Evangelical Ad Campaign Launches in Florida, Pastors Call for Bipartisan Immigration Solutions
June 20, 2012
From our friends at the Evangelical Immigration Table:
Orlando and Miami, Fla. — Today, local pastors and evangelical leaders launched a paid media campaign with a 60-second spot that is playing on Christian radio stations in Orlando, Miami and Jacksonville. The ads, which are recorded by Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Rev. Luis Cortes, president of Esperanza, highlight common-ground principles uniting evangelical Christians around immigration reform.
“Pastors are fighting every day to keep families together, but our broken immigration system keeps ripping them apart,” said Peter Vivaldi, the Orlando representative for the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC). “Churches are stepping in and fill the void of broken families. People need to understand that immigrants who come to this country aren’t looking for money to be handed to them, but for a path to opportunity.”
Last Tuesday, more than 150 influential evangelical Christians across America, including Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, endorsed an “Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform,” the contents of which ran as full-page ad in POLITICO. Prominent evangelical leaders convened a press conference announcing the initiative and delivered these principles to leadership from the Obama Administration, Senate and House of Representatives. The statement has garnered significant national press attention and has gained momentum with additional prominent signatories from the leadership of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, The Navigators, and Prison Fellowship.
“Countless numbers of people within our congregation, our community, and even within our very own neighborhoods are pleading for a bipartisan immigration solution,” said Joshua Blackwell, Language Pastor at First Baptist Orlando. “First Baptist Orlando is one of many churches that is standing firm with the Evangelical Immigration Table and its call for comprehensive immigration reform.” The diverse 15,000 member congregation has more than 9 different Language Ministries – including Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole. Blackwell concluded, “It is our belief, as well as our moral and civil obligation, that we stand for those who cannot stand for themselves and demonstrate what it means to have a passion for all people as we ‘act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God’ (Micah 6:8).”
Evangelical leaders formally announced the creation of an “Evangelical Immigration Table” to advance a cohesive immigration reform message and strategy while building political will in the pews. The "Table" was more than one year in the making and represents an unprecedented coalition of evangelicals from diverse political and theological backgrounds. During the June 12th launch the leaders made the case that humane immigration reform should be a moral priority and told stories of how concerted outreach to evangelical churches and colleges is already shifting opinions on immigration reform among the evangelical grassroots and empowering those who support reform.
In addition to the paid media campaign, participating organizations are building capacity by hiring mobilizers to coordinate existing advocacy work, reach new populations, and engage current advocates.
To read the endorsement list of the Evangelical Principles for Immigration Reform and to listen to the radio ad, please visit http://www.evangelicalimmigrationtable.com.
The Evangelical Immigration Table has come together to create a united evangelical front for immigration reform and shares a common, biblically mandated vision to help create a better life for immigrants in America.