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Evangelicals Distance Themselves from NAE Immigration Stance

"This controversy is about the increasing politicization and elitism of the National Association of Evangelicals, a dangerous trajectory veering towards irrelevancy and pioneered by the National Council of Churches." -- Mark Tooley, IRD President

Contact: Jeff Walton, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- After the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) endorsed and lobbied on Capitol Hill for liberalized immigration policies, several NAE member denominations, such as the Salvation Army, have either distanced themselves from the resolution or clarified their intent.

On October 8, the umbrella organization of 40 evangelical denominations passed a resolution calling for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Since then, several member denominations have reported receiving -- in the words of one church official -- "hundreds of letters" protesting the NAE immigration resolution.

NAE's immigration resolution continues NAE on a path away from primarily advocating on behalf of moral issues such as the sanctity of life and defense of marriage, and into a more politicized role aligned with the Evangelical Left. In recent years the NAE has embraced policies on the environment and alleged U.S. torture, now immigration, and appears poised to address nuclear disarmament.

Analysis of the NAE resolution and links to official statements by NAE member denominations can be viewed by visiting the IRD's website at www.TheIRD.org.

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
"The NAE, which has been a prominent voice for Evangelicals to Washington, has shifted direction and is now primarily speaking to, not for, its members. It is interesting to watch some of these members talk back.

"Several NAE members have denied endorsing the immigration resolution. Did the stance actually emerge from NAE's constituency? Or was it simply 'handed down from on-high' by NAE elites?

"This controversy is not only about immigration policy, on which Christians can disagree. It is also about NAE's increasing politicization and elitism, a dangerous trajectory veering towards irrelevancy and pioneered by the National Council of Churches."

The Institute on Religion and Democracy, founded in 1981, is an ecumenical alliance of U.S. Christians working to reform their churches' social witness, in accord with biblical and historic Christian teachings, thereby contributing to the renewal of democratic society at home and abroad.