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Evangelical Leaders Ask Trump to Raise Refugee Ceiling for 2019, Cite Religious Freedom

August 8, 2018 

Seven evangelical leaders have directly voiced concern about the Trump administration’s drastic slowing of refugee resettlement to the United States, citing the administration’s own call to protect religious freedom worldwide.

Leading Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore and prominent Hispanic evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez joined their colleagues from the Evangelical Immigration Table on Tuesday in sending a letter to three top federal agency officials expressing “deep concern about the impact on international religious freedom of recent changes in the U.S. refugee resettlement program.”

Read more from The Christian Post>>

A Kind of Homelessness: Evangelicals of Color in the Trump Era

August 7, 2018 

Before the 2016 election, Nikki Toyama-Szeto had thought of the term “evangelical” as neutral. “It was about theology,” she told me recently. She had a long history working with evangelical organizations like International Justice Mission and Intervarsity, and as the executive director of Evangelicals for Social Action, she was a well-known speaker and activist in evangelical circles. Her faith had been central to affirming her own racial and gender identities.

Read more from Religion & Politics>>

How Can We Enhance Our Moral Attention Span?

August 3, 2018 

I have been making preparations with a neuroscientist for a forum on depression in the context of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In the course of our preparations, we discussed the need to help care-givers understand that these matters are extremely complex. We all need to increase our attention span on the subject. As a result, statements like “Will yourself to stop being depressed” is not sufficient for addressing psychological and mental health concerns.

Read more from Patheos>>

Trump Considering Reducing US Refugee Cap By Over 40 Percent; Christian Groups React

August 2, 2018

Christian groups are speaking out after a report this week indicates that President Donald Trump is mulling a 40 percent cut to the already historically low limit on refugees being resettled to the United States. 

The New York Times reported Wednesday that the White House is considering reducing the refugee resettlement cap for the next fiscal year, although the 45,000-refugee cap set by the president for fiscal year 2018 is already the lowest limit set by a president since the passing of the Refugee Act of 1980.

Read more from The Christian Post>>

Citing Religious Liberty, Evangelical Leaders Urge Trump Administration to Support Refugee Resettlement

August 8, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evangelical Christian leaders have sent a letter asking the Trump administration to raise the refugee ceiling, citing religious liberty and our nation’s history of offering safe haven to people fleeing religious persecution.

Signatories express deep concern that further cuts to the U.S. refugee resettlement program would harm religious freedom internationally. The letter was sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback.

“We ask you each to do all that is within your authority to ensure that the various departments of the U.S. government cooperate to resume refugee resettlement at a level consistent with historical norms, including recommending to the president a refugee ceiling of at least 75,000 for fiscal year 2019 and allocating necessary resources to ensure that refugees are being processed and vetted as efficiently as possible overseas,” the letter reads in part.

The following are quotes from national evangelical leaders who have signed on to the letter:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Those who are persecuted and displaced because of their faith need our support. For many, it is a matter of life and death. We urge our leaders to resettle at least 75,000 refugees in the coming year.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“Compassion and security are not mutually exclusive. The United States has for many years been a beacon of hope to persecuted people around the world. We have also been an example to many other nations who have followed our lead to welcome those persecuted for their faith. We have nearly abandoned this place of moral leadership — admittance of persecuted Christians from particular countries is down 98 percent, for example. We urge our leaders to return to our national heritage of welcome to persecuted people of all faiths (or no faith at all).”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“The United States has long welcomed people from around the world who are fleeing dangerous situations, including religious persecution. Our faith calls us to care for those who are most vulnerable. The Church stands ready to assist refugees; there are good and ready solutions to urgent problems. We urge this administration to support these solutions.”

Hyepin Im, President & CEO, Korean Churches for Community Development/Faith and Community Empowerment:
“Our country was founded by those seeking religious freedom. We urge Secretary Pompeo and other leaders to continue to honor our country’s legacy and leadership. The recent stark decline in the number of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities allowed into the U.S. refugee resettlement program is appalling. We urge the administration’s leadership and commitment to those seeking protection and freedom and to reset the settlement numbers to past historic numbers.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church:
“As a participant in the recent ministerial conference on religious freedom, I was encouraged concerning the commitment of this administration to the suffering people. We in the faith community stand ready to welcome the persecuted and are ready for increased numbers.”

Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“I’m grateful for efforts to support religious freedom throughout the world. Until other countries are free of religious persecution, though, it is vital that the U.S. continue to welcome refugees who have been persecuted on account of their faith. As a nation, we must not turn our backs on the persecuted church.”

Travis Wussow, Vice President for Public Policy and General Counsel, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“One key measure of our country’s commitment to religious freedom abroad is how we treat the refugee fleeing persecution. Unfortunately, while attention to religious freedom is growing, the number of refugees admitted to the United States – including the admission of persecuted Christians – is shrinking. Our commitment is wide in speech, but is it deep enough in action to welcome refugees upon our shores? We are expected to do both.”

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Texas/Mexico Border Immigration: A Missionary’s Perspective

By Nathanael Sommers

August 8, 2018

A young mother recalls her journey to the United States at a Border Patrol detainment center in South Texas. The Border Patrol officer listens intently, asking questions she has asked to countless other newly arrived undocumented immigrants. The mother’s two children, a boy and girl both under twelve, are being interviewed in a separate room as officers seek to understand the small family’s situation.

(more…)

2018 EIT Highlights

  • January 9, 2018: The EIT sends another letter to Congress urging a Dreamer solution along with an accompanying press statement.
  • January 14, 2018: The EIT releases a statement on the president’s alleged comments about African countries, Haiti & El Salvador accompanied by reactions from other prominent evangelical leaders.
  • January 29, 2018: The EIT releases a statement on the White House immigration framework.
  • February 15, 2018: EIT releases a letter and statement urging Congress not to make dramatic cuts to legal family reunification programs within U.S. immigration law. 
  • March 5, 2018: Week of Prayer for Dreamers press release and prayer guide release.
  • April 19, 2018: EIT sends a letter to Congress and an accompanying press statement urging support for the Adoptee Citizenship Act, which would close a loophole that has prevented an estimated 35,000 adoptees from becoming U.S. citizens.
  • April 30, 2018: EIT launches a blog, entitled Telling a Better Story to highlight the refugee and immigrant ministry efforts of local churches and evangelical institutions.
  • June 1, 2018: EIT releases a letter and statement to the president expressing concern over the “zero tolerance” policy causing family separation at the U.S. – Mexico border.
  • June 2018: 3,610 evangelical leaders including over 1,000 pastors sign onto the same family separation letter, the EIT releases a statement covering the sign-on effort with quotes from local evangelical leaders.
  • June 13, 2018: EIT principals release a statement of support for the Southern Baptist Convention after the SBC overwhelmingly passed a resolution affirming support for immigrants and immigration reform.
  • June 18, 2018: EIT organizes a press call of prominent evangelical women leaders speaking out about family separation and refugee resettlement.
  • August 7, 2018: EIT principals sent a letter accompanied by a press statement asking the Trump administration to raise the refugee ceiling, citing religious liberty and our nation’s history of offering safe haven to people fleeing religious persecution.

In 2017 & 2018, the Evangelical Immigration Table was directly mentioned in news media 95 times, including in all major Christian news outlets, the Washington Post, Fox News and Politico

2017 EIT Highlights

  • January 29, 2017: EIT leaders signed an unbranded letter expressing concern about the refugee travel ban, covered exclusively by Politico.
  • June 19, 2017: EIT Letter and accompanying press statement to former DHS Sec. Kelly calling for a halt to deportations of Iraqi Christians.
  • June 2017: Press call on Iraqi Christian deportations featuring Galen Carey, Matthew Soerens, the former acting director of ICE and the president of the Chaldean Community Foundation.
  • August 30, 2017: Table letter(s) & to Speaker Ryan, President Trump & Senate Leader McConnell urging protection for DACA recipients while Congress works on a legislative solution. Accompanying press statement with quotes was also released. 
  • September 10, 2017: Five days after DACA is formally rescinded, the same Dreamer letter garners over 3,450 signatories of pastors and evangelical leaders from all 50 states. 3 additional press releases with quotes from notable signatories are sent out.
  • November 1, 2017: EIT Letter is sent to Acting DHS Sec. Duke urging DHS to extended TPS for Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti & El Salvador along with accompanying press statement.

A Taste of the Kingdom

By Tim Holt

In 2010 a Bulgarian theology student stood at the doors of what was soon to become our new church home and with tears in his eyes declared, “The nations are going to come to this place…” Stefan knew of the J1 Program, how 4,000 young international students, from 50 different countries come to our resort community every summer, working, saving their money, to experience life in America.

(more…)

Some Christian Leaders Criticize Paula White for Saying Jesus Wasn’t an Illegal Refugee

July 13, 2018

Both conservative and left-leaning Christian leaders are speaking out in response to President Donald Trump’s spiritual adviser, Paula White, after she claimed in a recent interview that Jesus as a child refugee was different than refugees crossing into the United States illegally today.

“Maybe there should be a moratorium on Protestants quoting or citing the Bible when discussing border policy or immigration,” Mark Tooley, president of the Washington-based think tank Institute on Religion & Democracy, wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “Whether conservative or liberal, the end result is typically unpleasant.”

Read more from Black Christian News Network One>>

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