There is an encouraging move afoot by conservative evangelicals to deal constructively with the immigration issue and to find a solidly biblical position not necessarily in line with majority Republican or Democratic platforms.
The effort is headed by Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Matt Staver, dean of the Liberty University Law School, and Samuel Rodriquez, head of the largest evangelical hispanic group in the nation.
A growing chorus of conservative evangelical leaders has broken with their traditional political allies on the right. They’re calling the Arizona law misguided and are attempting to use its passage to push for federal immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
The group, which includes influential political activists such as Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy wing, and Mathew Staver, dean of the Liberty University School of Law, will soon begin lobbying Republican leaders in Washington to support comprehensive immigration reform under President Obama.
But a big part of their job is to first persuade rank-and-file evangelicals to get on board.
“There’s a misconception among people at the grass roots that the pathway to citizenship is amnesty, and it’s not, but we have to overcome that,” said Staver, who heads the law school at the university founded by Jerry Falwell. “There’s a lot of work to be done.”
Staver and Land have partnered with the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, an influential Hispanic evangelical figure, and Rick Tyler — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s longtime spokesman and head of Gingrich’s new values-based organization — to try to draft a consensus evangelical position on immigration reform.