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Few Say Religion Shapes Views on Immigration

A 2010 poll by the Pew Research Center found that few Americans include religion as an important factor for how they think about issues of immigration. The study noted the following statistics:

  • Only 24 percent of regular churchgoers said that their clergy have addressed the issue of immigration.
  • 42 percent of the Americans surveyed said that immigrants strengthen America with their hard work and talent; 45 percent said that immigrants are more of a burden to America.
  • Younger Americans, Hispanic Catholics, and the religiously unaffiliated are more likely than other groups to express a positive view of immigrants.
  • White evangelicals are among those expressing the least favorable views of immigrants (27 percent of white evangelicals said immigrants strengthen America, compared to the national average of 42 percent).
  • Surprisingly, only 7 percent of all Americans (and 12 percent of white evangelicals) "consider religion the most important influence on their opinions about immigration policy." The most important influences for people's views on immigration included a personal experience (27 percent), the media (21 percent), and education (20 percent).

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Outreach and Ministries to Immigrants/Refugees—Note that the main word for "hospitality" in the NT is philoxenia, which literally means "loving strangers." The Hebrew word gare—which most English translations render "foreigner," "sojourner," or "alien," but which Tim Keller argues is best translated as "immigrant"—appears in one form or another 92 times in the OT. (2) Bible, Word of God—These statistics also show how we often base our opinions on something other than the authority of God's Word.

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