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A "Higher Power" Immigration Debate in TN

May 17, 2007

The immigration debate is usually political and economical, although Tennesseans gathering today hope it also becomes a religious discussion. Vanderbilt University divinity student Emily Snyder says all sacred texts address the "stranger among us," and urge acceptance of anyone seeking refuge. She says although religious documents are clear, it's tricky for people to apply the guidance to current day politics.

"For some reason, on immigration, it seems to be difficult for people to value the theological perspective."

Snyder and other students are part of a group called Strangers No Longer, which is offering toolkits to churches to help focus on the immigration topic. She says most major denominations already have immigration policies that encourage comprehensive immigration reforms.

Snyder doesn't think immigration should be controversial from a faith perspective.

"Unlike a lot of other issues in our world today that aren't talk about in our sacred texts, like stem cell research, migration and immigration issues are a faith issue and a theological issue."

A forum on faith and immigration takes place tonight in Nashville at the Vine Street Christian Church.

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - TN