Border crisis: Two preachers, two views on immigrant children

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by DEMOND FERNANDEZ

WFAA

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 14 at 6:57 PM

DALLAS — The pastors of two Dallas mega-churches are sparring over issues involving the border crisis.

The faith leaders and their followers are in the middle of a political debate about what to do with the tens of thousands of children crossing our southern border.

The Rev. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, is taking heat from The Rev. Frederick Haynes III, senior pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church over comments Jeffress made on the national program Fox and Friends.

“We can’t allow fear-mongering to get in the way of the truth,” Haynes told his congregation during a sermon on Sunday. The pastor was addressing concerns over statements he says Jeffress made about children and adults crossing the border illegally.

“'Reverend Downtown' says, 'Turn them back.' I don’t know what Jesus you know; I don't know what Jesus you know," Haynes said.

In a video posted by Friendship West Baptist Church on a social media site, Haynes is seen criticizing Jeffress’ controversial stance about the government and its efforts to secure the border.

”Yes, Jesus loved children, but he also respected law,” Jeffress said during the Fox broadcast. “He said 'Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar.'”

Jeffress said he’s been getting lots of support and criticism over his opinions about the thousands of children and adults making the illegal and dangerous journey into the U.S., and the government’s failure to adequately secure the border.

”I want to remind people that the idea of nations and borders is God’s idea,” Jeffress said. “Acts Chapter 17 says God is the one who establishes the nation and its borders.”

Haynes sees the issue differently. He said he has a big problem with the message Jeffress is sending to the faithful.

”I think it’s irresponsible to quote a part of the Bible and not see it in its full context,” Haynes said.

Haynes believes his religious colleague's message on national television about the border crisis is more politics at the pulpit than faith.

”There’s no way, I think, you can look as a faith leader, in the eyes of children, and your only response is, you know, 'Let’s build a fence and let’s send you back,'” Haynes said.

The pastors of both churches agree something needs to be done. Their Christian perspectives on how to go about doing it just seem to be distinctly different.

Haynes said he plans to call Jeffress to have a dialogue about their differences of opinion.

Jeffress would not comment about Haynes’ concern directly, saying, ”I love Pastor Haynes, and I’m never going to criticize another pastor in the media... period.”

E-mail dfernandez@wfaa.com

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