The Upshot

GOP congressmen quote Scripture to pro-immigration pastors

Liz Goodwin
The Upshot

Who knew immigration reform had anything to do with politicians' interpretations of the Old Testament?

In a House Judiciary subcommittee meeting, two Republican congressmen told Bishop Gerald Kicanas from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Richard Land, the leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, that they are wrong that the Bible's teaching supports comprehensive immigration reform, CNN reports.

"The scriptures clearly indicate that God charges civil authorities with preserving order, protecting citizens and punishing wrongdoers," Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas said in his opening statement. He cited Romans 13: "Let every person be subject to governing authorities."

The National Association of Evangelicals agreed in 2009 to support comprehensive immigration reform, citing Scriptural authority. Other religious groups have also expressed their support for reform, leading Democratic politicians to beg conservative religious leaders to help them get Republican support in Congress for a immigration bill.

According to CNN, Iowa Rep. Steve King suggested the religious leaders were twisting the Bible to fit their politics. "I didn't realize that the Bible barred the enforcement of immigration laws and neither did I realize that it erased borders, demanded pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants, or...forbid the leaders of a nation from caring most about the well-being of its own citizens," he said.

You can watch the whole hearing here on CSPAN.

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