Sunday, March 26, 2006

Southern Baptist leader: "deeply offended" by lack of immigration enforcement

The Southern Baptist Convention's Baptist Press reports in this article that the religious denomination's ethics leader Richard Land met with President Bush March 23 at a White House meeting on immigration. Land's message, according to the article: Southern Baptists are "deeply offended" by U.S. immigration policy - more specifically, they're offended that it's not enforced enough. "As Southern Baptists, we believe that Romans 13 teaches the government is to punish those who break the law and reward those who obey the law," Land said. Two months ago, Land was quoted in Christianity Today as saying that there was no consensus among Southern Baptists on immigration law.

The Southern Baptist Convention has over 16 million members and has seen its share of theological divisions, so it is logical that not all Southern Baptists agree with Land. The denomination has many active Hispanic-focused congregations, including the "more than 250 Southern Baptist churches" who have showered visiting Hispanic workers in Ashe County, North Carolina, with resources and affection, according to this article in Reason magazine.

Based in Nashville, the Southern Baptist Convention considers its member churches and associations to be autonomous, free to "determine their membership and set their own course," according to the denomination's official web site.

update 4/23/2006: The Tennessean has reported on the split of Southern Baptist opinion on immigration in Tennessee in this article.

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