(916) 919-7476
help@borntogive.com

NHCLC News

Obama Threaded the Moral Needle of Latino Evangelicals in ’08

By Gastón Espinosa Posted on June 28, 2009, Printed on July 6, 2009 http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/politics/1591/ critical player in Barack Obama’s election victory, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) sought to further flex its political muscle last week by launching the Jesse Miranda Center, “The First Ever Hispanic Evangelical Think Tank,” according to the press release. Despite their often apolitical posture in the past, a number of Latino evangelicals across generational lines—like Jesse Miranda (CEO of the NHCLC), Samuel Rodriguez (president of the NHCLC), Luis Cortes, Wilfredo de Jesus, and others—are increasingly stressing the twin themes of “righteousness and justice,” which leaders like Miranda and Rodriguez define as the “reconciling message of Billy Graham with the activism of Martin Luther King Jr.” This shift in Latino evangelical consciousness made Obama’s talk about faith-based organizing all the more appealing, and almost certainly helped flip the valuable Latino vote in the 2008 election. While Latino Protestant evangelicals cast 58% of their vote for Bush in 2004, they cast 57% of their votes for Obama in 2008; causing many to wonder just how it happened.

Yes on Abortion Rights, No on Gays

Making up over 80% of the nation’s 9.2 million Latino Protestants, Latino evangelicals take a holistic approach in deciding who to vote for, taking into account not only abortion and gay marriage, but also immigration reform, civil rights, social justice, jobs, and the economy. This was driven home by evangelical pastor Wilfredo De Jesus, head of the 4,000-member New Life Covenant Church of the Assemblies of God in South Chicago, who was impressed both that Obama spoke out about the “mistreatment of illegal immigrants,” and that he “understood the importance of justice issues such as health care, education, and immigration within the! Hispanic faith community.” As a result, he accepted Obama’s invitation to direct his Latino Protestant outreach team; despite having voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, being pro-life, and opposing gay marriage. Obama won over the Latino evangelical vote not only by providing a better economic recovery plan and hope for a better future, but also because he split the difference on the hot-button social issues by strongly supporting a pro-choice position on abortion, but rejecting gay marriage. He recognized what many Democrats do not: that, in the words of Bill Clinton, although the American electorate is “operationally progressive,” it is nonetheless “philosophically moderate-conservative.” This allowed him to split the evangelical vote by enabling otherwise conservative voters to believe that he agreed with them on at least one of their two key social concerns. This gave Obama the surprising win over a plurality of the most religiously-devout Latino evangelical voters by speaking the language of faith. Although many have charged that he spoke about it only to counter charges that he was a Muslim and to distance himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in fact he began speaking about his faith journey (no doubt anticipating future criticism) in his autobiography, The Audacity of Hope (released in Spanish in 2006), long before the campaign formally began. He won over the hearts of many Latino evangelicals when wrote and often publicly stated on the campaign trail: “I let Jesus Christ into my life” because I “learned that my sins could be redeemed and if I placed my trust in Jesus, that he could set me on a path ! to eternal salvation.” This kind of conversion narrative about sin, redemption, and accepting Jesus Christ resonated with evangelicals across the nation. This growing confidence in Obama was further underscored by his promise to correct the misperception that Democrats were anti-faith and anti-evangelical: Evangelicals have come to believe often times that Democrats are anti-faith. Part of my job in this campaign, something that I started doing well before this campaign, was to make sure I was showing up and reaching out and sharing my faith experience with people who share that faith. Hopefully we can build some bridges that can allow us to move the country forward. His actions and words stood in stunning contrast to John McCain, who seemed to run a functionally secular campaign. Rich Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), lamented in October 2008 that although the NAE had “been receiving weekly communication from the Obama camp,” they had received “nothing from McCain.” He stated that Obama was the first Democratic presidential candidate to request a meeting with an NAE official in 28 years. Obama’s historic outreach (along with his decision to appoint the 26-year-old African-American Pentecostal pastor Joshua DuBois to direct his campaign outreach to faith communities) caught the attention of Latino evangelical leaders like Samuel Rodriguez, President ! of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who stated: “It’s good to see a Democratic Nominee engage evangelical leaders. For too long the Democratic party seemed hostile to evangelicals.” The Latino Religions and Politics National Survey in October 2009 found that all of these factors, along with Obama’s strong support for faith-based initiatives, prompted a plurality of Latinos who opposed gay marriage (47% to 38%) and abortion (54% to 31%) to vote for him. It also helped Obama beat McCain among Latinos who attended church (57% to 30%), prayed (58% to 29%), read the Bible (51% to 35%) once a week or more, or among those that said that religion provided guidance in their day-to-day lives (56% to 30%). All of which defies the stereotype that Latino evangelicals vote like their white evangelical counterparts.

Obama Let Jesus In, Latino Evangelicals Let Obama In

Obama flipped the Latino evangelical vote back to the Democratic column in part by, as noted above, proactively appointing Rev. Wilfredo de Jesus to direct his Spanish-speaking Protestant outreach team. In addition, he actively met with leaders like Samuel Rodríguez, Jesse Miranda, Mark González, Luis Cortes, and others. This outreach was reinforced by meetings with white and black evangelical and Pentecostal leaders like T.D. Jakes, Bishop Charles Blake (COGIC), Franklin Graham, and Jim Wallis, and by participating in evangelical-sponsored social justice forums on AIDS and other issues at Warren’s Saddleback Community Church—a sharp irony given that Warren is also a strong supporter of Proposition 8 in California. De Jesus’ conservative views on abortion and marriage are not unique. In fact, Latino conservative views help to explain why their vote can shift so dramatically. The Latino Religions and Politics National Survey (October 2008) found that Latino Catholics and Protestants opposed abortion (67% and 73%) and gay marriage (57% and 74%) by sizable margins. This opposition is bipartisan as both Latino Democrats (65%) and Republicans (80%) opposed abortion. More importantly, Latino Independents also decisively opposed abortion (70%). These views are unlikely to drastically change from election cycle to election cycle as immigrants, churches, clergy, and religious schools reinforce them in the community. These factors reveal that Latino evangelicals’ support for Obama had everything to do with the candidate’s efforts to show that their (and his) faith was relevant to him, his campaign, and his future administration. This analysis is strengthened when you consider that while Obama won 67% of the US Latino vote, a majority of these same Latino Catholics and Protestants also voted to pass state Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage in California, Arizona, and Florida. This is significant because Latino Catholics and Protestants make up 91% of the US Latino community and 97% of the US Latino electorate. Obama succeeded ultimately by threading the moral needle: support for abortion rights but not gay marriage. Obama’s views, ideas, and policies are a ! blend of right- and left-of-center impulses that resonate with the views of a majority of Latinos. Indeed, Latino evangelicals read Obama as a fresh start and new day for the Democratic Party. As a result, he increased his national Latino support over Kerry’s by 10-14 percentage points, his Latino Catholic support by 12-15 points, and his Latino Protestant support by 14-20 points. In fact, Obama reversed the trend in Latino Catholics and Protestants voting Republican between 1996 and 2004, scoring better than Gore and Kerry, but not Clinton. He also increased his support among all evangelicals by 5 percentage points from 21% to 26%. This was politically significant on Election Day as evangelicals (26%) are the largest single religious voting segment of the electorate, larger than either mainline Protestants (19%) or Catholics (19%). Obama’s ability to attract and flip the Latino evangelical vote is thus due not only to their changing attitudes toward religion, politics, and social justice, but also to the changing attitudes of many Democrats toward evangelicals of all backgrounds. Whether this historic shift in the Latino vote will enable him to surpass Clinton’s level of support to win the 2012 election remains to be seen; although history, initiative, and faith are, at least at this moment, on his side. Gastón Espinosa is the Arthur V. Stoughton Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College and co-editor of the Columbia University Press Series in Religion and Politics. He is the editor of Religion and the American Presidency, Latino Religions and Civic Activism in the United States, and Religion, Race, and the American Presidency.

Read more

Hispanic Evangelicals and Justice: Hispanic Farmers Struggle

This probably isn’t news to you, but it’s not easy getting a fair deal from the USDA if you are a minority. Hispanic farmers have been the victims of the same USDA discrimination as African American farmers. Take a minute to read about Lupe Garcia. His story is below and may sound familiar. I am signing the Justice for Hispanic Farmers petition and hope you will as well. Join us in calling on President Obama to end discrimination and bring transparency to USDA-administered farm programs. Sign the petition online here.

Lupe Garcia’s story

Lupe Garcia is a third generation Hispanic farmer. Since 2000 he has been fighting to bring accountability and transparency to the USDA-administered farm credit programs as the named plaintiff in the Garcia v. Vilsack law suit. Garcia & Sons– Lupe, his father and brother– owned two farms in Dona Ana County, New Mexico where they grew onions, lettuce, wheat and corn. The family operation repeatedly applied for the operating loans farmers depend on to stay in business; loans the Farm Service Agency was set up to make. Despite positive cash flow, profitability and sufficient collateral, Garcia and Sons was unable to obtain the loans that were supposed to be available to them under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This systematic deprivation of operating capital continued until they were foreclosed upon in 1999. The foreclosure was the result of the USDA’s refusal to grant the Garcias the same loans, disaster relief and advice they were providing to other, less qualified farmers. The issue is simply whether the decades of admitted discrimination by our government against these farmers should be rectified by granting a fair settlement of their discrimination claims. We believe there is no place for discrimination within a tax payer funded federal program and that a settlement like the one already granted to African American farmers is long overdue. Since the beginning of Lupe Garcia’s fight over nine years ago, untold numbers of farmers and ranchers have gone out of business- lost their farms, been foreclosed upon, or just quit. Some have faced retaliation. Many, like Lupe’s father, have literally died waiting for relief. Help us win justice for Hispanic farmers and ranchers. Sign our petition now! For more information visit www.justiceforhispanicfarmers.org

Read more

Hispanic NAE Expresses Optimism Concerning Immigration Reform after White House Meeting with Secretary Napolitano & Pres. Obama

Washington, D.C., Hispanic Christian Newswire) America’s largest Hispanic Christian Organization, The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), The Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals, expressed gratitude and appreciation to President Barack Obama for his recent affirmation of a comprehensive immigration reform policy. This fall, the White House and Congress will work on a comprehensive immigration reform package with expectations of passage in early 2010. President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano met last week in the White House with national groups committed to comprehensive immigration reform including the NHCLC. Secretary Napolitano spoke about accountability. “We must use smart effective enforcement. We must also bring people out of the shadows. We will ensure timely procedures on citizenship back logs and increase efficiency.” Napolitano said. The Secretary went on to add “this bill needs support with ongoing dialogue and a bi-partisan effort. We count on all of you to work together.” The Rev. Eve Nunez, Vice President of Networking for The National Hispanic Leadership Conference, addressed the panel and the Administration stating, “It is critical to invite the faith based leaders to these forums. When we speak of bringing immigrants out of the shadows they will first turn to their Pastors, Priests and Clergy before they confide in law enforcement officials.” Nunez was accompanied in the White House meeting by Dr. Angel Nunez, Senior V.P of the Hispanic N.A.E.” I was encouraged by the attention that was given to our ideas and input. They assured us that these meetings will continue to happen and they were very interested in having the NHCLC help them in contacting pastors in the as they are traveling around the country getting input from many groups. I appreciate President Obama reaffirming his commitment”. “Even though we are appreciative, we continue to encourage the administration to focus on how it can reform immigration laws to address the immediate problems undocumented immigrants face as it pertains to the breakup of families and the protection of the local worker instead of constant focus on enforcement of immigration laws. We need a balanced approach that is not piecemeal but comprehensive, both enforcement and a pathway to citizenship”, added Nunez. “As we begin to frame and debate the specifics of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform proposal, it is important to express gratitude for those who repudiated extremism and political expediency. On behalf of our 25,434 congregations and on behalf of the Hispanic evangelical community, permit us to express heartfelt gratitude to our President for his excellent leadership and moral wherewithal to once again address immigration reform in the context necessary to reconcile our values with the rule of law”, stated Dr. Gilbert Velez, Chairman of the Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals. Many evangelical churches mobilized for the first time around the issue of immigration reform immediately after the House Bill sponsored by James Sensenbrenner. In addition, many of the 12 million undocumented attend Hispanic Evangelical congregations. The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference stands recognized by scholars and analysts as the lead evangelical and Hispanic Faith voice for immigration reform. Former Clinton Advisor Sydney Blumenthal credited the organization’s effort as a primary factor in thwarting the Republican plans to deport millions of undocumented individuals.

Read more

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Testifies before United States Senate Committee on Faith and Immigration Reform, Sister Organization, National Association of Evangelicals Passes Immigration Reform Resolution

WATCH WEBCAST

Embedded within the fabric of the American faith community lies a clarion call and a prophetic supplication for national unity accompanied by an alignment of our core values. Values that include both security and compassion, the rule of law and welcoming the stranger, mercy and justice. Accordingly, the lack of passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation has created a reality where our Borders are yet fully secured and the immigrant families a long with the entire Hispanic American community find ourselves facing racial profiling, discrimination and a hostile ethnically polarized environment not seen since the days prior to the successes of the Civil rights movement. For at the end of the day this is not a political issue but rather one of a moral and spiritual imperative. An issue of justice firmly grounded on biblical truth. In scripture, the number twelve emerges as the foundational pillar of the Nation of Israel and as the initial composition of the followers of Christ. My prayer is that this Congress remembers another twelve. Twelve million people living in the shadows. Twelve million hiding in fear. Twelve million without rights, Twelve million without a nation, and without legal covering, Twelve million not knowing if today is the day they will be separated from their children. Twelve million people living in a land without the opportunity of ever experiencing the fullness of life, embracing the hope of liberty or pursuing the promise of happiness. Yet these 12 million carry one common commodity; hope. Hope that the President and members of Congress that ignited a movement and ushered in change will bring down the walls of political expediency and incorporate within immigration reform the bridge to assimilation and a pathway to the American Dream. Hope that this Congress who stands committed to saving the auto industries, our banks, homeowners and healthcare will similarly apply that saving grace and spirit to these 12 million souls. Hope and faith that this Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform. Via our 25,434 churches , the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, , stands committed in framing the moral imperative for CIR by reconciling both Leviticus 19, treating the stranger amongst us as one of our own and Romans 13, respecting the rule of law. Let us be clear. As Hispanic Christians, we stand committed to the message of the Cross. However, that cross is both vertical and horizontal. It is salvation and transformation, ethos and pathos, Kingdom and society, faith and public policy, Covenant and community, righteousness and justice. For example, as we deal with immigration, via the prism of the vertical and horizontal cross,, we humbly encourage Congress to finally pass and sign into law legislation that will protect our borders, put an end to all illegal immigration, create a market driven guest worker program and facilitate avenues by which the millions of families already in America that lack the legal status can earn such status in a manner that reflects the Judeo Christian Value system this nation was founded upon. But here lies the challenge; can we reconcile Leviticus 19 and Romans 13? Can we repudiate xenophobic and nativist rhetoric, push back on the extremes from both the left and the right and converge around the nexus of the Center Cross where righteousness meets Justice, border security meets compassion and common sense meets common ground? For the fact of the matter is that these immigrants are God fearing, hard working, family loving Children of God who reflect the values of our founding fathers and embrace the tenets of the American Constitution, The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Moreover, our desire is for every immigrant in America to become a productive citizen, master the English language, embrace the core values of the American idea and realize the American Dream Finally, we understand that every day that passes without Comprehensive Immigration Reform adds tarnish to the soul of our Nation. The question arises, can this nation be saved. Let us save this nation, not by providing amnesty but by providing an earned pathway to citizenship. In the name of Justice, in the Name of righteousness, in the Name of The Divine, pass comprehensive immigration reform. By doing so we will protect our borders, protect families, and protect our values and in the end we protect the American Dream.


Hispanic NAE Applauds Sister Organization, The National Association of Evangelicals, for Passage of Immigration Reform Resolution; Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Testifies at Senate Hearing on Faith and Immigration

(Washington, D.C., Hispanic Christian Newswire) America’s largest Hispanic Christian Organization, The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), The Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals, participated in a historic vote led by the National Association of Evangelicals approving a comprehensive immigration reform resolution supporting a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented. “On behalf of our 25,434 churches, we commend and applaud today’s resolution by our sister organization, the N.A.E. This is, without a doubt, a tipping point. We can no longer state that immigration reform stands as a Latino, immigrant or partisan issue. Today’s resolution conveys a collective message on behalf of the Evangelical community that at the end of the day, immigration reform is a matter of justice firmly grounded on biblical truth,” declared Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, NHCLC President. The historic vote came in the midst of scheduled association Fall meeting in Glenarden, Maryland. Hispanic NAE board members who also serve on the NAE board credited Dr. Leith Anderson for the resolution. “Without the leadership of Dr. Leith Anderson, this resolution would never have materialized. His heart and commitment to the Kingdom and his missional perspective enabled him to serve as advocate for a compassionate and biblical solution to the immigration reform debate,” stated Dr. Gilbert Velez, National NHCLC Chairman, NAE Board member and President of the Hispanic Mega Church Association. Hispanic NAE President, Samuel Rodriguez joined Leith Anderson, Michael Gerson, Cardinal McCarrick and Jim Tolle in testifying before the Senate subcommittee on Immigration Reform. Rodriguez addressed Senators Charles Schumer, John Cornyn and Jeff Sessions declaring that the soul of the American Nation stands tarnished as a result of the treatment of the immigrant community. “Every day that passes without comprehensive immigration reform adds tarnish to the soul of our nation. The question arises, can this nation be saved? Let us save this nation, not by providing amnesty but providing an earned pathway to citizenship. By doing so we will protect our borders, protect all families, protect our values and then and only then can we truly protect the American Dream,” added Rodriguez.


NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE

The Question Remains Immigration is coming back as an issue. And supporters of immigration say they are learning from their last defeat.   By Arian Campo-Flores Oct 6, 2009 As Rep. Joe Wilson illustrated with his “You lie!” outburst during President Barack Obama’s speech to Congress, the illegal-immigration issue remains as hot as ever. Lou Dobbs still fulminates about it most evenings on CNN. Conservative talk-radio hosts descended on Washington, D.C., last month for a “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” gathering, aimed at lobbying against “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. On the other side, the United We DREAM Coalition organized 125 events around the country a few weeks ago in support of a law that would legalize certain undocumented high-school graduates. Today’s news may be dominated by the health-care debate, but a new battle over immigration reform looms ahead. As Obama repeated yet again last month, in an interview with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, “I am not backing off one minute from getting this done.” He has appointed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to spearhead the administration’s effort. Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Luis Gutierrez are separately crafting bills that would address the key components of immigration reform: border enforcement, employer crackdowns, temporary work visas, and a path to citizenship for the undocumented. (The latter bill is expected to be introduced in the House later this month.) Given the conservative rage that flared up at town-hall meetings in August, this might not seem like the most hospitable climate in which to tackle such a toxic issue. Yet pro-immigrant groups insist that this may well be their moment. After their unsuccessful attempt to get legislation passed in 2007, they regrouped, studied what went wrong, and hatched a new approach. “The advocacy groups fighting for comprehensive reform will be better organized and more effective” this time around, says Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C. Two years ago, those advocates thought it was their time then. President George W. Bush supported an immigration overhaul that included a path to citizenship for the undocumented, and Democrats had just gained control of Congress. But the effort collapsed in the face of a furious grassroots rebellion over supposed amnesty provisions and opposition from most Republicans and some centrist Democrats. In the eyes of the antilegalization folks, the revolt was widespread. Americans “are just generally opposed to rewarding people who broke the law,” says Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a group that advocates reduced immigration. The bill’s backers, on the other hand, believe they failed because of a small but effective adversary, and because of their own missteps. “We thought we were in a policy debate, and it turned out we were in … a political struggle colored by a culture war,” says Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigration organization. He concedes that his side underestimated the ferocity of the opposition to reform, even though they knew that immigration has always stirred deep divisions. “Politicians were afraid of the anti-immigrant forces and not afraid of the base in favor of immigration reform,” says Sharry. In addition, that base suffered from internal rifts, including one between business groups that backed temporary worker visas and labor unions that opposed them. Leaders also wasted too much energy shoring up their own supporters instead of winning new ones, says the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which includes 25,000 Latino evangelical churches. “I spent more time reaffirming people we already had on our side, rather than meeting with [moderate] Blue Dog Democrats or Republicans.” Yet conditions seem just as hostile today, if not more so. “The angry right is more angry now than they were two years ago,” says Rosenberg. They’re livid over the battered economy, over Democratic dominance in Washington, over the health-care fight. “We all know that if and when this heats up, the other side will go absolutely ballistic,” says Sharry. “It will make the town-hall meetings look amateurish.” The spectacle of right-wing upheaval worries Rodriguez. “If [Fox News’s] Glenn Beck wants to incorporate an anti-immigrant plank within the tea party movement, we are in bad shape,” he says. Despite all this, proponents of comprehensive reform point to some encouraging developments. For one thing, polling continues to show that a majority of Americans support a package that combines stricter enforcement of immigration laws with legalization of undocumented workers, provided they meet certain requirements. According to a Pew Research Center poll released in May, 63 percent of respondents supported a pathway to citizenship. Obama is also a more committed ally than Bush was, advocates say, and Democrats have firmer control of Congress. Moreover, Latino voters are feeling much more empowered after the 2008 elections. “Forty-four electoral votes went blue because of the Latino and immigrant vote in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Florida,” says Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigration group (though the claim is impossible to verify, higher turnout and stronger Democratic support among Hispanics undoubtedly contributed to Obama’s victory in those states). Now, Noorani and others argue, it’s time for the Democrats to deliver. But the pro-immigration forces know better than to take anything for granted this time. They’re organizing grassroots activists to counter their opponents’ arsenal: their databases of supporters, letter-writing campaigns, and talk-radio mobilizations. The National Immigration Forum and others launched the Campaign to Reform Immigration for America in June—a coalition that now includes more than 600 business, faith, labor, and immigrant groups. “Like it or not, policy debates are now campaign-style battles,” says Sharry. “It’s field, it’s communications, it’s policy, it’s legislative strategy, and it’s the electoral muscle to back it up.” Rodriguez and his counterparts in the faith community travel to Washington weekly to buttonhole lawmakers. This time, he says, he’s skipping those who are already on board. “We’re reaching out to the Eric Cantors of the world,” he says, referring to the conservative House Republican whip. Reform backers have also recast their arguments as well. In 2007, they often framed the discussion in moral terms (“this is the right thing to do”) or policy ones (“this is the sensible thing to do”). Now, they’re pursuing communications strategies that they hope will resonate more effectively. For Rodriguez, “it’s a message of assimilation,” he says. “Let’s incorporate [immigrants] and permit them to become great productive Americans.” Noorani offers a fiscal rationale. Why keep undocumented workers in an underground economy where they don’t pay taxes, he asks, when instead, they could be contributing sorely needed revenue to the government? Immigrant advocates are also adopting a more pugnacious stance toward their adversaries. They plan to respond aggressively to attacks and perceived distortions. If conservatives employ xenophobic rhetoric, “we will not stand idly by,” says Rodriguez. Republicans have already imperiled their future viability as a party by alienating Latinos, he argues. If they continue down this path, “it will be their death knell.” Pro-reform groups are going on the offensive against those they consider immigrant bashers. A few weeks ago, America’s Voice ran an ad in Roll Call noting that the Southern Poverty Law Center had designated FAIR a “hate group.” (Mehlman, FAIR’s spokesman, responds that the allegation is absurd and that the SPLC is a “discredited organization.”) Meanwhile, a number of groups have launched a campaign calling for CNN to rein in Dobbs, citing his “racially charged conspiracy theories” and “hate speech,” as a New Democrat Network press release put it. They’ve created Web sites, including dropdobbs.com and tellcnnenoughisenough.com, to rally those who are fed up with Dobbs’s commentary. “It’s not only offensive,” says Jorge Mursuli, national executive director of Democracia U.S.A. “It’s not fact. And it’s being presented as fact on a network that calls itself ‘the most trusted name in news.’ ” (A CNN spokesperson declined to comment.) Such skirmishes are just a taste of what’s to come. Says Sharry: “This is going to be a knock-down, drag-out campaign.”


Hispanic Leader Calls Immigration Resolution ‘A Tipping Point’ NAE president: ‘Jesus was a refugee.’

Published in CHRISTIANITY TODAY October 9, 2009 By David Neff On Thursday, the board of the National Association of Evangelicals endorsed without dissent a resolution that urges comprehensive immigration reform by the U.S. government. The resolution summarizes the biblical principles that should guide the needed change, but it stops short of endorsing any specific policy proposal. Read the Religion News Service coverage elsewhere on our site, and the resolution itself. Presenters for the Capitol Hill press conference that followed the vote on the resolution included NAE president Leith Anderson (who reminded those present that Jesus was a refugee), national director of the Vineyard USA Berten Waggoner, president of Elim Fellowship Ronald Burgio, and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) Samuel Rodriguez. The NHCLC serves 15 million Hispanic Christians and is an affiliate organization of the National Association of Evangelicals.


CITIZEN JOURNALISM: Evangelicals rally behind immigrants

by Bekah Grim THE WASHINGTON TIMES “Jesus was a refugee,” said Leith Anderson, director of the National Association of Evangelicals, who, along with other evangelical leaders, advocated a pro-immigration stance at an Oct. 8 Capitol Hill press conference. They issued a resolution formulated from a faith-based perspective. Mr. Anderson also presented the organization’s support of comprehensive immigration reform later that day at a hearing held by the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, border security and citizenship. U.S. immigration policies are antiquated, laden with red tape and in need of a human rights approach to reform, the evangelicals said. Their amnesty approach drew detractors. “By the grace of God, each American benefits from membership in one of the most just, merciful and righteous bodies politic that has ever existed,” said James R. Edwards Jr., a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies. “But just because the United States stands in the world as a beacon of liberty and justice doesn’t mean anybody who wants to come live in this nation can do so by their own will. Yet some 12 million or so people whose civic membership belongs to some other nation have forced themselves upon this nation.” The evangelical group has taken positions contrary to some other Christian right views in recent years. For example, in 2007 it renounced torture and “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees.” Other evangelical leaders have either resisted that view or remained silent on the issue. The four-page resolution issued Thursday rests on biblical foundations and cites instances in the Old and New testaments in which refugees fled their lands because of hunger and war. The resolution describes God’s special grace shown to those individuals. It goes on to cover many corners of the immigration issue, from advocating that borders be safeguarded with respect for human dignity to encouraging fair-labor and civil laws for legal immigrants. The language of the document does not focus on pity for immigrants, but rather on equality in human rights, calling them “brothers and sisters.” The recent evangelical involvement marks the growing interfaith voice in the immigration debate, which the Center for American Progress has called “a sweeping grass-roots movement.” Organizations such as Catholic Social Services, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the Interfaith Immigration Coalition have moved to the forefront of immigrant rights, rallying other denominations to join the effort. The Interfaith Immigration Coalition organized 167 prayer vigils in 133 cities in February to protect immigrants and raise awareness for comprehensive reform. The editors of the Christian magazine Sojourners have created a six-week devotional guide, “Strangers in the Land,” for personal meditation on the connections between immigration and religion. The National Association of Evangelicals represents 40 denominations and millions of evangelicals nationwide. Supporters said its traditional position on policies that support family values is an important motivator for recent involvement. Many of the pastors at the Capitol Hill meeting spoke of personal encounters with immigrants’ stories in their local churches. Mr. Anderson, president of the association, is also the pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., which donates 10 percent of its ministry fund to immigrant support services. He described a woman he knows who came as a legal refugee from Africa with her son. “When her son turns 18, he will no longer have legal status and will have to go back to Africa, where he does not know the language or have a job,” Mr. Anderson said. “She is overwhelmed by the quagmire of regulations. This is obviously not right.” “Our churches and communities have been blessed by immigrants, many of whom bring strong faith, entrepreneurial energy and traditional family values that strengthen our future,” said Galen Carey, NAE director of government affairs. “At the same time, some of our communities have struggled to cope with the impact of unregulated immigration.” The resolution recommends that immigration reform respect several fundamental principles:

  • Immigrants should be treated with respect and mercy.
  • National borders must be safeguarded with efficiency and respect for human dignity.
  • Immigration laws should recognize the central importance of the family and provide for reduction in backlogs for family reunification.
  • There should be a clear and workable system for legally admitting an adequate number of immigrants to meet both work-force and family-reunification needs.
  • There must be a sound, equitable process for currently undocumented immigrants who wish to assume the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship to earn legal status.
  • There should be fair labor and civil laws for all who reside in the United States, reflecting the best of our nation’s heritage.
  • Immigration enforcement must recognize due process of law, the sanctity of the human person and the incomparable value of family.

“Legal immigrants have trouble bringing over their extended family,” Mr. Anderson told The Washington Times. “If it takes 10 years, their children can be grown up by the time they get here. I think an important piece of our reform is to expedite the documentation process to reunite families.” As support for immigration accelerates within the evangelical movement, it may be slowed down by Congress. President Obama said at a summit in August that immigration reform must wait until 2010 as legislators focus on the health care debate. Berton Wagonner, national director of Vineyard USA, said churches must continue to serve immigrants in the meantime. “We must become prophetic moral voices,” Mr. Wagonner said. “We are advocates for the maginalized, and it is time to engage in acts of kindness to immigrants.”


Press Statement, Hispanic NAE , The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference In Response to National Association of Evangelicals Immigration Reform Resolution

On behalf of our 25,434 churches, we commend and applaud today’s resolution by our sister organization, the N.A.E. This is, without a doubt, a tipping point. We can no longer state that immigration reform stands as a Latino, immigrant or partisan issue. Today’s resolution conveys a collective message on behalf of the Evangelical community that at the end of the day, immigration reform is a matter of justice firmly grounded on biblical truth. Moreover, this resolution embodies the spirit of a message declaring that comprehensive immigration reform stems neither from the agenda of the donkey nor from the agenda of the elephant but rather from the agenda of the lamb. Correspondingly, we stand obligated to respond to the challenge before us. Can we reconcile Leviticus 19 and Romans 13? Can we repudiate xenophobic and nativist rhetoric, push back on the extremes from both left and right and converge around the nexus of the Center Cross where righteousness meets justice, border security reconciles with compassion and common sense marries common ground? Let us be clear, we humbly encourage Congress to finally pass and sign into law legislation that will protect our borders, put an end to all illegal immigration, create a market driven guest worker program and facilitate avenues by which the millions of families already in America that lack legal status can assimilate fully into our society. Our desire is for every immigrant in America to become a productive citizen, demonstrate proficiency in the English vernacular, embrace the core values of the American idea and realize the American Dream. To that end, I humbly pray, in the name of justice, in the name of righteousness, in the name of the Divine, let us pass comprehensive immigration reform. By doing so we will protect our borders, protect all our families, protect our values and then and only then can we protect the American Dream.


A New Voice for Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Religious Conservatives

U.S. News & World Report – Washington,DC,USA By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country October 23, 2009 – In advance of President Obama’s and the Democrats’ coming push for immigration reform, support for so-called comprehensive reform that would include a path to citizenship for many illegal immigrants already in the United States is building among a surprising constituency: conservative religious activists. The effort includes not only socially conservative groups that have partnered with Democrats on other issues in the past-like the National Association of Evangelicals and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops-but also more staunchly conservative groups and figures closely aligned with the Republican Party. “There was this rhetoric in the last immigration debate that was, frankly, harsh,” says Mathew Staver, dean of the law school at Liberty University, founded by the late Jerry Falwell. “We need to understand that we are still a nation of immigrants, and we need to bring people out of the shadows and make them legal.” Staver, who is leading the effort to bring conservative evangelicals and other religious conservatives on board for comprehensive immigration reform, says he’s motivated by biblical principles regarding the treatment of foreigners and by a desire to build bridges between the “pro-family” movement and growing ethnic constituencies. But the campaign may wind up dividing religious conservatives, some of whom helped lead the charge against George W. Bush’s failed attempt at comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. “Many of our members oppose comprehensive amnesty because of their faith,” says Colleeen Holmes, executive director of Eagle Forum, the conservative group founded by Phyllis Schlafly. “But this is really about conservatism versus liberalism, and conservatism says you need rule of law.” The Eagle Forum opposes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Staver can hardly be described as a liberal. Besides his Liberty University role, he heads Liberty Counsel, an advocacy group whose website describes it as “dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and the traditional family.” After religious conservatives splintered among various Republican presidential candidates in the 2008 Republican primaries, Staver organized a new coalition, the Freedom Federation, to promote unity in the movement and to build bridges to constituencies that then candidate Barack Obama was courting but that had traditionally been neglected by conservative Christians: minorities and young people. Now, Staver is trying to build support among Freedom Federation members for comprehensive immigration reform. Part of his goal is to bring Hispanics into the conservative Christian political fold. “The future of the conservative movement is at stake in the debate about immigration reform,” says the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who has been helping Staver lobby conservative evangelical leaders on immigration. At a recent coalition meeting in Washington, Staver had former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee discuss his immigration views, which have been criticized as soft by many conservatives, with dozens of representatives from religious conservative groups. “Huckabee was attacked in the presidential race because he didn’t want to remove educational benefits for the children of illegal immigrants,” Staver says. “But that’s a biblical concept-you don’t punish the child for what his parents did.” A follow-up meeting in is planned for next month in Washington. Some conservative faith-based activists welcome Staver’s effort. “I am hopeful that we will adopt the position that the Freedom Federation will adopt,” says Rick Tyler, who runs a new group that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich launched to mobilize religious conservatives. “America is and was and will be and always should be a nation of immigrants.” Some Freedom Federation members, however-like Eagle Forum-remain strongly opposed to comprehensive immigration reform. Others, like Family Research Council Action, are still determining their position.

Read more

The CDC is Offering Information and Online Resources for Hispanic Pastors to Stay Informed on H1N1 Outbreaks and Vaccinations

Through this special communication, the Partnership Center would like to share some new tools for flu prevention and response as we enter the holiday season. The H1N1 virus is still particularly affecting pregnant women, children, young adults, and people ages 25 though 64 with medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. Gatherings, such as those around the holidays, can be an opportunity to keep communities informed about preventing and treating flu, as well as vaccine safety – rather than opportunities for germs to spread. It’s particularly important that people who are ‘harder to reach’ (due to geographic, language, socioeconomic or other reasons) receive accurate and accessible information about the flu and vaccine. Your organizations are often well positioned to help reach these communities. Below you will find links to several new 1 page fliers created by CDC that focus on vaccine safety and healthy habits. Please note outreach is voluntary. The following action steps can help keep everyone healthy. Please consider what steps might work for your community:

  • Forward this e-mail to communicate with your staff, partners, program participants, and others in your community.
  • Post the appropriate flyers linked below on your websites, community newsletters, bulletin boards, and social media links.
  • Print and hand out the fliers and post in public areas to reach those who do not have access to a computer.
  • Use regional, state, and local community partners to pass on the information.
  • Help people find vaccine available in their area by going to Flu.gov.

We have included links to four 1-page fliers with information about the 2009 H1N1 flu, vaccinations, and ways to maintain your health. Multiple versions of each to address language, race, and ethnicity differences are linked as well. Please choose the ones that work best for your audience. (a). You and the H1N1 flu vaccine. 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine is given in two ways.

      1. English version

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/h1n1_safety_flyer.pdf

      1. Spanish Version

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/h1n1_safety_flyer_sp.pdf (b). Children should get the vaccine.

      1. English version

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_children.pdf

      1. Spanish version

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_children_sp.pdf (c) Protect yourself from H1N1. Get the vaccine. Individual flyers have been designed for multiple audiences, though text is the same. Graphics have been adapted to address different communities.

      1. English – Purple Background

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_vaccine_safety_ver3.pdf

      1. English – Green Background

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_vaccine_safety_ver2.pdf

      1. English – Orange Background

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_vaccine_safety_ver1.pdf

      1. English – Blue Background

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_vaccine_safety_ver4.pdf

      1. Spanish for non English-speaking Audiences

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_vaccine_safety_sp.pdf (d). Cover Your Cough. Stop the Spread of Germs that Make You and Others Sick!

      1. English version

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/pdf/cdc_cough.pdf

      1. Spanish version

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/espanol/pdf/covercough_school_8x11_sp.pdf Heard a rumor about H1N1? Visit Myths & Facts to run a fact check and learn the truth. An additional resource is the CDC hotline, 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636), which offers services in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We encourage you to visit Flu.gov for more free resources and one-page handouts available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Please consider sharing this message with your family, friends, co-workers and networks today. Let’s work together to help keep our communities safe and healthy. Again, please know that participation in this outreach effort is voluntary. Combatting the H1N1 Flu starts with awareness. The NHCLC urges all Hispanic pastors to download and read thefollowing brochure published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC): H1N1 Flu, A Guide For Community -and- Faith-Based Organizations (PDF) You can also download this widget which is a small program for your computer desktop with up to date information on flu shots and important information: Click here to Download Widget

Read more

Puerto Rico’s Most Prominent Denominational Leader Joins America’s Preeminent Hispanic Faith Organization

(Washington, D.C., Hispanic Christian Newswire) America’s largest Hispanic Christian Organization, The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), The Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals, announced today the addition of Rev. Dr. William Hernandez to the National Board of Directors. Hernandez serves as the overseeing bishop of the Church of God Pentecostal International Movement denomination, Puerto Rico’s largest Evangelical denomination. “Rev. William Hernandez stands at the stern of the Evangelical experience in Puerto Rico. His commitment to Christ, biblical values and righteousness enable him to address the Pentecostal community from a prophetic and missional platform,” declared Dr. Gilbert Velez, NHCLC Board Chair. Dr. William Hernandez oversees the largest denomination in the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico where close to 600 churches saturate the island with the leadership mantle of the Pentecostal and Charismatic experience in the Caribbean island. Hernandez worked as a pharmaceutical executive prior to his pastoral and denominational leadership role. Hernandez oversees a denomination that includes its own television and radio network. “We welcome Rev. William Hernandez to our team. His leadership acumen will engage the next generation of Pentecostal leadership as he leads a reformation that reconciles holiness with justice, revival with relevancy, the prophetic with the practical,” stated Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Conference President. Hernandez will represent the churches of his denomination on the National Board. The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference serves 25,434 churches by providing leadership, networking, partnerships, fellowship and advocacy platforms to the Seven Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Education, Youth and Justice.

Read more

Pastor of America’s Preeminent Hispanic Congregation to Oversee Pentecostal Network

New Interactive Website Launched To Engage the Growing Support among Faith Communities for Immigration Reform (Washington, D.C., Hispanic Christian Newswire) America’s largest Hispanic Christian Organization, The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), The Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals, announced today the appointment of Rev. Daniel DeLeon as Chairman of the National Hispanic Pentecostal Congress. DeLeon succeeds Rev. Nino Gonzalez who this past August was elected as Executive Presbyter for the Assemblies of God Language Districts east of the Mississippi. “Danny’s ministerial trajectory represents a commitment to a Spirit empowered ethos, prayer and evangelism. His leadership will connect Hispanic Pentecostal leaders committed to revival and renewal,” declared Dr. Gilbert Velez, NHCLC Board Chair. DeLeon continues to serve as Senior Pastor of Templo El Calvario (Calvary Temple) in Santa Ana, California. The Church counts with over 14,000 in weekly attendance, arguably the largest Hispanic congregation in America. In addition, DeLeon also served as the host of the Spanish Version of the 700 Club viewed by millions in Latin America. “The future of American Christianity will be primarily Hispanic led with a strong Pentecostal emphasis. Danny embodies the convergence of both the cultural and theological streams quickly emerging as the platform for the 21st century American faith narrative,” explained Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Conference President. The National Hispanic Pentecostal Congress will convene in April 2010 as part of the Empower 21 Global Conference at Oral Roberts University and again in October. The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference serves 25,434 churches by providing leadership, networking, partnerships, fellowship and advocacy platforms to the Seven Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Education, Youth and Justice.
Read more

National Marriage Week and Let’s Strengthen Marriage Campaign Update

By:

Chuck Stetson, Chairman & Sheila Weber, Executive Director, Let’s Strengthen Marriage and National Marriage Week USA

After a whole year of planning and our mutual coordination on national conference calls, I wanted you to know about exciting, latest news for our efforts on marriage and ways all of us can now mobilize our troops: 1. Our team has launched a new national campaign called “Let’s Strengthen Marriage” with National Marriage Week USA as its initial major project. This effort was last week covered by The Washington Times (full article here), where reporter Cheryl Wetzstein writes: “….the cavalry finally may be on its way. In November, a national campaign called Let’s Strengthen Marriage was formed with the goal of getting marriage onto the “national agenda.” The campaign recently held a webinar aimed at encouraging tens of thousands of houses of worship to celebrate National Marriage Week, Feb. 7 through 14…..” “Religious leaders also were challenged to immediately set up dating and courtship seminars for youth, marriage preparation education for teens and singles and marriage enrichment courses for married couples…..” “……I am intrigued by what might happen if America’s faith communities really realized their capacity to assist men and women in their quest for strong, stable, happy marriages and families. The Let’s Strengthen Marriage campaign summed up the merits of marriage in nine words: “Financial stability. Better health. Less troubled kids. Greater happiness.” I would add a 10th word, ‘Amen.'” 2. Our recent Marriage Webinar, featuring Jim Garlow, Chuck Colson, leading clergy and social scientists, has been edited to one hour and is still available. It puts forth an energizing and informative call to the Church, with alarming new research, and specific ways that folks can get involved. Please alert your colleagues and members to log on to the archived webinar at www.marriagewebinar.org 3. We would appreciate your use of our official press release for how to get involved with National Marriage Week USA-Feb. 7 to 14.www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/news/ 4. National Marriage Week USA will have a major national radio promotion and contest on five national Christian radio networks throughout National Marriage Week from February 7th through 14th, including KLOVE, Moody Broadcasting, American Family Radio, Way-FM, and HIS Radio Network, plus more. The radio promotion will feature Gary Chapman, best-selling author of Five Love Languages, as a National Marriage Week USA spokesperson. We are very excited about the enormous impact of this weeklong national promotion. 5. Many national organizations have already loaded the National Marriage Week USA logo or banner ads. We invite you to download our banner ads and post them on your websites with a link to www.nationalmarriageweekUSA.orghttp://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/campaign/file.htm?slug=Banner ads 6. You can POST EVENTS for your organization on the National Marriage Week USA website at http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/events/ You can see we already have scores and scores of event postings, such as the Focus on Family Simulcast on February 28, and viewers can sort events on a state by state basis to discover what is happening near their home. Folks can also JOIN THE CAMPAIGN and write notes to “Tell Us What You’re Doing” and “Read What Others are Doing” at www.nationalmarriageweekUSA.org. http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/join_the_campaign.htm If you would need an interview or more information, please contact Sheila Weber, executive director of Let’s Strengthen Marriage and National Marriage Week USA, atsheila@letstrengthenmarriage.org.

Read more

NHCLC partners with Liberty University Online

When NHCLC president the Rev. Sam Rodriguez spoke last year on campus of Liberty University, it was clear that the two organizations were working toward the same goal — to educate and mobilize godly men and women to go out and make a difference in their communities and beyond. Through a special partnership, Liberty University is making classes available to NHCLC members under its Liberty University Online program. CLICK HERE FOR AN AUDIO ANNOUNCEMENT (PC only) Liberty University Online is the world’s largest non-profit provider of accredited online education and part of the world’s largest Christian university. Liberty offers more than 45 degree programs and 90 specializations online in areas the market demands most — business, education, psychology, counseling, nursing, multidisciplinary studies and religion.

Read more

NHCLC Commends Southern Baptist Convention’s Resolution

By:

MattiMedia Group

NHCLC Commends Southern Baptist Convention’s Resolution to Advocate a Path to Legal Status for Undocumented Immigrants SACRAMENTO, Calif.–The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, approved a resolution backing a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants at its annual meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. last week. Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, (www.nhclc.org), also known as the Hispanic Evangelical Association, the nation’s largest Christian Hispanic organization, said, “We commend and applaud the Southern Baptist Convention’s bold stand in their resolution on immigration. Racism does not speak to the greatness of this nation or to the heart of Jesus.” “We call upon the Bible believing Church in America to rise up for righteousness and justice,” Rodriguez continued. “This time silence is not an option. The answer to the immigration crisis in America lies in the Word of God. The answer is to reconcile Leviticus 19 with Romans 13, compassion with the rule of law.” Dr. Jesse Miranda, President of The Miranda Center and CEO of the NHCLC, said, “Christianity, since its beginning has revolved around the context of the two Great Commandments, the love of God and the love of neighbor. I am pleased to read the Southern Baptist Convention’s statement on immigration. It is refreshing in as much as the church has of late been defined by what it is against rather than what it is for. I am glad that this church is expressing its prophetic role.” The resolution (www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=1213) asks government officials to support “a just and compassionate path to legal status, with appropriate restitutionary measures, for those undocumented immigrants already living in our country.” The resolution is also clear that it is not to be construed as support for amnesty for any undocumented immigrant.  Additionally, it calls on the government to make border security a priority and to hold businesses accountable for hiring.  “Any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation is inconsistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” the resolution says. “The answer is a Just Integration Strategy that stops all illegal immigration, prohibits amnesty, deports those engaged in nefarious activities while facilitating an integration and legalization process for self sustaining hard working individuals,” said Rodriguez. Rev. Rodriguez met two weeks ago with Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas and will be meeting with Republican Governors in order to offer the Just Integration Strategy as a practical solution to the immigration issue. Rodriguez presented the integration strategy in a meeting with President Obama one year ago. This year, the President incorporated Rev. Rodriguez’s verbiage in his recent presentations on immigration of which the Southern Baptist Convention’s vision, for a path toward legal status, mirrors what President Obama has offered as he’s urged support for immigration reform. The recent Alabama Immigration policy is the third in a series of state laws, signed by Governors, aimed at combating illegal immigration. H.B. 56, signed into law by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is already being hailed as the most controversial immigration law and the most restrictive law against illegal immigration in the country. Advocacy groups, including The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, are promising to challenge the sweeping measure signed by Gov. Bentley, which is being called even more severe than Arizona’s SB1070 law which is still being challenged in court. Alabama’s Immigration law is set to take effect September 1, 2011. Samuel Rodriguez, concluded, “At the end of the day, immigrants will revitalize the American Church, reaffirm the values of faith, family and hard work while enriching the collective narrative of our American experience.” The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is the Hispanic Evangelical Association unifying, serving, and representing the Hispanic Born Again Community via 34,200 member churches and 20 million constituents by reconciling the vertical and horizontal of the Christian message through the 7 Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.

Read more