A typical statement is this one posted on the website of an NAE member denomination headquartered in Circleville, Ohio:
The Churches of Christ in Christian Union does not support the NAE resolution on illegal immigration. We are a member of NAE, but our opinion on the resolution was never requested. The Churches of Christ in Christian Union support legal, regulated, and fair immigration.
-- Dr. Thomas H. Hemiz, General Superintendent, The Churches of Christ in Christian Union
At the top of the website home page of another NAE member denomination, headquartered in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, was this disclaimer:
Statement on Amnesty from the Executive Director in behalf of our Leadership Team and the General Association of General Baptists:
Our denomination has been misidentified in recent email correspondence regarding amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Neither I, our Leadership Team, or the denomination we serve have been involved in the cause for amnesty for illegal aliens.
-- Dr. Ron Black, Executive Director, General Association of General Baptists
The apparent source of the "misidentification" is the National Association of Evangelicals itself which sent out a press release to all the nation's media declaring:
Washington, D.C. – The Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), representing 40 denominations, scores of evangelical organizations and millions of American evangelicals, today approved a resolution calling for action on immigration reform.
-- NAE press release, Oct. 8, 2009
But several of those 40 denominations are now telling their concerned members that they did not approve that resolution.
The Oct. 8 NAE press release went on to making it clear that the NAE is calling for an amnesty to give legal status and citizenship to illegal aliens. The release said the NAE president would be urging Congress to adopt the NAE recommendations to provide a "process for currently undocumented immigrants who wish to assume the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship to earn legal status."
According to the videotape of the Senate hearing, the NAE president indicated that he was representing all 40 denominations that are members of the NAE and that there was no dissent from any of them on the call to legalize most of the nation's illegal immigrants. Several news reports indicated that NAE's members had been unanimous in supporting legalization.
However, statements like those above from the General Association of General Baptists and the Churches of Christ in Christian Union make it clear that the NAE's endorsement of amnesty was anything but unanimous -- and that at least some of the denominations feel like they were blind-sided by the NAE.
Last week, the Salvation Army acknowledged that it definitely was aware of the NAE effort to back U.S. citizenship for 12-20 million illegal aliens and was clear it would not support the amnesty effort:
The Salvation Army chose not to adopt the resolution nor will it become our stance on immigration reform.
-- Salvation Army official statement
Evangelical denominations that are NOT members of the NAE have found themselves needing to make it clear that they aren't affiliated and most certainly would not be supporting lobbying efforts to pass an amnesty.
The General Association of REGULAR Baptists (headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois) has been deflecting criticism that was aimed at the General Association of GENERAL Baptists. The REGULAR Baptists phoned us to say that they have no connection to the NAE and that they would never be involved in something like supporting an amnesty.
Now the GENERAL Baptists -- which ARE members of the NAE -- are putting just as much distance between them and the NAE illegal-alien legalization effort.
The Church of God of Anderson, Indiana has had a similar problem of being accused of supporting an amnesty because another denomination named the Church of God of Cleveland, Tennessee IS supporting an amnesty.
So, let's get this straight. The INDIANA-based Church of God is NOT supporting amnesty.
But the TENNESSEE-based Church of God denomination IS supporting legalization of illegal aliens.
NumbersUSA will provide updates as the nation's evangelical Christians sort out which denominations have pledged support to Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) plan to pass a giant amnesty early next year, and which denominations do not.
Updated: Wed, Oct 21st 2009 @ 4:53pm EDT