Representatives of the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT), a group whose recent $250,000 ad campaign was reportedly paid for by the George Soros funded National Immigration Forum, have announced that they will be praying near the steps of the Capitol for the immediate passage of the Gang of Eight immigration bill when the Senate votes on the Corker Amendment on Monday.On Friday the Christian Post reported that the EIT "is planning a number of events bringing attention to immigration reform to coincide with next week's vote in the U.S. Senate for an immigration reform bill." The Post reported that starting on Monday, June 24, and continuing until Friday, June 28, "[a]t 10 a.m. . . evangelical leaders will gather at Peace Circle near the U.S. Senate to pray that the senators will ' transcend partisanship and vote for commonsense immigration solutions that include an achievable roadmap to citizenship,' according to a press release."
On May 31, a representative of the EIT acknowledged in an email to Breitbart News the critical role the Soros funded National Immigration Forum plays in its operation. "Early in the formation of the Table’s work, the leadership sought a neutral third-party institution, the National Immigration Forum, to help facilitate our work." the email read.
The EIT maintains that Soros, a billionaire atheist known for his support of progressive and globalist causes, has not yet directly contributed to its ad campaign, but that it would welcome any direct contributions from him. Dr. Richard Land, recently retired president of the Southern Baptist Convention's influential Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and a prominent member of the EIT, spoke recently with the Christian Post's Napp Nazworth, who reported on Thursday that "even if Soros had contributed to the EIT, [Dr. Land] would welcome it because he supports immigration reform."
Dr. Land, who also serves as the Executive Editor of the Christian Post, added that "If God can use the jawbone of an ass to achieve His purpose, He can use George Soros, too." (In the Bible's Book of Judges, God gave Samson the jawbone of an ass, which he used to defeat the Philistines.)
Breitbart News has reported on a clear discrepancy among key accounts of who paid for the ads. The EIT told Breitbart News, "[f]unding for our work comes from a variety of sources including the organizations that make up the leadership of the Table as well as other individuals and institutions that believe in our message," but did not acknowledge that the Soros funded National Immigration Forum paid for its ad campaign. Then, another prominent member of the EIT, Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, said that the Chamber of Commerce paid for the ads. Reverend Rodriguez's claim was, however, denied by the Chamber on Thursday.
Breitbart News brought the question of who paid for the EIT's ad campaign to the public's attention when it reported that the EIT could not pay for any ads because it does not exist as a legal entity. Despite that fact, one EIT member, Lynne Hybels, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church, a Chicago area mega-church, narrated a radio ad and stated incorrectly in the disclaimer at the end that the ad was "paid for by the Evangelical Immigration Table." As best Breitbart News can determine, every EIT ad contains the same disclaimer.
The EIT, which on May 2 began praying for Congress to pass the Gang of Eight bill within 92 days because it is "rooted in Biblical values," now wants the Senate to pass the more than 1,000 page bill within the next five days. The bill's final version, including the complicated Corker Amendment that Breitbart News reports contains several major loopholes, was only made available to members of the Senate late on Friday.
But a clear rift has emerged among the evangelical community over the Gang of Eight bill. Some evangelical leaders are alarmed by the EIT's actions. Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, told Breitbart News on Saturday, "Many good church people are involved with EIT and likely are unaware of its radical ties and the ramifications of their political involvement. I hope they will step back from EIT and step back from this mammoth legislation whose content and ultimate impact are at best murky."
Spokespersons for the EIT, nonetheless, continue to frame their efforts to hurry the passage of the deeply flawed Gang of Eight bill as part of a "Biblical mandate." The Christian Post reported that Keith Stewart, a pastor at Spring Creek Community Church in Garland, Texas, told a press call organized by the EIT on Thursday that his support for the week of prayer effort "comes from a Biblical mandate." Stewart added that " No one who reads the Bible can come away with any other conclusion than that the immigrant matters to God."
However, on Saturday Kelly Kullberg, co-author and editor of Finding God at Harvard and founder of the Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration group that opposes passage of the Gang of Eight bill, told Breitbart News she agreed with Stewart's statement of general principle that God loves all people, immigrant and citizen alike, stating "God loves everyone." But Kullberg disputed that support for the specific Gang of Eight legislation has anything to do with that general principle.
In a letter to Congress opposing the Gang of Eight bill, Kullberg wrote "God loves the 'sojourner,'" but she noted that "God also loves the citizen." Citing the work of Old Testament Biblical scholar James Hoffmeir, Kullberg pointed out in her letter to Congress that "a sojourner is not an illegal immigrant, but a non-citizen who abides by the laws of the host country."
Ms. Kullberg also noted in her letter that the EIT misinterprets the counsel of scripture. "While the Bible teaches us to be kind to the sojourner or 'resident alien,' " she stated, "it also teaches that kindness to the sojourner ought not to be injustice to local citizens and their unique culture."
"Just as Paul taught the Church (1 Timothy 5) to delineate among widows for whom the Church should provide," Kullberg told Congress, "we are called to discern among 'sojourners' (like Ruth and Rahab who intend to assimilate and bless) and 'foreigners' (who do not intend to assimilate and bless) and to welcome the former with hospitality."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is looking to bring the Gang of Eight immigration bill before the full Senate for a final vote this week.