Leith Anderson

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Leith Anderson

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."[1]

Leith Anderson appeared as a front-row personal guest when Obama addressed illegal immigration at a 2010 speech at American University.

Replaced by Walter Kim.[2]

Circle of Protection

In 2020 Leith Anderson served on the steering committee of the Circle of Protection.

"Seeking to be a centrist voice"

An article from November 2019 posted by Adelle Banks at Religion News[3] described the mission of the National Association of Evangelicals as being "centrist".

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.”


"Under Anderson’s leadership, NAE worked with LifeWay Research to develop a statistical understanding of the diversity among U.S. evangelicals and found that 44% of African Americans, 30% of Hispanic Americans and 29% of whites can be defined as evangelical."


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.
"Kim, an NAE board member since 2013, said Anderson has helped the organization determine what it can say jointly about issues such as immigration reform and creation care by “being able to figure out what is the central shared biblical concern and to focus in on that and to develop a consensus.”


As president, Anderson defended Richard Cizik when a group of non-NAE members urged the board to ask Cizik, who was NAE's vice president of governmental affairs at the time, to tone down his environmental activism or resign.

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[4] 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":[5]

Immigration meeting

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and eight Christian leaders met in the Oval Office on Nov. 13 2013to discuss the faith community's role in passing immigration reform.

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.[6]

Promoting Illegal Immigration & Refugee Resettlement

Leith Anderson signed a letter to President Trump written by World Relief.[7] 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.


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