Leith Anderson Former President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) since 2006. Leith Anderson served as a presidential adviser of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships who "worked with the administration to address issues such as immigration reform."
Circle of Protection
In 2020 Leith Anderson served on the steering committee of the Circle of Protection.
"Seeking to be a centrist voice"
- Anderson is part of a long history — 75 years as of 2018 — in which the evangelical organization National Association of Evangelicals has sought to be a centrist voice between more liberal and more fundamentalist Protestants. The organization currently has 40 member denominations along with a wide array of member organizations, from Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church to the missions network Missio Nexus.
- During his tenure as president, Anderson, 75, has continued to press for more diversity in the NAE, which has been a long-term concern for the organization. Billy Graham acknowledged the need for greater attention to racial justice in a 1960s speech at an annual NAE meeting, and three decades later then-NAE President Donald Argue said the membership was “too old, too male, and too white.”
- Last month (October), with Anderson’s encouragement, the NAE board transformed the look of his organization’s future leadership. The Rev. Walter Kim, an Asian American theologian, will succeed Anderson as president on Jan. 1. John Jenkins, the African American leader of a Maryland megachurch, and former Wesleyan Church General Superintendent Jo Anne Lyon will start as chair and vice chair, respectively, on March 5.
Evangelical Leader Statement of Principles on Dreamers
The Evangelical Leader Statement of Principles on Dreamers was issued Oct 5, 2017.
Christians, like most Americans, recognize immigration policy is complex and the search for political consensus is difficult. While we feel the tension between our obligations to both Christian compassion and respect for the rule of law, we reject the idea that the two are irreconcilable. Accepting this false dichotomy perpetuates an immigration system which all Americans agree is broken...
Signatories included Leith Anderson.
Letter to Trump about 'Religious Liberty'
Leith Anderson signed a letter to President Donald Trump dated April 4, 2019 requesting affirmation that religions other than Christianity and Judaism "make outstanding contributions to the United States". The letter was initiated by "three chairmen of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops":
Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, a progressive Christian social justice group, said that the meeting did not dwell on the specifics of the political challenges facing reform, but rather was the result of the president's curiosity on how the issue had been discussed within the faith community.
"It was a conversation with President Obama about immigration reform and how this has really united the faith community across our boundaries," Wallis told The Christian Post.
According to a White House press release, Obama "and the leaders discussed their shared commitment to raise the moral imperative for immigration reform and said they will continue keeping the pressure on Congress so they can swiftly pass commonsense reform."
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who was also present at the meeting, praised Obama for "taking time to listen and dialogue on an issue of concern to many of us" and said that immigration seemed to be one of the few issues that transcended the politically divided United States.
"My message to the president is that there are many things that divide us as a country, but on this issue we have a remarkable consensus that the system is broken and the government isn't doing its job to keep the border secure, to shore up the economic health of the country, and to keep track of who is and isn't legally here," said Moore in a statement from the Evangelical Immigration Table.
Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, was grateful that the president had created space for leaders to "express the urgency the evangelical community feels around immigration reform."
"It was important to express our ongoing commitment to a bipartisan solution. We hope that our legislators continue to hear our prayers and listen to their constituents, who overwhelmingly favor commonsense immigration reform," said Salguero in a statement.
Other Christian leaders at the meeting were Hyepin Im, president and CEO of the California-based Korean Churches for Community Development, Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Seattle, Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Joel Hunter, a Florida senior pastor at Northland and an Obama advisor, and Mike McClenahan, a California senior pastor at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church.
Promoting Illegal Immigration & Refugee Resettlement
Leith Anderson signed a letter to President Trump written by World Relief. titled "Top evangelical leaders and pastors from all 50 states urge action to help vulnerable immigrants" which lamented a decrease in refugees entering the United States, and requested amnesty for DACA recipients.
- "Dear President Trump and Members of Congress,
- "As Christian leaders, we have a commitment to caring for the vulnerable in our churches while also supporting just, compassionate and welcoming policies toward refugees and other immigrants. The Bible speaks clearly and repeatedly to God’s love and concern for the vulnerable, and also challenges us to think beyond our nationality, ethnicity or religion when loving our neighbor.
- "We are committed to praying for you, our elected leaders, just as Scripture mandates (1 Timothy 2:1-2). In particular, we pray that you will not forget the following people as you craft our nation’s laws and policies:
- "Dreamers. Roughly 700,000 young people are poised to lose their right to work lawfully in the U.S., not to mention their dreams of a future in this country—the country they were brought to as children, without choice. Our prayer is that these young people would be allowed to continue contributing to our society without fear of deportation.
- "Refugees. We are troubled by the dramatic reduction in arrivals of refugees to the United States, which declined from 96,874 in 2016 to just 33,368 in 2017. Based on arrivals so far in this fiscal year, the United States is on track to admit the lowest number of refugees since the formalization of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program in 1980. This, at a time when there are more refugees in the world than ever before in recorded history. Our prayer is that the U.S. would continue to be a beacon of hope for those fleeing persecution.
- "Persecuted Christians. Refugees of all faiths and nationalities deserve our welcome, for they (like all human beings) are made in the image of God. We are particularly aware, though, of the Christian refugees and other minorities facing persecution in countries like Iraq, Iran and Syria. Admission of Christian refugees to the U.S. from these three countries has declined by 60%. We pray that those facing religious persecution would be protected overseas as well as in the U.S.
- "Families Waiting for Reunification. God ordained the family as the cornerstone of society, and we believe that our country is stronger when our citizens can be quickly reunited with their close family members. For some U.S. citizens, the waiting period can be years or even decades. We pray you will respect the unity of the family.
- "We are mindful of the difficulty of serving in public office and are grateful for your service. We ask that God would grant you wisdom and courage as you confront these and various other complex policy issues in the days and months ahead.
- Leith Anderson, National Association of Evangelicals
- Beth Moore, Living Proof Ministries
- Russell Moore, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
- Matthew Chandler, The Village Church
- Andy Crouch, Author & Speaker
- Max Lucado, Oak Hills Church
- Samuel Rodriguez, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
- Bill Hybels & Lynne Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church
- Gabriel Salguero, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
- Scott Sauls, Christ Presbyterian Church
- Ed Stetzer, Wheaton College
- Kenton Beshore & Laurie Beshore, Mariners Church
- Jen Hatmaker, Austin New Church
- Shirley Hoogstra, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities
- Cal Jernigan & [[Lisa Jernigan, Central Christian Church
- Karen Swallow Prior, Professor of English, Liberty University
- Ann Voskamp, We Welcome Refugees
- Jud Wilhite, Central Church
- Bryant Wright, Johnson Ferry Baptist
- Thabiti Anyabwile, Anacostia River Church
- Jay Barnes, Bethel University
- Peter Barnes, First Presbyterian Church
- Stephan Bauman, Author, Seeking Refuge
- William Bohline, Hosanna! Lutheran Church
- Carol Bremer-Bennett, World Renew
- Chad Bruegman, Red Rocks Church
- Noel Castellanos, Christian Community Development Association
- Joseph Castleberry, Northwest University
- Rob Cattalani, Browncroft Community Church
- Eugene Cho, Quest Church
- Shane Claiborne, Red Letter Christians
- Eric Costanzo, South Tulsa Baptist Church
- Alan Cureton, University of Northwestern - St. Paul
- Dharius Daniels, Change Church
- Wilfredo de Jesus, New Life Covenant Church
- Chris Dolson, Blackhawk Church
- Scott Dudley, Bellevue Presbyterian Church
- Matt Erickson, Eastbrook Church
- Dave Ferguson, Community Christian Church
- Micah Fries, Brainerd Baptist Church
- Mike Goldsworthy, Parkcrest Christian Church
- Lance Hahn, Bridgeway Christian Church
- Ron Hamilton, Conservative Congregational Christian Conference
- Matt Hammett & Roxanne Hammett, Flood Church
- Alec Hill, Author & Speaker
- Brad Hoffmann, Cool Spring Baptist Church
- Cole Huffman, First Evangelical Church
- Hyepin Im, Faith and Community Empowerment (formerly Korean Churches for Community Development)
- Kent Ingle, Southeastern University
- Dean Inserra, City Church Tallahassee
- John Jenkins, First Baptist Church of Glenarden
- Joe Johns, Fellowship Missionary Church
- Tim Johnson, Life Center Foursquare Church
- Tyler Johnson, Redemption Church
- Paul Kim, Redeemer Presbyterian Church - San Diego
- Josh Kouri, Frontline Church
- Duke Kwon, Grace Meridian Hill
- Jo Anne Lyon, The Wesleyan Church
- Marc Maillefer, Door Creek Church
- Kevin Maloney, Grace Road Church
- Michael McClenahan, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church
- Rick McKinley, Imago Dei Community
- James Merritt, Cross Pointe Church
- Jon Middendorf, OKC First Church of the Nazarene
- Stephen Montgomery, Idlewild Presbyterian Church
- Steve Moore, nexleader
- Latasha Morrison, Be the Bridge]]
- Richard Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary
- Shirley Mullen, Houghton College
- Rich Nathan, Vineyard Columbus
- Carl Nelson, Transform Minnesota
- Tsh Oxenreider, Author & Speaker
- Suzii Paynter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
- Dennae Pierre, Surge Network
- Vance Pitman, Hope Church
- Clint Pressley, Hickory Grove Baptist Church
- Gus Reyes, Christian Life Commission, Texas Baptists
- John Riley, Whittier Area Community Church
- Jesse Rincones, Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas
- George Robertson, Second Presbyterian Church
- Stewart Ruch, Anglican Church in North America
- Philip Ryken, Wheaton College
- Brenda Salter McNeil, Quest Church
- Jo Saxton, Author & Speaker
- Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
- Harold Smith, Christianity Today
- Keith Stewart, Springcreek Church
- Warren H. Stewart, Sr., First Institutional Baptist Church
- Walter Strickland, Southern Baptist Convention
- Steven Timmermans, Christian Reformed Church in North America
- Pasqual Urrabazo, International Church of Las Vegas en Español
- Sandra Van Opstal, Grace and Peace Community
- Gary Walter, Evangelical Covenant Church
- Michael Wear, Public Square Strategies
- Jason Webb, Elmbrook Church
- Craig Willford, Multnomah University
- Joe Wittwer, Life Center Foursquare Church
- Jay Wolf, First Baptist Church
- Dave Swaim, Highrock Covenant Church
- Ron Zappia, Highpoint Church
- Tim Breene, CEO, World Relief
- Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief
- Retiring NAE head Leith Anderson: Evangelicals not just white or political accessed January 12 2020
- accessed January 12 2020
- Retiring NAE head Leith Anderson: Evangelicals not just white or political accessed January 12 2020
- (accessed July 9, 2022)
- Our faith calls us to uphold religious liberty (accessed July 9, 2022)
- Top evangelical leaders and pastors from all 50 states urge action to help vulnerable immigrants., accessed March 2 2018