EthicsDaily.com announces the availability of its newest documentary – “Gospel Without Borders” – on the heels of draconian anti-immigration laws passed in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and South Carolina, heated disagreement over the federal direction of comprehensive reform, and punitive bills expected next year in Florida, Tennessee and other states.
Shot in five different states, the documentary separates myth from fact, examines the biblical record about the treatment of the “stranger,” explores the experiences of documented and undocumented immigrants, and looks at how goodwill Christians address the overheated issue of immigration.
The documentary includes interviews with Baptist ministers, a Catholic bishop, Methodist clergy and Presbyterian pastors in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa and North Carolina.
“Gospel Without Borders” is released 13 months after a United Methodist pastor, Stephen Copley, approached EthicsDaily.com about producing a documentary on immigration.
The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas became the production’s primary underwriter.
Across the months, co-producers Robert Parham and Cliff Vaughn witnessed first-hand the trials and triumphs of both undocumented migrants and new citizens.
They saw a 17-year-old undocumented boy walk into a humanitarian camp in Arivaca, Ariz., some 11 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, asking for help.
Juan Pedro had fallen at night and hurt himself. Separated from his traveling companions, he had wandered in the desert for three days.
Having given up on making the arduous journey to Tucson to find work, he requested a call to the Border Patrol.
Outside of a low-income Hispanic community in Siler City, N.C., at dusk, Parham and Vaughn observed as the Chatham County sheriffs stopped vehicles leaving the neighborhood.
Asked the nature of the stop, a sheriff told them it was a “license check,” a euphemism for another way to intimidate undocumented migrants.
A Hispanic leader told Parham and Vaughn that no similar document checks had ever taken place at either of the two large chicken processing plants in the area.
In Des Moines, Iowa, they saw a Hispanic Christian community rebuilding spiritually and structurally the Trinity United Methodist Church and raising money to build a medical clinic in an impoverished village in El Salvador.
The heart-wrenching stories, the indisputable facts and the references to Scripture promise to challenge viewers emotionally, intellectually and morally.
“Immigration is the civil rights issue of the 21st century,” said Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, the parent company of EthicsDaily.com.
“This documentary is produced in the fullness of time and has the potential to equip churches to change the negative ethos in our culture for the common good.”
“Gospel Without Borders” has two versions on a single DVD: (1) the short version for public screenings with panel discussions runs 31 minutes; and (2) the long version for Sunday school classes runs 53 minutes and is designed to be used over a four-week period.
Both versions have a free discussion guide, available as a downloadable PDF.
Accompanying the documentary are a number of downloadable resources, including Catholic Bishop Anthony Taylor’s pastoral letter on immigration, a Church World Service Bible study, an American Baptist Churches-USA letter on immigration reform and three sermons by Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina ministers.
Also available for churches and faith-based organizations are promotional materials that include a press kit, video clips, publicity stills and endorsements.
Endorsing the documentary, Luis Rafael Zarama, auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, said it “is a timely documentary responding to one of the most humanly compelling challenges of our time.”
“Through ‘Gospel Without Borders,’ we will deepen our understanding of the plight of our brothers and sisters and for the need to stand in solidarity by advocating on behalf of migrants and their families to humanize existing immigration laws,” said Zarama.
Ricky Creech, executive director/minister of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention, said the documentary “is a must for communities of faith to view.”
Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, executive director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, said he “strongly endorses the film as a resource for congregations to facilitate reasoned and compassionate dialogue about immigration awareness and reform.”