Evangelical radio ad urges Christians to support immigration reform

Liz Goodwin

As Yahoo News first reported on Monday, a coalition of evangelical leaders is funding ads on Christian radio in the battleground states of Florida and Colorado that urge listeners to support comprehensive immigration reform.

"Christians should be known by their love," Southern Baptist leader Richard Land says in the ad, which you can listen to below. "As evangelical leaders, we are called by Christ to be people of compassion toward everyone. This is why we must speak out on behalf of all those affected by our broken immigration laws."

Though Land, Liberty University Law School Dean Matthew Staver and other conservative evangelical leaders have been pushing for immigration reform for several years, a new voice in the movement is that of Jim Daly, leader of the Colorado-based radio ministry Focus on the Family. Daly's radio broadcast reaches millions of listeners, and he signaled when he took over the organization from founder James Dobson two years ago that he wanted to broaden the group's political focus beyond issues like opposition to abortion and gay marriage. Daly said in a statement that he is joining the group because "immigration reform is more than an 'issue' to families—it profoundly affects their stability, structure and quality of life."

White evangelicals made up half of Republican voters in the first 14 primary contests this cycle. But it remains to be seen if the high-profile evangelical leaders' support for immigration reform will rub off on the flock. A poll by the Public Religion Research Institute in 2010 found that almost half of white evangelicals favor deporting illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, the number of Latino evangelicals (estimated at about 10 million) is growing, although a majority of Latinos in America still identify as Catholic.