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    Senior Member HAPPY2BME's Avatar
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    Southern Baptists seek fairness in national immigration debate

    Southern Baptists seek fairness in national immigration debate


    "Without the ethnic growth, the decline of the church as a whole would be very stark."
    timesfreepress.com
    by Perla Trevizo

    Opponents of Alabama's immigration law rally in Montgomery, Ala., on Feb. 14. A leader in the conservative Southern Baptist Convention is calling for more fairness for illegal immigrants, including a path to citizenship for immigrants who will pay penalties.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

    Twice before, the Southern Baptist Convention has called for the federal government to do something about illegal immigration.
    But recent comments by Richard Land, a Southern Baptist leader and local pastor, at a recent evangelical conference on immigration mark one of the strongest calls yet from inside the denomination for fairness for undocumented immigrants.

    "As Christians we confront the issue, 'What does the Bible say about what are my responsibilities as a citizen? What does the Bible say are my responsibilities to the stranger in our midst?'" Land said in an interview following the G92 South Immigration Conference at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

    G92 comes from the 92 references to "the stranger" -- the immigrant -- in the Old Testament. Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and interim pastor at Red Bank Baptist Church, was the keynote speaker.

    "There at least 12 million undocumented workers because they came here and found work and we've allowed them to stay here for many years, and it would be unfair and not right to all of the sudden say, 'We've changed the rules in the middle of the stream and you've got to go home,'" Land said. "We believe that they should have an opportunity to work their way through a probationary period to permanent legal status."

    The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest evangelical denomination in the nation and among the most conservative. There are questions about how much weight the convention has on the immigration debate, but Land contends that its power shouldn't be discounted.

    "When the largest Protestant denomination comes out to say we've got to find a pathway to legal status through penalties and probation, that's not insignificant," said Land, who was appointed twice by President George W. Bush to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

    Bruce Gourley, executive director of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, said the convention can definitely carry some weight. The society is a national, autonomous nonprofit devoted to telling the story of Baptists, according to its website.

    "This is a political issue and the Southern Baptist leadership is an influential voice, to a degree, within the Republican sphere," he said.

    'BEST GUIDE WE HAVE'

    Southern Baptists have been leaning toward reform that includes a path to legal, permanent status as the number of unauthorized immigrants rises in both the South and the Southern Baptist membership, Land said.

    "Unfortunately, the government hasn't been enforcing the law for many years, and we bear the responsibility for that," he said. "We have two signs at the border: One says 'No trespassing' and the other says 'Help wanted.'"

    In 2006, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution urging the federal government to secure the borders and to enforce immigration laws, including penalizing employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers. It encouraged churches to reach out to all immigrants and to encourage them "toward a path of legal status or citizenship."

    A 2011 resolution went farther and included the word "undocumented." It asked the government to secure the borders and implement a "just and compassionate path to legal status with restitutionary measures." It excluded amnesty, a point of contention that divides many on immigration.
    Resolutions are not binding, and Bill Leonard, professor of Baptist studies at Wake Forest School of Divinity in North Carolina, said they tend to reflect the minds of the people present when the vote is taken.

    But Land said such resolutions are "the best guide we have of where the convention is on a particular issue at a particular time."

    Despite the resolutions and the conferences, Southern Baptists remain divided on the issue of unauthorized immigrants.

    "I have found that, on this issue, Southern Baptists are more split generationally than in any other direction," said Land. "The older you are, the more hesitant you are about the issue; the younger you are, the more you embrace it."

    Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, said the Southern Baptist Convention hasn't taken a bold approach on issues of fairness concerning immigration, especially at the state level.

    Georgia and Alabama are among states whose immigration-enforcement laws mirror Arizona's 2010 law that, among other things, requires police to ask about the legal status of people stopped for other reasons. The laws make it a crime to harbor or transport illegal immigrants.

    Last year, leaders of the Episcopalian, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches sued Alabama on the grounds that its law "makes it a crime to follow God's command to be Good Samaritans," according to news reports.

    "Speaking generically for comprehensive immigration reform is far easier than speaking courageously against Southern Baptist leaders in Alabama and Georgia who take very hostile anti-immigration positions, making them the law of their states," Parham said.

    ETHNIC MEMBERSHIP

    Southern Baptist leaders have become more vocal about immigration as the denomination's ethnic membership has risen.

    There are about a half-million Hispanic Southern Baptists, and about 40 percent of them are unauthorized residents, according to Land.
    But overall membership fell from almost 20 million in 2000 to about 16 million in 2010.

    "The one factor, more than any other, that has prevented [the Southern Baptist Convention] as a national denomination from declining more than it has is the growth in ethnic memberships, African-Americans, Asians in some parts of the country, but especially Latinos," said Gourley, with the Baptist History and Heritage Society. "Without the ethnic growth, the decline of the church as a whole would be very stark."

    The convention is set to elect its first black president this summer.

    Land sees the possibility of "serious attempts of bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform" after the national presidential election in November.
    But Parham said Southern Baptist churches are autonomous and independent.

    "Southern Baptist Convention is not like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, where bishops can speak with one voice and authority to a particular tradition," he said.

    "That's why it's important for their leaders to speak with their churches and avoid feeding these negative narratives about the undocumented, such as they don't pay taxes, they don't want to learn English.

    "I think the way we create constructive social change on the immigration reform debate is through moral education in churches," he added.

    source: Southern Baptists seek fairness in national immigration debate | timesfreepress.com
    Last edited by HAPPY2BME; 04-08-2012 at 04:16 PM. Reason: format
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    U.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!

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    Super Moderator Kiara's Avatar
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    "I think the way we create constructive social change on the immigration reform debate is through moral education in churches," he added.

    How moral is it for these illegals who have stolen identities and over stayed visas? How moral is it for foreigners to take jobs away from American citizens? How moral is it to come here illegally and get free education, healthcare, cheap housing, food stamps, when many of our poor citizens are denied because they make like 2.oo over the poverty limit???? How moral is it for us to be paying billions of dollars to foreigners who don't belong here while our citizens struggle and suffer????
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    Senior Member HAPPY2BME's Avatar
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    ADDED TO ALIPAC HOMEPAGE News with amended title ..

    http://www.alipac.us/content/souther...on-debate-355/
    U.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!

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    Senior Member vistalad's Avatar
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    Jobs are the magnet. Until we have a national policy of Americans First, we won't be able to control our borders.

    'Bama & Co. want the votes of all those undocumented Democrats. If there's any hope for a coherent national policy of Americans First, it'll have to come out of action by the states.

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    Senior Member avenger's Avatar
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    It's not about what's right. It's about how full the collection plate is....
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    Senior Member misterbill's Avatar
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    I assume Dr Land also believes that Jesus said, "Go ye therefore to another man's land and take his livelihood while men of the cloth dfend yopur position". Those who have can afford to lose, so that the newcomer can be susteined>"

    Sort of like Jesus at Cana saying, "Instead of multiplying the fish and loaves, go ye into the vineyard and drink of what ye will. Go ye to the hearth and take whatever bread ye find, for it is the bread of my countrymen and I and I alone choose to share it with you." Is this what happened . I s this what Dr Land studied all those years to bring to our country??

    It is obvious that love for invaders is stronger in his heart than love for his fellow citizen. He is like unto Obama who says, "I will decide who gets the wealth of our country and from whom it comes."
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  7. #7
    Senior Member HAPPY2BME's Avatar
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    RELATED ..

    Showboating Evangelical Elites Split With Congregations on Issues

    Last year, several evangelical leaders aligned with Obama to support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. In June of 2011 the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution asking the government to implement a “just and compassionate path to legal status” for illegal immigrants.

    The NAE issued a
    resolution in 2009 stating that the government needs to “establish a sound, equitable process toward earned legal status for currently undocumented immigrants” who meet certain requirements. NAE's Leith Anderson declared, "We believe that undocumented immigrants who have otherwise been law abiding members of our communities should be offered the opportunity to pay any taxes or penalties owed, and over time earn the right to become U.S. citizens and permanent residents."

    The NAE claimed the vote approving the resolution was unanimous, but some members including the Salvation Army abstained from voting. Only 11 of the 40 members of the NAE are listed on its website as supporters of the resolution, including Assemblies of God, International Pentecostal Holiness Church, Grace Communion International, and Fellowship of Evangelical Churches. The Churches of Christ in Christian Union denounced the resolution, stating that they had not been consulted about it, do not support it and instead “support legal, regulated, and fair immigration." My mother wrote a letter to the NAE strongly objecting on behalf of my father, an evangelical pastor, which went unanswered.

    Again, the leadership took a stance diametrically opposed to its congregations. According to a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press report, 89% of evangelicals favor “stronger enforcement of immigration laws and border security.” A Zogby poll found that 64% of born-again Protestants strongly oppose or somewhat oppose a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

    source:
    http://townhall.com/columnists/rache...ions_on_issues


    What the Scriptures Say About Immigration

    The Hebrew Bible and the New Testament have plenty to teach us about how to think about the immigration debate.

    http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Judaism/2006/05/What-The-Scriptures-Say-About-Immigration.aspx?p=2#ixzz1cfe9tgfq

    The Use and Abuse of the Bible in the Immigration Debate

    James K. Hoffmeier is Professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern Archaeology at Trinity International University. All translations are from the ESV unless otherwise specified.

    http://www.cis.org/bible-use-and-abuse-immigration

    What the Bible says about illegal immigration

    Exclusive: Joseph Farah exegetes verses used by some to justify amnesty


    http://www.wnd.com/2011/11/363161/
    Last edited by HAPPY2BME; 04-09-2012 at 12:28 AM.
    U.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!

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    Senior Member ReggieMay's Avatar
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    The bible was also misused to support discrimination in the south. Some of these churches need to lose their tax exempt status if they continue to meddle in government affairs.
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    Super Moderator imblest's Avatar
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    "There at least 12 million undocumented workers because they came here and found work and we've allowed them to stay here for many years, and it would be unfair and not right to all of the sudden say, 'We've changed the rules in the middle of the stream and you've got to go home,'" Land said. "We believe that they should have an opportunity to work their way through a probationary period to permanent legal status."
    Land must not have a brain--We haven't changed the rules in midstream. These are the rules we've had for many years. He and others like him are the ones who want to change the rules. It's like having a rule that a child can't have a cookie before dinner, but when he sneaks one, you say, "well, okay, we'll change the rule for you since you broke it." DUH.
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    ...cannot we find an American capable and worthy of the trust? ...Why should we take the bread out of the mouths of our own children and give it to strangers?" John Adams

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    Someone really needs to organize Southern Baptists against his blasphemy that is going on in the Southern Baptist Convention. The vast majority of Southern Baptist do not support AMNESTY for illegal aliens that would eventually turn millions of illegals into a new voting block that will destroy our borders and vote to take everything the can from the Americans that once lived here in peace.

    How could any leaders in a church be so blind or so short sited that they would support a policy that would lead to the dissolution of the United States as we have known it and leave us all waiting for wave after wave of future illegal immigration?

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    Click here to learn more about William Gheen President of ALIPAC

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