As the US Senate continues to consider the Gang of 8 immigration bill, evangelical leaders in Utah and around the country are adding their voices to those calling for reform. Congregations from across the state are sending letters to Utah’s Congressional delegation, letting them know that they are praying for them as they make important decisions about the nation’s immigrants.
Baptist Pastor Greg Johnson of Lehi is a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals.
“We should be engaged. It’s important,” Johnson says. “It’s a biblical conviction to honor the mandate in my understanding of Old and New Testament scripture to care for the widow and the orphan, the stranger and the immigrant. That’s something that’s deeply part of who I am as a Christian.”
About 20 pastors from Utah have signed a letter to Utah’s Congressional delegation calling for a compassionate approach to immigration policy that honors the rule of law and border security. Johnson says not everyone in the evangelical community has the same views, but they generally agree that the current immigration system doesn’t reflect a commitment to the values of human dignity and family unity.
“I think there are voices of leadership at the national level and at the local level saying, it’s not an option to send everybody home. It’s not a compassionate response. It’s not a loving response. It’s not a response that my faith allows me to take to be callous towards people that are here in this country that need to be given dignity and respect,” Johnson says. “There is a growing number of voices that are calling for reform.”
Johnson says he and other evangelical leaders are praying that God gives Congress extra wisdom and strength as they work long hours, negotiate agreements, and make difficult decisions.