An interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor describes a growing movement among evangelical churches to advocate for the rights of immigrant people. People who have never really read the Bible do not realize that its central story is of a nation of immigrants that were brought together as a nation to be a light to the world. The very covenant and promised land was contingent on God’s “loving mercy” to those immigrants and Israel’s promise not to exploit other helpless people the way they had been exploited. The prophets who predicted that fall of that nation continually referenced an absence of justice as the reason for Israel’s fall.
So perhaps it isn’t surprising that evangelical Christians would move from the marginal moralistic concerns of the Bible to it’s ethical heart of justice. There are also other, more practical reasons for the change. Amy E. Black writes:
Much like the nation, evangelicalism is becoming more ethnically diverse. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 13 percent of Hispanic Americans describe themselves as evangelical Protestants. Immigrant churches are growing rapidly, and many denominations have created new structures and leadership posts designed to serve Hispanic congregants. Immigration – including illegal immigration – touches the lives of many in the pews, and church leaders want to help.
Also, greater numbers of Evangelicals are worshiping alongside documented and undocumented immigrants, getting to know them and listening to their stories.