taking the words of Jesus seriously

As Republicans in Congress and President Trump persecute immigrant families and leave young immigrants’ futures in limbo, they should take note that they are out of step with the president’s most reliable group of supporters — white evangelicals.

According to a recent Pew survey, a majority of evangelicals favor granting permanent legal status to immigrants who come to the U.S. when they were children.

It’s not just the rank and file. Nationally prominent evangelicals who don’t commonly inject themselves into policy debates, including Beth Moore, Jen Hatmaker, Max Lucado and many more added their names to a full-page advertisement published recently in the Washington Post urging President Trump and Congress to act to protect Dreamers, refugees, and immigrant families.

Do members of Congress who have turned a deaf ear to courageous young immigrants have ears to hear evangelical voters and leaders?

As a pastor, I believe the president’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and throw these Dreamers’ futures into limbo is a sin. I believe Speaker Ryan’s assurances that Dreamers should “rest easy” amounts to false witness if he does not use his considerable power to shepherd a clean Dream Act through the House of Representatives.

READ: Paul Ryan Faces An Urgent Moral Challenge

Christians are called to love our neighbors as ourselves in both word and deed. Right now, that requires lawmakers to go beyond vague and tepid words, and pass a clean Dream Act that doesn’t hold Dreamers hostage to mean-spirited policies that harm immigrant families.

Christians are also called by scripture to welcome the immigrant in our land. How can we preach the gospel on Sunday and not work for justice on Monday?

Dreamers worship in our pews, lead in our schools, and make our nation stronger. We must be grateful for the talents Dreamers bring to this nation and reaffirm the values we espouse but too often do not enact.

There is no moral or political reason not to act. No matter where a person is born, she has God-given human dignity. Whether a family has legal status or not, it is still sacred. People of faith are calling on Congress to act with moral courage on behalf of Dreamers.

To the Senators and Representatives who call yourselves Christians. The Bible says that which we do to the most marginalized among us, we do to Christ himself. To turn your back on Dreamers is to turn your back on Christ.

We need Congress and the president to honor our nation’s values by passing a Clean Dream Act.

Our congressional leaders have the power and the moral obligation to help young Dreamers thrive. I pray that you have the backbone to pass a clean Dream Act that protects the futures of young American immigrants.

About The Author


Rev. Jennifer Butler is the Founder in Residence of Faith in Public Life, a network of faith leaders united in the pursuit of justice. She chaired President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She was named one of the “22 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2022” by Center for American Progress. She is the author of Who Stole my Bible? Reclaiming Scripture as a Handbook for Resisting Tyranny, which makes a biblical case for multi-faith, multiracial democracy in the face of rising white Christian Nationalism and authoritarianism in the U.S. and around the world.

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