Evangelicals get religion on immigration reform

Updated
Photo: Getty Images/Alex Wong
Photo: Getty Images/Alex Wong
Alex Wong

Latinos are not only one of the fastest-growing segments of the American population, they are also an increasing presence in the evangelical Christian movement.

So it makes sense that officials affiliated with several evangelical organizations, universities, and seminaries have joined together to form the Evangelical Immigration Table. The organization launched in June and is now asking President Obama, as well as Senate and House leaders, to meet with them in the first 92 days of his new administration to work towards bipartisan immigration reform. (Why the number 92? Because according to the group, the Hebrew word for immigrant, “ger,” occurs 92 times in the Bible.)

The Table’s most recent statement reads: “We are driven by a moral obligation rooted deeply in our faith to address the needs of immigrants in our country.”

That “moral obligation” is no greater today than it was five, 10, or even 20 years ago, but the rising percentage of Latino evangelical worshipers has given the immigration issue traction in this community. The Table hasn’t offered or endorsed any specific policies. But they’re eager to see progress.

“In terms of the election, Chuck Todd, my favorite analyst on television, put it well when he said the demographic time bomb was finally set off in American politics,” said Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, as well as one of the 10 evangelical leaders who head up the Table, in an interview on Patheos.com.  “What it says, and that the Romney campaign learned, is that getting the votes of [just] white males is not ever going to win an election again in America. That will shape the rest of our politics, and that’s the big story.”

It is savvy survival tactics to appeal to and protect a burgeoning sector of the community.

Evangelicals get religion on immigration reform

Updated