I’m privileged to chair the Social Concerns Committee in my denomination, the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. One task I have is writing resolutions for our annual conference. The following resolution on IMMIGRATION was passed by the conference. My prayer is that this will motivate many—in my denomination or not, Christian or not—toward meaningful change.
- All people are made in the Image of God,
- Respect for the rule of law is essential in a civil society,
- Secure borders are the right and need of every nation,
- Israel was frequently reminded by God that she should show mercy to the immigrant because she, too, was once an oppressed and exploited people,
- The prophets in Scripture demanded special compassion to the exploited and vulnerable, including the “alien in the land”,
- Our nation is populated by people from a multitude of cultures and lands, and
- The presence of undocumented immigrants in this country (and in our churches) is a fact and a complex issue not easily resolved,
(1) We therefore call on our churches to give prayer, thought, discussion and action toward addressing the problem of the undocumented immigrant in a God-honoring way.
(2) We recognize the divisive and controversial nature of this debate and we encourage dialogue in the churches that is respectful, open-minded and solution-focused.
(3) We further call on our churches to be the “reconciling presence of Christ” in the midst of a broken system that creates rancor, resentment, racism, selfishness, fear, exploitation, danger and disregard for law.
(4) We call on our society and elected leaders to rise above political posturing and rancor to work toward a solution on immigration that:
- Respects the God-given dignity of every person,
- Rejects the nativism that ignores the love of God for all and our country’s history of immigration and openness to the foreigner, as captured in the words enshrined on the Statue of Liberty,
- Protects the unity of the immediate family and seeks the best interests of native-born children of undocumented immigrants,
- Respects the rule of law,
- Holds employers accountable for ensuring the legal status of workers,
- Creates secure national borders,
- Ensures fairness to taxpayers,
- Develops a generous and fair “guest worker” program,
- Protects all immigrants from exploitation and violence, and
- Establishes a pathway toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents or citizens—a pathway that both achieves justice and loves mercy.
We recognize that meaningful solutions to this problem are not easily reached. We also recognize the solutions must come through a determined will to reach them and cannot be ignored time after time, year after year.