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Gospel Without Borders

Immigration has been called “the oldest and most persistent theme” in U.S. history. Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager, two prominent 20th-century historians, offered this observation in their book, “The Growth of the American Republic.” The dark side of this reality is an equally old and equally persistent anti-immigrant sentiment. “All through our history […] Read More

What is the mission of the Baptist Center for Ethics, better known as, and how do we pursue that mission? Perhaps answering these two core questions ought to be an annual exercise. Reminding our constituency of our mission and how we do it helps avoid false expectations and unrealistic demands. It helps nurture clearer […] Read More

Our news – with regard to immigrants, migrants and refugees – has me thinking often about my direct experience with the U.S.-Mexico border. It was January 2011, and I was working on the documentary “Gospel Without Borders” – a look at faith and immigration. The documentary would eventually include stories in: Iowa (about the […] Read More

What Is the Trump Wall?

President Trump wants to wall out the undocumented. Does he want the wall to keep in the dreamers? Trump issued an executive order last week that authorized the building of a U.S.-Mexican border barrier that will run for 2,000 miles. The wall was defined as a “contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous and […] Read More

Martin Luther tacked his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg’s Castle Church on Oct. 31, 1517. That bold declaration triggered the second major split within Christianity. The first came when the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church parted company in the great schism of 1054. After Pope Leo X excommunicated the Catholic priest Luther, […] Read More

Repeat something often enough and people will eventually believe it. Variations of this sentiment have been attributed to several well-known historical figures. William James is said to have asserted, “There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough people will believe it.” More ominous is the statement attributed to Joseph Goebbels: “If you […] Read More

Babs Baugh reminds me that I’m too serious, that I need to lighten up. And of course, she is right. My seriousness does come with the territory. Immigration, Baptist-Muslim interfaith relations, poverty, incivility, climate change are all intensely serious issues. Interviewing and introducing Al Gore on his global warming work – despite intense opposition; interviewing […] Read More

Lack of knowledge about the U.S. refugee resettlement process inspired a panel discussion last Friday during the 84th annual U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) winter meeting. “It became very clear this last fall after the tragic events in Paris and San Bernardino that a lot of people don’t know much about our refugee resettlement process […] Read More

Thirty-two Iowa pastors and a handful of national leaders have informed the 2016 presidential candidates that evangelical voters “are looking for a biblical approach regarding immigrants and immigration.” The biblical witness to humans being created in God’s image, as well as Jesus’ “high regard for foreigners in his teaching and actions,” was cited in an […] Read More

Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants being “rapists” and “criminals,” and his suggestion that all undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. should be deported have continued to make national headlines. His statements join a host of others in a catalog of persistent, false and negative narratives about immigrants. executive editor Robert Parham critiqued Trump’s […] Read More