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Evangelical Leaders Intensify Call for Bipartisan Immigration Reform with Radio Ads and Billboards

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pray for reformThe following is a press statement from the National Immigration Forum and Sojourners:

As momentum builds in support of broad, commonsense immigration reform, the Evangelical Immigration Table announced today its newest and largest paid-media campaign to reach evangelicals on the issue of immigration. On a press call today, national and local evangelical leaders discussed the quarter-million-dollar effort, which includes ads airing nationally on the Salem Communications Network and additional reach in 13 key states — including billboards near congressional offices in four states.

The ad campaign further increases the Evangelical Immigration Table’s support for bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform and builds on the 92-day “Pray for Reform” campaign. The call took place as small groups of Christians in at least 20 states gathered in their communities to pray for immigrants and for Congress as part of the Pray for Reform campaign.

The national ads on Christian and talk radio stations feature Dr. Russell Moore, President-elect of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Lynne Hybels, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church. In addition, ads featuring local pastors are airing on stations in Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Pray for Reform billboards will appear in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

The following quotes can be attributed to speakers on today’s call:

Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief:

“What we’ve seen across the country is really a sea change among Christians and evangelicals. People are wanting to know about the issue, they want to know what the Bible says about it … [The radio ads] are very simple messages — praying for immigrants, praying for Congress and reminding Christians across our country that this is first a biblical and moral issue.”

Lynne Hybels, Co-founder, Willow Creek Community Church:

“Immigration is not an abstract issue because immigrants are people with whom we live and worship. We in this movement are reaching out to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ because we believe that this is one of the great moral issues of our country and that the voices of evangelical Christians must reach our politicians.”

Rev. Dan Krause, Lead Pastor, Chugach Covenant Church, Anchorage, Alaska:

“When you look through scripture you see the heart of God is one of concern for immigrants. It is our job as Christians and Christian leaders to love those who are here in Jesus’ name … I have had some conversations with our congregants on this issue, and they’re going through a similar process I did just several months ago. As soon as we take them into the scripture and really show people, ‘Listen, God has spoken clearly about this issue,’ it’s fairly easy to convince somebody who has a high regard for scripture that God loves the stranger, the sojourner in our land and we need to be praying for reform.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President-elect, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:

“Evangelicals understand that our broken system is a moral issue; this isn’t just a legal issue, it isn’t a political issue or an economic issue only. It’s a moral issue and it’s been a stain on our country for too long. Now is the time for the country to come together for an immigration system that respects the God-given human dignity of every person.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:

“There has really been a conversion [among evangelicals]. There is mounting momentum and impetus. The pushback that we may have now is not what we had even a year ago or six months ago because people are sitting down, reading and reasoning. And [people] are in relationships with immigrants. They know they’re hardworking, they know they want to contribute to society in healthy ways.”