Evangelicals Join The Push For Immigration Reform

FILE - In this July 14, 2010 file photo, Richard Land, president, Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Southern Bapt
FILE - In this July 14, 2010 file photo, Richard Land, president, Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law hearing on the ethical imperative for reform of our immigration system. Land condemns the response of many black leaders to the Trayvon Martin case as “shameful.” Some black pastors within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination say Richard Land’s comments are setting back an effort to broaden the faith’s appeal beyond its traditional white, Southern base. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Some of the nation's best-known evangelical pastors and religious figures launched a broad effort on Monday to support immigration reform and get Congress to pass legislation.

The Evangelical Immigration Table, which includes members of World Relief, Bread for the World, Christian Community Development Association, National Association of Evangelicals, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and dozens of other churches and organizations, aims to get 100,000 churches on board with its "I Was a Stranger" prayer challenge. The goal is to get churches to coordinate themselves in focusing on scripture as it relates to immigration issues and connecting with legislators to speak about how their faith informs their views of the immigration debate.

Will they succeed?

CNN's Dan Merica has more details:

Though the groups began holding broader discussion two years ago, Monday will serve as the campaign's first concerted push on immigration, with the goal of getting meaningful immigration reform through Congress in 2013.

"I think we have a window of opportunity in these first months of 2013," Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told CNN. "I think there is a real, new conversation on immigration reform."

That window, Land acknowledges, is small and could close at any point. Congress has a number of issues to deal with in the coming year; Republican members of Congress hope to focus on government spending and the debt, while the White House is likely to push for gun control early in the president's second term.

Land, however, says that isn't an excuse.

In other religion news:

-- In a monthly survey of its board, the National Association of Evangelicals found that 73 percent of its leaders support increased gun regulations (ThinkProgress).

-- Jahnabi Barooah, my colleague and HuffPost's Assistant Religion Editor, has always had a knack for finding interesting religion news and features on the web. Now, she's sharing some of her best finds on her blog, which includes religion news and broader observations.

-- What does it mean to be a "none"? Elizabeth Drescher, a religious studies scholar and journalist who focuses on spiritual issues, is conducting a survey about "nones beyond the numbers." Check it out here.