"The more folks that can see it, the more that you have the opportunity to change their heart, and finally, begin to change their narrative," says a Methodist minister in Arkansas.
Stephen Copley, director of Arkansas Justice for Our Neighbors, talks about the impact of "Gospel Without Borders," a documentary on faith and immigration, in a new Skype interview with EthicsDaily.com.
Skype Interview: Stephen Copley from EthicsDaily on Vimeo.
Copley served as liaison between documentary producer EthicsDaily.com and the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas, headed by Jim Argue, which was the principal funder of the documentary.
"Of course, the main purpose in doing the documentary was to change the narrative around immigration," says Copley, who holds degrees in history, theology and law.
"When church people are exposed to good information about what the Bible says about immigration, about good immigration stories, they are receptive," says Copley. "And they begin to change – not necessarily to change their mind, but are more open to the idea of immigration. So I think it's had an impact. We wish it could be much larger, and that's what we keep pushing for."
"Gospel Without Borders" features prominently a Catholic bishop, a bivocational Baptist pastor, two Presbyterian pastors and a Methodist church in Iowa.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops mailed a copy of the DVD in September 2011 to every Catholic bishop, encouraging them to order it for distribution in their dioceses.
More than 7,000 DVDs have been distributed to Baptist, Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian churches.
Copley has attended several screenings of the documentary across the country. He says a takeaway from the screenings is "some excitement about a good resource."
He also mentions the current immigration conversation in Washington, D.C.
"Yes, right now, we're facing the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform," says Copley. Will that make the DVD dated?
Copley says no.
"We have to continue to change people's hearts," he says. "In 1986 they changed the law in a major way. In 1996 they did. Maybe 2013. But the issue of immigration will continue to be there."
"And we hope that as people see the DVD," says Copley, "their hearts are changed too – not just the need (for) the system to be changed."
Watch the interview with Copley at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily/skype-stephencopley
Learn more about Copley at http://www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Profiles/Copley-Stephen
Learn more about "Gospel Without Borders" at GospelWithoutBorders.net
Watch other EthicsDaily.com Skype interviews at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily