[The Capstone Report] The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) is gearing up for the 2020 Election with a continued focus on immigration reform. Highlighting the ERLC’s commitment to this issue is its connection with the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT) and the National Immigration Forum (NIF). These groups are George Soros and big business funded tools to shape US immigration policy.
As we reported earlier, the National Immigration Forum is well-known for its connection to liberal icon Soros. Also, “The National Immigration Forum (NIF) was founded by far-left attorney Dale Frederick ‘Rick’ Swartz of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, who opposed tracking and deporting visa overstayers and opposed sanctions against companies that violated immigration laws,” according to Michelle Malkin’s new book Open Borders Inc.: Who’s Funding America’s Destruction?.
Moore joined a panel moderated by former President Barack Obama’s faith outreach advisor Michael Wear. Wear has been platformed by The Gospel Coalition and is Chief Strategist for the AndCampaign. Also on the panel was Cherie Harder of The Trinity Forum. The panel examined the perils of polarization to the Republic especially in the area of immigration reform. Tom Littleton first reported on the link between Obama’s campaign worker and evangelicalism on radio and on his website.
Dr. Moore urged evangelicals to participate in political debates, but not to get caught up in the debate. He cautioned making politics the core of one’s identity. He encouraged Christians to avoid tribalism that is problematic to finding solutions to today’s problems.
He also criticized evangelicals who despise immigrants (though who those evangelicals are was left undefined.) Dr. Moore said,
“An evangelical Christian who despises immigrants is an evangelical Christian who is self-defeating and self-loathing because most of the Body of Christ on earth right now not to mention heaven is not white, is not middle class, is not American, doesn’t speak English. And most of the places where God is most at work in the United States of America right now are in first and second generation immigrant communities.
As for the refugee resettlement programs, Dr. Moore suggested that the Christians who understand the political issue best are those who engage in outreach ministries to refugees. He said,
“A lot of secular people are fearful of evangelicals and evangelism, but what I’m saying to you is, that if you look at those places that are the most evangelistic, not the ones who talk the most about evangelism, but the ones actually doing it. You are going to find people who have deep, deep connections to the neighbors with whom they disagree that they do not demonize. So, for instance, if I’m going to find evangelical Christians who Get It when it comes to refugees, I’m going to look to churches that have evangelistic and mercy ministries among refugee communities. Who are the ones who say, when everyone says ‘These people are drains on our society, let’s get them out’, who say ‘No, No. This is my neighbor. These are people I love and who I’ve built a relationship with.’ That is a key component in how evangelicals ought to see it.”
Russell Moore rejected the idea that polarization over immigration is worse today than in the past. He said, the rhetoric of today mirrors earlier American issues with new immigrants. Dr. Moore said,
“I think it was always this way just with bursts of it in American life anyway, so if you hear the sort of language that is used about immigrants right now it is very, very similar to the exact sort of language that would’ve been used about the Italians and the Irish, Southern Europeans of all kinds in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. So, I think this is a persistent theme in American life that has to be persistently countered.”
In contrast, Dr. Moore said the belief that “if immigrants come into the country they are going to fundamentally change the country” is belied by the fears of the very immigrants themselves who worry their offspring will become thoroughly Americanized.
Moore pointed toward early 20th century fears among conservative Protestants that Catholic immigrants from Italy and Ireland would radically shift political power and allow the Pope to directly rule the United States. “That’s not how things turned out,” Dr. Moore said.
One interesting observation was the way coalitions are built in among some Christians, where politics trumps orthodox Christianity. Dr. Moore said,
“When it comes to politics driving faith, because I actually believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I think the Gospel as a means to any end including an end with which I agree makes the Gospel into a different religion. I think this is much of what is happening in American life right now, which is one of the reasons why you can see people who are able to form coalitions where they disagree about the most important things as evangelicals: What the Gospel is for instance, What the Trinity is, those sorts of things. But, excommunicate people who agree with them on all of that but who don’t agree with them on all the particularities of politics. That is a very, very dangerous sort of situation to be in. I say dangerous not just for the Republic. It is dangerous also for the church because it is a moving away, a walking away from the Gospel. That happens on the right. That happens on the Left. That happens in the center.”
Ultimately, Dr. Moore wants Christians to do something more than be civil in politics. He wants kindness.
Dr. Moore said something true—Christians should do better than civility. “I despise the term civility,” Dr. Moore said. “As Christians, I think, we are called to kindness, active kindness and love of neighbor, but if civility is all we can get in a public arena, then I’ll take it.”
[Editor’s Note: This article was written and first published under a different title at Capstone Report]
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