BIC Church votes with National Association of Evangelicals on immigration reform

—The Brethren in Christ Church was among the 40 Christian denominations that voted unanimously in favor of the National Association of Evangelicals’ (NAE) resolution on comprehensive immigration reform. The vote came during the Association’s early October meeting in Washington, D.C.

According to Alan Robinson, BIC representative to the NAE and senior pastor of the Carlisle ( Pa.) BIC Church, the resolution calls the U.S. government to treat all immigrants with greater dignity and equity, while at the same time providing for national security and promoting the general welfare in just and appropriate ways.

“From a Brethren in Christ perspective, immigration is an issue that we need to be concerned about,” says Robinson, who has served as the denomination’s representative to the NAE since 2008.

He notes that the language of the resolution resonates strongly with a number of the denomination’s core values. “This resolution takes seriously the authority of Scripture,” says Robinson. He points out that the document draws on both Old and New Testament passages to show that the Bible itself demonstrates concern for and mandates compassion toward immigrants.

Additionally, he says, the church’s commitment to valuing all human life fits with the resolution’s call for just and equitable treatment of immigrants, whether legal or illegal, since all individuals are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-28).

In the days following the unanimous vote, some bloggers and political pundits have denounced the NAE document as a push for universal amnesty and open borders—comments which Robinson characterizes as “false and missing the intent of the resolution.”

For instance, the document does not use the term “amnesty” in its text. Rather, says Robinson, the resolution sketches a biblical basis for the sanctity of all human life and reminds Christians of their God-given responsibility to “welcome aliens and strangers” (Exodus 22:11, Leviticus 19:33-34, Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:2).

In terms of policy recommendations, the resolution calls the government to establish an equitable process whereby undocumented workers “who desire to embrace the responsibilities and privileges that accompany citizenship” can earn their legal status. At the same time, it makes clear the need for the country to develop structures that “safeguard . . . our national borders with efficiency and respect for human dignity.”

To read the resolution in its entirety, click here: http://www.nae.net/government-affairs/policy-resolutions/352-immigration-2009