I have read that some Christian denominations in US are more liberal than the others. The articles that I read only mentioned they split in abortion right and LGBTQ equality.

Do liberal denominations also more welcome immigrants than conservative ones? Or do Christian denominations in US have similar attitudes towards immigration?

Do they have different attitudes towards immigration from Latin America, and from authoritarian countries? (merit based or asylum seeking, legal or illegal)


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    How would you measure the attitude of a Christian denomination toward a given issue? Matters like abortion and sexuality are frequently the subject of religious doctrine, so a given religious body is likely to have an official position on these questions. With immigration, an organization may or may not choose to adopt a position. Individual adherents to a given denomination may or may not agree with the denomination's official position. So: are tou asking about denominations' official policy or the opinions of their members?
    – phoog
    Nov 18, 2023 at 6:11
  • If no (semi-)official policy, maybe just a statistical study of their members' opinions.
    – Tim
    Nov 18, 2023 at 6:20
  • Practitioners of the Protestant religions are loath to criticize each other. If a person claims to be a Christian and a member of the "church" (i.e. a Protestant religion, not Roman Catholic) then they can profess almost anything and not be accused of apostasy.
    – Daniel
    Nov 21, 2023 at 2:44

3 Answers 3


Churches will tend to have offical positions on matters that are related to morality (as understood by the church). This includes matters of sexual behaviour and abortion. But churches don't tend to adopt official positions on political questions that are economic rather than moral.

And the question of whether the USA should increase or decrease the number of migrants from Latin America is not primarily a moral question, but an economic one.

There is more of a moral element in matters relating to refugees and there are churches with missions to support (and convert) refugees. For example the United Church of Christ. There is a biblical tradition that Jesus' family sought asylum in Egypt after escaping from Herod. So there is a moral element to matters relating to displaced peoples.

Beyond that, churches are a reflection of the opinions of their members, and so churches. Churches that have a more conservative congregation will tend to reflect that, for example the LDS church position is more focused on the right of nations to enforce their laws.

  • Thanks. "The most theologically liberal Christian denominations are the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church (USA).", according to christianwebsite.com/most-liberal-christian-denominations. Are all of the four friendly to asylum seekers? How about The Catholic Church, and The United Methodist Church?
    – Tim
    Nov 18, 2023 at 7:00
  • There are a great many different churches. So investigating each one would make this answer unwieldy. For the Roman Catholic Church in particular, it isn't primarily an American denomination, but an international church. Similarly the Methodist church is not principally American. So I've chosen two churches for my answer that are mostly US based, but have different congregations.
    – James K
    Nov 18, 2023 at 7:12
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    Nearly all churches (and nearly all people) are welcoming to true refugees, the debate mostly centres on who is a refugee, and who is an economic migrant posing as a refugee.
    – James K
    Nov 18, 2023 at 7:13
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    Thanks. Given what I have understood from your post and comment. I probably shouldn't ask any more but just can't help. Is it true that The Catholic are more conservative in abortion and LGBTQ than liberal/mainline Protestant denominations? Are they indeed are more welcoming immigrants (regardless of working skills), as troyan said in the deleted post?
    – Tim
    Nov 19, 2023 at 22:30
  • The Catholic Church is Huge, far bigger than America. Even the Roman Catholic part is enormous. It is particularly broad, but it's dogmas don't fit neatly into modern American "liberal/conservative" dichotomy. It doesn't have a dogma on immigration, and individual congregations will be very very diverse: from Mexican immigrants to Irish Yankees to Poles to Filipinos. I doubt that there is a larger NGO organisation in the world.
    – James K
    Nov 19, 2023 at 22:37

As someone who has been part of congregations from many different denominations, it's mostly a matter of folk religion. If a congregation's members primarily come from a people group which is anti-immigration, then the congregation will probably be anti-immigration (and vice versa). They may come up with Biblical arguments one way or another to support these pre-existing beliefs, but (with rare exceptions) they aren't the position of the denomination as a whole.

Insofar as a liberal denomination's congregants will mostly be from pro-immigration backgrounds, chances are that (on average) a liberal denomination will be pro-immigration, and vice versa.

Again, this isn't decided by church doctrine so much as the beliefs of the surrounding culture.

  • The question however was about denominations, and not congregations or members. Everyone has it's own opinion. If they ask what Catholic church or Episcopal church thinks of abortions, it's not about "what your aunt Clara said (and did)", it's at least about official position in the past or in present
    – troyan
    Nov 19, 2023 at 3:09
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    @troyan I know. I was saying that denominations as a whole generally don't have an opinion either way; it mostly comes down to the cultural contexts of their individual members. Nov 19, 2023 at 19:38
  • @troyan I upvoted your post, just as I did for the others'. I couldn't find it any more. Protestant denominations vary. I was wondering if the liberal and conservative denominations or the members belonging to them have different attitudes towards immigration. As to The Catholic, I read that they are a bit conservative in abortion and LGBTQ, and wonder if they indeed are more welcoming immigrants (regardless of working skills).
    – Tim
    Nov 19, 2023 at 22:26

Historically Catholic church welcomed asylum seekers, this could be the reason catholic countries these days are more tolerant to immigrants: Latin American countries grant citizenship to immigrants after as little as 2 years of residence, and in Spain the policy is liberal as well. Immigrants don't even need to have a job to settle there.

In protestant countries people underline work ethics so much that it's hard for anyone to get a free asylum. Countries like US expect asylum seekers to support themselves while their case is being processed or more currently detained. Noone would be giving out benefits to immigrants Instead they would be punished for seeking asylum and treated as "economic migrants" (Accused of having no grounds for asylum other thsn desire to take low paying jobs from the local poor people). In countries like Estonia Lutherans treat asylum seekers so harshly, only dozens could manage to apply for asylum there. Finland recently used gas on asylum seekers.

In the US immigration matters are decided on federal level, and church has no influence on it. However with more than half of all Christians in USA belonging to Protestant denominations, it's easy to see why it is more difficult for immigrants from Latin America to legalize their status in USA, than in Spain.

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