Evangelical Scrutiny of the Prodigal NAE

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on October 26, 2009

Rank-and-file evangelicals have sounded off in the past couple of weeks since the 42-member National Association of Evangelicals endorsed wholesale amnesty and increased immigration at a recent Senate immigration subcommittee hearing. Literally thousands of American Christians have contacted their denominations expressing their concern over the apparent unanimous endorsement of a pro-amnesty resolution by the NAE board, which was announced with fanfare before the U.S. Senate.

The apparent isn't always factual, and in this case the purported consensus turns out not to exist. NumbersUSA reports that a mere 11 member denominations of the NAE actually endorsed amnesty. Most of the three-fourths of NAE's non-endorsing members abstained. For instance, the Salvation Army issued a statement that said the ministry "chose to abstain from signing the final resolution on immigration reform. ... In actuality, The Salvation Army has never established an official position on this topic and has chosen to remain politically neutral on the matter."

God bless the Salvation Army for its wisdom. It and many NAE members took the more prudent course, recognizing that Scripture is far from prescriptive concerning many issues of public policy, including immigration. Yet, on immigration (as it has increasingly done on political issues in recent days) the NAE picked sides on this issue, lurching ever leftward. You can bet liberal Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer wouldn't have invited the NAE to testify at his hearing, said such patronizing words to them, or emphasized with them the pro-amnesty testimony he wanted in the record if the NAE had adopted a pro-life position on abortion or a traditional marriage position on same-sex marriage. Rather, to win the praise of men, the NAE became a political pawn on behalf of anti-sovereignty, radical ethnic politics.

Some of those denominations called out have gotten defensive. As parents know, that's usually a sign of ill-considered action or of ignorance. The NAE's board chairman, Roy Taylor of the Presbyterian Church in America (which as a denomination clarified that the NAE's stance favoring amnesty is not a denominational position), is a prime example. Taylor said, "The NAE Immigration Resolution of 2009, in my view, is a biblically-based, theologically reflective, carefully balanced, concise document." Actually, it isn't that at all. The NAE resolution lacks sophistication and depth. It's one-sided. It's built on biblically shaky ground (or sand, unable to withstand the storm of public scrutiny it's currently undergoing, in keeping with the famous parable). See the statement for yourself here. Did you notice that it actually insults Christians who oppose amnesty? There's not space in this blog to critique the NAE resolution closely, but Alan Wisdom at the watchdog organization, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, does so here. Here's a Bible verse for the NAE and its 11 amnesty disciples: All we, like sheep, have gone astray. And another: Pride comes before a fall.