Online Panel, Including Two Local Christian Leaders, Petition Presidential Candidates on the Topic of Immigration

Sioux Center, Iowa — Evangelical pastors and leaders from Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina joined a virtual press call Thursday convened by the Evangelical Immigration Table and World Relief, urging presidential candidates of all parties to commit to be guided by biblical principles as they approach the topic of immigration.

A letter was sent to all presidential candidates Thursday, signed by more than 500 Christians across the country, inviting the candidates to take part in a 40-day Bible-reading guide known as the “I Was a Stranger” Challenge, to see what the Bible says about immigration.

Northwestern College President Greg Christy was on the panel discussing the challenge, and says immigration plays a big role in his community. He says when he came to the college 17 years ago, there was a meeting with legislators to discuss the challenges of immigration, and since then nothing has been done.

He wants to see a president following what the Bible says about caring for strangers.

Christy goes so far as to give a mandate

Joel Kok, Pastor of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center, says his church has been serving immigrants since it began 50 years ago. He says overcoming difficult things is hard, but America has done it before – citing the abolition of slavery, and the advice Abraham Lincoln gave at the end of his second inaugural address.

South Carolina Baptist Convention Policy Consultant and Senior Director of Church and Community Engagement and Public Affairs at North Greenville University in South Carolina, Dr. Tony Beam, says a Lifeway Research poll shows Christians feel a moral responsibility.

Dr. Kevin McBride, Pastor at Raymond Baptist Church in Raymond New Hampshire, says we need to move away from the idea that a wall will solve everything.

President and Founder of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, Rev. Gabriel Salguero,says current rhetoric from candidates negatively labelling immigrants doesn’t help anyone.

Salguero and the panelists agree that the word “evangelical” should not be used as a political term, but a theological one.

Still the challenges of immigration remain.  Christians struggle with how to honor and respect law while loving and caring for the needs of all immigrants and refugees.  Christian leaders across the country hope the presidential candidates will take seriously the “I Was a Stranger” 40-day challenge.

(Courtesy fellow Community First Broadcasting station KSOU in Sioux Center)


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