WASHINGTON (BP)—An advertising campaign in South Carolina supporting immigration reform is about more than politics, Southern Baptist leaders say.
The Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT), a coalition of evangelical Christian leaders, began advertising March 13 on Christian radio stations in South Carolina in an effort to promote congressional passage this year of broad immigration reform legislation. The ad buy is an effort to bolster support from the state’s senators and representatives in Congress for such a bill in the face of a competing effort by reform foes.
It has more than politics as a driving force, said Southern Baptists on a March 13 telephone news conference.
“It goes way beyond mere partisanship,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “This is an issue of conviction; it’s an issue of values; it’s an issue of bringing our biblical values to bear on an issue that’s rending the social fabric of the nation.”
Trey Doyle, pastor of First Baptist Church in York, S.C., said, “This is about faith for us and putting that faith into action.”
The ad—which features Jim Goodroe, director of missions for the Spartanburg County Baptist Network—ran on 15 radio stations in a 2-week period with a cost of five figures, an EIT spokesman said.
NumbersUSA has a $100,000 ad campaign running in the state that criticizes Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina for joining seven other senators in promoting a bipartisan immigration reform proposal, according to Bloomberg News Service.
The growing evangelical effort for reform seeks to address what is widely acknowledged as an immigration system badly in need of repair. The current system has resulted in the presence of an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
EIT is sponsoring an Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action for Immigration Reform April 17 in Washington.
Messengers to the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, Ariz., approved a resolution on immigration reform that called for the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus while pursuing justice and compassion. The measure urged the government to make a priority of border security and holding businesses accountable in their hiring. It also requested public officials establish after securing the borders “a just and compassionate path to legal status, with appropriate restitutionary measures, for those undocumented immigrants already living in our country.” It specified the resolution was not to be interpreted as supporting amnesty.
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