration reform within the next 92 days.

The number 92 is particularly symbolic in the Bible – “ger,” the Hebrew word for immigrant, appears in the Old Testament 92 times.

Today’s letter is the latest push by the evangelical community for comprehensive and humane immigration reform. Over the course of the last 92 days, tens of thousands of people participated in the Table’s “I Was A Stranger” prayer challenge, five radio ad campaigns were launched in five key states and more than 300 evangelical leaders gathered in Washington, DC to hold over 90 meetings with congressional leaders on the Hill for the National Day of Prayer and Action.

In the coming 92 days, the Evangelical Immigration Table will expand on the nationwide momentum they’ve already built by announcing a host of new mobilizing efforts centered on prayer and action for immigration reform.

An excerpt of the letter is provided below. To read the letter in full, please click here.

“We understand that opponents of immigration reform will not make voting for reform politically easy, and we recognize the divisiveness surrounding the immigration debate and deeply held feelings of your constituents.  However, we believe the moral case for reform is clear. As such, we commit to supporting you in taking courageous votes both now and in the future. And we pray that God gives you wisdom and courage as you deliberate and vote on legislation we believe is vital for the future of our churches and our nation.

“Ger” is the Hebrew word for immigrant. It appears 92 times in the Bible.  As Bible believing Christians we are launching from these teachings to set the goal of passing comprehensive immigration reform in 92 days. We respectfully urge you to pass immigration reform within the next 92 days.”

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