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American Christians Slam Obama's 'Dangerous' Plans for Immigration Reform

( [email protected] ) Nov 22, 2014 12:50 AM EST
President Obama's recent executive order has garnered mixed reactions from Evangelical groups, with equal groups supporting and opposing the law that will allow undocumented workers to acquire work permits and temporarily protect them from deportation.
On Thursday, President Obama introduced his measures by saying ''our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.'' (Getty Images)

Although multiple Conservative and faith based groups have voiced their support for President Obama's recent executive order, some are denouncing the plan that will allow millions of undocumented workers to acquire work permits and temporarily protect them from deportation.

In an address on Thursday, Obama announced his executive order to forward an immigration plan where an estimated four million people will be eligible for a new legal status that will temporarily prevent them from being deported and permit them to work. Another one million people will also be protected from deportation.

"Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger--we were strangers once, too," said the President, referencing the Old Testament laws found in Exodus 22:1 and 23:9 "My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too."

Reverend Stacy Swimp, an nationally recognized political commentator and founder of Revive Alive Ministries, said that allowing illegal immigrants any kind of amnesty sets a troubling precedent.

"Illegal aliens are fugitives. They are criminals in that they crossed our borders illegally and avoided being processed by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

This is not a matter of being hateful or mean-spirited, but a matter of law. We are a nation of laws and for good reason," he said.

"We have laws because God Himself gave man laws to provide a mirror to himself so that man would know we must have boundaries and standards.

Illegal aliens are no different than any other criminal in the United States who sought to take a shortcut in order to achieve their given set of goals. They have no boundaries that they honor, and shall not submit to standards that require honoring our nation's rule of law."

Meanwhile, Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore, who has often urged Obama to act on immigration, said in a Time op-ed that executive action is the wrong approach.

Russell Moore, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention who also serves as an EIT leader, said President Obama's executive order on immigration reform is a bad idea.

"I disagree with President Barack Obama's decision to act unilaterally on immigration policy. I am for immigration reform, for all sorts of reasons that I have outlined elsewhere. The system we have is incoherent and unjust. I have worked hard to try to see the system changed, and will continue to do so. It's because of my support for immigrants and for immigration reform that I think President Obama's executive actions are the wrong thing to do," noted Moore.

"On more than one occasion, I asked President Obama not to turn immigration reform into a red state/blue state issue. I also asked him not to act unilaterally, but to work for consensus through the legislative process. Acting unilaterally threatens that consensus, and is the wrong thing to do," he continued.

However, Moore said that despite the varying opinions among Evangelicals regarding the issue, he hopes the Church will be able to rise beyond the disagreements.

"We can debate whether the President has the authority to undertake these actions unilaterally, but, regardless, this is an unwise and counterproductive move," he wrote.

"Acting unilaterally threatens that consensus, and is the wrong thing to do. Even those who support broad executive action... acknowledge that the actions won't solve the problem, only a legislative solution will. My hope is that the Republicans in Congress will not allow the President's actions here to be a pretext for remaining in the rut of the status quo. Too many people are harmed by this broken system, many of them our brothers and sisters in Christ. The lives of immigrant families, made in the image of God, are too important for political gamesmanship."