More than 100 evangelical leaders have signed a letter, published as a full-page ad today in the Washington Post, asking Donald Trump to consider dreamers, refugees, persecuted Christians and families awaiting reunification in his legislative actions, and committing to pray for him. From the Christian Post:
The advertisement was sponsored by the evangelical refugee resettlement organization World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals and one of nine organizations authorized to resettle refugees in the United States.
The Washington Post itself covers the ad in a story here, pointing out some of its history and some of its surprises:
Last year, a similar group took out an ad denouncing Trump’s attempt to ban certain refugees, a controversial executive order that has been caught up in legal battles during the past year. This year’s ad also includes controversial immigration issues that have been tied up in recent congressional battles.
It has some of the same signatures, including popular authors like Max Lucado and Ann Voskamp, who have long focused on the welcoming part of immigration. However, it also adds some interesting names, including Bible teacher Beth Moore and popular author Jen Hatmaker, two women who have become increasingly vocal in the Trump era. Some of these leaders focus mostly on the Bible and spirituality and don’t typically get too involved in political issues.
Moore, who is one of the most widely recognized Bible teachers in evangelical circles, has become much more outspoken on political issues this year on Twitter, especially on sexual abuse in the wake of the #MeToo movement. She has openly written and spoken about her own history of sexual abuse.
The letter also includes pastors of very large churches who don’t typically sign these kinds of statements, like Texas megachurch pastor Matt Chandler and Nevada megachurch pastor Jud Wilhite. It also includes people of color, including Eugene Cho, a pastor in Seattle, and Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition.
The letter, published on World Relief’s website, opens:
As Christian leaders, we have a commitment to caring for the vulnerable in our churches while also supporting just, compassionate and welcoming policies toward refugees and other immigrants. The Bible speaks clearly and repeatedly to God’s love and concern for the vulnerable, and also challenges us to think beyond our nationality, ethnicity or religion when loving our neighbor.
…and it is open to additional signatories, here.
Evangelicals continue to be mixed in their support of the GOP’s immigration policies, as a March 5 deadline to protect Dreamers approaches and, according to John Kelly, White House chief of staff, Trump does not appear likely to extend it:
A majority of evangelicals (55 percent) favor granting permanent legal status to immigrants who come to the U.S. when they were children, according to a recent Pew survey. However, they are also the religious group most likely to oppose granting legal status (34 percent). White evangelicals are also the religious group most likely to favor substantially expanding a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The only member of Trump’s evangelical advisory council to sign the letter, according to the Washington Post, is Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Image: Screenshot from World Relief’s home page.