WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Christian education leaders that "faith has always been the strength of our country," adding that "because people have faith they believe, they believe in God, they believe in themselves, they believe in the goodness of others."
Pelosi spoke at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities' 2019 President's Conference, which brings together key leaders from Christian higher education.
"We are all God's children; there is a spark of divinity that exists inside each of us," Pelosi said.
The House speaker then turned to the current challenge on Capitol Hill of hashing out a bipartisan deal on immigration.
She said the evangelical community has been "in the lead on the immigration issue for a long time" and that there is a strong initiative for comprehensive immigration reform.
"One of the things we've had to convey to the administration is that these people do have a right under international law and any sense of decency to seek refuge in our country, and we have a responsibility to question whether it is a well-founded fear of persecution," Pelosi said.
Last week, President Donald Trump signed a measure to temporarily reopen the government as lawmakers try and reach a deal over his demands for a border wall.
Trump is demanding $5.7 billion for the wall and threatened another government shutdown or executive action if he does not get a "fair deal."
"We are hoping that we can find common ground as soon as possible so that we can not only meet our responsibility to protect our border, to treat people coming here with dignity and respect but also to keep government open," Pelosi said.
The California Democrat is proposing additional funds to help people seeking asylum obtain food, clothing and medical care. She wants money for additional judges to quickly adjudicate immigration cases. Pelosi also is seeking funds to give to the hardest hit countries hoping to alleviate some of the harsh conditions.
"If we can solve some of the problems at home then people can stay home," Pelosi said, noting that "they come here because they have no choices."
The House speaker says it's during challenging times like this that she turns to her faith for guidance.
"The word was made Christ and Christ is our savior and His example is such a blessing to the world," Pelosi told the Christian education leaders.
Those gathered at the CCCU bowed their heads for the following prayer before Pelosi left to continue negotiations in the House.