by CYNTHIA VEGA
Posted on April 30, 2010 at 1:19 PM
Updated today at 5:57 PM
DALLAS - A group of evangelical church leaders held an early morning prayer vigil Friday, in advance of Saturday's big immigration march in downtown Dallas.
They say it's their moral duty to help find a way to resolve illegal immigration, in a more compassionate way than the legislation passed in Arizona.
They said not all religious conservatives take a hard line on illegal immigration.
Unlike in the past, this year's Mega March through downtown Dallas has created a deep divide between those in favor and those against new legislation in Arizona, which allows police to stop and question those seeming to be illegal immigrants.
It has a group of North Texas faith leaders, already deep in thought and prayer, seeing how this legislation is already affecting their church communities.
"We are seeing, for instance, churches that have lost up to 50 families because of the fear factor of SB1070," said Mark Gonzales, a pastor.
Gonzales, like others in the group, sees the urgency of addressing illegal immigration but believes federal leaders in Washington should be taking action, not individual states.
"We understand the Arizona situation, and what's going on across the border, but we don't believe SB1070 is a way to go about trying to secure the border," he added.
Most immediately, this group is praying people will march peacefully tomorrow, no matter what their stand.
Included in their prayer circle on Friday, was newly-appointed Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who is ready to do his part.
"We've got pretty good plans in place, comparable with where we are. Of course, we're going to remain flexible and try to get ahead of any problems that might flare," Brown said.