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Immigration seen as threat and economic burden in Evangelical eyes

A survey conducted by Lifeway Research highlights a shifting perspective among U.S. evangelicals towards immigrants, revealing an increase in the belief that immigrants are both an economic burden and a safety threat. However, in contrast to these concerns, there is also a significant rise in evangelical support for immigration reform. This complex view underscores the tension between security and compassion within the evangelical community, suggesting a nuanced approach to addressing immigration issues.

Christianity Today reports:

“While many evangelicals fear that our nation is harmed by the volume of recent immigrants, more feel responsible to show compassion,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “The urgency continues to grow among evangelicals for Congress to act this year to improve laws around immigration.”

Many evangelicals have a negative perception of the recent number of immigrants to the United States. Half (50%) say they are a drain on economic resources. More than a third see the number as a threat to the safety of citizens (37%) and a threat to law and order (37%), while 28 percent say they are a threat to traditional American customs and culture.

Yet, a large percentage of evangelicals see the number coming to the country as an opportunity or even an improvement. Two in 5 evangelicals say the number of immigrants presents an opportunity to introduce them to Jesus Christ (40%) and to show them love (39%). Around a quarter (26%) believe immigrants represent an improvement to America’s cultural diversity, and 14 percent say they’re a boost to entrepreneurial activity.

“It is not surprising that the share of evangelicals who believe that the arrival of immigrants presents an economic challenge or a threat to safety or order has increased, given both very real issues at the US-Mexico border in recent years and the large number of migrants reaching American cities where they are legally barred from working, providing for themselves and contributing economically,” said Matthew Soerens, national coordinator of the Evangelical Immigration Table.

Read the full article.

Key Points

  • A recent Lifeway Research survey reveals a growing perception among evangelicals in the United States that immigrants are an economic burden and safety threat.
  • Despite this, there’s a notable increase in evangelical support for immigration reform, reflecting a complex perspective on the issue.
Themes Pros Cons
Economic Impact Highlights the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Perceived as an economic burden by a growing number of evangelicals.
Security Increased awareness of security concerns. May contribute to xenophobic attitudes.
Compassion Reflects a compassionate stance towards immigrants among some evangelicals. Tension between compassion and security concerns.


Questions to Consider

  1. How can evangelicals balance the tension between security concerns and the biblical call to compassion?
  2. What role does media play in shaping perceptions of immigrants among the evangelical community?
  3. How can evangelical support for immigration reform be mobilized to influence policy changes?


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