A coalition of evangelical groups this week began a six-figure advertising campaign on Christian radio stations in four states urging legislators to put forth “common-sense and just immigration laws.”
The Evangelical Immigration Table said at a telephone news conference that it was sponsoring more than 1,600 radio spots on 50 stations in Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, and Florida. Most of the ads will run throughout the week.
Legislators are expected to take up immigration reform once they return to Capitol Hill from Easter recess next week.
“We’re a growing movement of evangelical Christians who are committed to supporting Congress and exerting pressure on our elected officials to make sure that common-sense, just immigration reform is a reality this year,” said Noel Castellanos of the Christian Community Development Association, one the coalition’s member organizations.
“When we turn our attention to the issue, we have an ability to change the political landscape,” he said. “The outreach that we are launching today is essential in these critical states.”
The Evangelical Immigration Table, established last June, has been lobbying for an immigration overhaul to bring the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants into legal status.
The groups had stopped short of advocating for citizenship, but reversed their position last month — saying that it was appropriate as religious leaders to also support citizenship.
The coalition will also sponsor a “Day of Prayer and Action” in Washington on April 17, during which evangelical leaders will hold a news conference, worship services, and meetings with legislators to demand practical action on the immigration issue.
“Evangelical Christians who listen to Christian radio tend to be well-educated in the Scriptures and politically engaged,” said Richard Land, the retiring president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “Reaching them with this message about God’s heart for immigrants and the importance for immigration solutions rooted in biblical values will be absolutely crucial for building the critical will we need to pass meaningful reforms in 2013.”
The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant body in the United States, with more than 16 million members.
“Our political leaders need to hear from our constituents and from their constituents and know that evangelical Christians are strongly behind them if they have the moral courage to act on the values we see in Matthew 25 and in other scriptures concerning welcoming the stranger,” Land said.
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