Evangelical leaders spend $250,000 to back immigration reform

Evangelical leaders are doing more than just praying for immigration reform.

They’re spending a quarter-million dollars to make their point.

On Thursday, the Evangelical Immigration Table launched a massive media buy that includes radio ads and billboards in Florida. They’re hoping the campaign will help sell Republican leaders on legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“We’re expecting thousands more to stand up and be counted as advocates of immigration reform,” said Dr. Russell Moore, president-elect of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The proposed legislation, which is headed to the Senate floor, establishes a 13-year road to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The bill also creates new opportunities for low-skilled and highly skilled workers to come to the country, and strengthens border security.

In a conference call with reporters, spiritual leaders framed immigration reform as a “biblical and theological issue,” rather than a partisan issue.

“Before my political affiliation, I am a Christian,” said Rev. Dan Krause, the lead pastor at Chugach Covenant Church in Alaska. “My values are rooted in that place... I’m completely convinced that God has spoken on this issue. It is our job as Christians and as Christian leaders to love those who are here in Jesus’ name.”

The ads, urging Christians to pray for reform, will air nationally on the Salem Communications Network. There will be additional ads in Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Florida’s share will feature Rev. Dr. David Uth, senior pastor at First Baptist Orlando.

Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas will also see the message plastered on billboards located near a handful of key congressional offices.

The media buy is part of the Evangelical Immigration Table’s larger #pray4reform campaign. The organization is made up of Evangelical churches, universities and organizations across the country.