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NHCLC News

Latino Christian Leaders to Discuss President’s Social Security Proposal

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

February, 2005 – Orlando, Florida — Latino Christian Leaders will meet in Orlando, Florida on March 8th to discuss the President’s Social Security Reform Proposal. “The President recently discussed the effects of his proposal on minority communities. Hispanics share with the Afro-American Community a dramatic disparity as it pertains to retirement and savings accounts. This proposal will effect our communities in an unprecedented manner. We want to respond to the President and members of Congress our concerns and inclinations. “, stated Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr., President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

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Hispanic Christian Leaders Applaud the Confirmation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

February, 2005 – The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is proud to have Alberto Gonzales as the Lead Law Enforcement Officer in our Nation. We believe that his proven leadership and ability to create collaborative strategies to solve very difficult issues will make him one of our nations best AG ever. Our prayers are with him and his department

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Evangelicals go for the green

By:

MSNBC.com and The Washington Post

 

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

Courtesy of MSNBC.com and The Washington Post February 6, 2005 – Seattle, WA — Thanks to the Rev. Leroy Hedman, the parishioners at Georgetown Gospel Chapel take their baptismal waters cold. The preacher has unplugged the electricity-guzzling heater in the immersion baptism tank behind his pulpit. He has also installed energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs throughout the church and has placed water barrels beneath its gutter pipes — using runoff to irrigate the congregation’s all-organic gardens. Such “creation care” should be at the heart of evangelical life, Hedman says, along with condemning abortion, protecting family and loving Jesus. He uses the term “creation care” because, he says, it does not annoy conservative Christians for whom the word “environmentalism” connotes liberals, secularists and Democrats. Going for the green “It’s amazing to me that evangelicals haven’t gone quicker for the green,” Hedman said. “But as creation care spreads, evangelicals will demand different behavior from politicians. The Republicans should not take us for granted.” There is growing evidence — in polling and in public statements of church leaders — that evangelicals are beginning to go for the green. Despite wariness toward mainstream environmental groups, a growing number of evangelicals view stewardship of the environment as a responsibility mandated by God in the Bible. “The environment is a values issue,” said the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals. “There are significant and compelling theological reasons why it should be a banner issue for the Christian right.” In October, the association’s leaders adopted an “Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility” that, for the first time, emphasized every Christian’s duty to care for the planet and the role of government in safeguarding a sustainable environment. “We affirm that God-given dominion is a sacred responsibility to steward the earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part,” said the statement, which has been distributed to 50,000 member churches. “Because clean air, pure water, and adequate resources are crucial to public health and civic order, government has an obligation to protect its citizens from the effects of environmental degradation.” Growing political issue Signatories included highly visible, opinion-swaying evangelical leaders such as Haggard, James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Some of the signatories are to meet in March in Washington to develop a position on global warming, which could place them at odds with the policies of the Bush administration, according to Richard Cizik, the association’s vice president for governmental affairs. Also last fall, Christianity Today, an influential evangelical magazine, weighed in for the first time on global warming. It said that “Christians should make it clear to governments and businesses that we are willing to adapt our lifestyles and support steps towards changes that protect our environment.” The magazine came out in favor of a global warming bill — sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) — that the Bush administration opposed and the Republican-controlled Senate defeated. Polling has found a strengthening consensus among evangelicals for strict environmental rules, even if they cost jobs and higher prices, said John C. Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. In 2000, about 45 percent of evangelicals supported strict environmental regulations, according to Green’s polling. That jumped to 52 percent last year. “It has changed slowly, but it has changed,” Green said. “There is now a lot of ferment out there.” Such ferment matters because evangelicals are politically active. Nearly four out of five white evangelical Christians voted last year for President Bush, constituting more than a third of all votes cast for him, according to the Pew Research Center. The analysis found that the political clout of evangelicals has increased as their cohesiveness in backing the Republican Party has grown. Republicans outnumber Democrats within the group by more than 2 to 1. Uneasy alliance There is little to suggest in recent elections that environmental concerns influenced the evangelical vote — indeed, many members of Congress who receive 100 percent approval ratings from Christian advocacy groups get failing grades from environmental groups. But the latest statements and polls have caught the eye of established environmental organizations. Several are attempting to make alliances with the Christian right on specific issues, such as global warming and the presence of mercury and other dangerous toxins in the blood of newborn children. After the election last fall, leaders of the country’s major environmental groups spent an entire day at a meeting in Washington trying to figure out how to talk to evangelicals, according to Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation. For decades, he said, environmentalists have failed to make that connection. “There is a lot of suspicion,” said Schweiger, who describes himself as a conservationist and a person of faith. “There are a lot of questions about what are our real intentions.” Green said the evangelicals’ deep suspicion about environmentalists has theological roots. “While evangelicals are open to being good stewards of God’s creation, they believe people should only worship God, not creation,” Green said. “This may sound like splitting hairs. But evangelicals don’t see it that way. Their stereotype of environmentalists would be Druids who worship trees.” Another reason that evangelicals are suspicious of environmental groups is cultural and has its origins in how conservative Christians view themselves in American society, according to the Rev. Jim Ball, executive director of the Evangelical Environmental Network. The group made its name with the “What Would Jesus Drive?” campaign against gas-guzzling cars but recently shifted its focus to reducing global warming. “Evangelicals feel besieged by the culture at large,” Ball said. “They don’t know many environmentalists, but they have the idea they are pretty weird — with strange liberal, pantheist views.” Landmines abound Ball said that the way to bring large numbers of evangelicals on board as political players in environmental issues is to make persuasive arguments that, for instance, tie problems of global warming and mercury pollution to family health and the health of unborn children. He adds that evangelicals themselves — not such groups as the Sierra Club or Friends of the Earth, with their liberal Democratic baggage — are the only ones who can do the persuading. “Environmental groups are always going to be viewed in a wary fashion,” Ball said. “They just don’t have a good enough feel for the evangelical community. There are landmines from the past, and they will hit them without knowing it.” Even for green activists within the evangelical movement, there are landmines. One faction in the movement, called dispensationalism, argues that the return of Jesus and the end of the world are near, so it is pointless to fret about environmental degradation. James G. Watt, President Ronald Reagan’s first interior secretary, famously made this argument before Congress in 1981, saying: “God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.” The enduring appeal of End Time musings among evangelicals is reflected in the phenomenal success of the Left Behind series of apocalyptic potboilers, which have sold more than 60 million copies and are the best-selling novels in the country. Haggard, the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, concedes that this thinking “is a problem that I do have to address regularly in talking to the common man on the street. I tell them to live your life as if Jesus is coming back tomorrow, but plan your life as if he is not coming back in your lifetime. I also tell them that the authors of the Left Behind books have life insurance policies.” This argument is apparently resonating. Green said the notion that an imminent Judgment Day absolves people of environmental responsibility is now a “fringe” belief. Unusual weather phenomena, such as the four hurricanes that battered Florida last year and the melting of the glaciers around the world, have captured the attention of evangelicals and made many more willing to listen to scientific warnings about the dangers of global warming, Haggard said. Pro-life, pro-earth messages mingle At the same time, activists such as Ball from the Evangelical Environmental Network are trying to show how the most important hot-button issue of the Christian right — abortion and the survival of the unborn — has a green dimension. “Stop Mercury Poisoning of the Unborn,” said a banner that Ball carried in last month’s antiabortion march in Washington. Holding up the other end of the banner was Cizik, the National Association of Evangelicals’ chief lobbyist. They handed out carefully footnoted papers that cited federal government studies showing that 1 in 6 babies is born with harmful levels of mercury. The fliers urged Christians not to support the “Clear Skies” act, a Bush administration proposal to regulate coal-burning power plants that are a primary source of mercury pollution. Although Cizik carried the banner and handed out literature that implicitly criticized Bush’s policy on regulating mercury, he conceded that many evangelicals find it difficult to criticize the president. “It is hard to oppose him when he has the moral authority of the office of the president and a record of standing with us on moral issues like abortion,” Cizik said. In Seattle, Hedman says that evangelicals should worry less about the moral authority of the president and more about their biblical obligation to care for Earth. “The Earth is God’s body,” Hedman said in a recent sermon. “God wants us to look after it.”

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NHCLC establishes Partnership with NAE and votes to join Nations Largest Evangelical Organization

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

March 9, 2005 – Orlando, Florida — Rev. Ted Haggard, President of the National Association of Evangelicals addressed the Board of Directors of America’s Leading Hispanic Christian Organization, The NHCLC. In his address, Pastor Haggard, who also pastors “New Life” in Colorado Springs, Colorado, spoke of the need for the nations fastest growing church, the Hispanic Church, to join with the Anglo church in Building the Kingdom of God and preserving the Judeo Christian Values within our American Experience. Chairman Felix Posos joined President Samuel Rodriguez Jr. Dr. Gilbert Velez, Policy Director of The NHCLC and Dr. Sergio Navarrette in welcoming the alliance. “America’s Premier Hispanic Evangelical Organization will henceforth join America’s Premier Anglo Evangelical Organization in empowering our constituents, enriching our nation and enhancing the American Dream. We will join our efforts to address the moral decadence of our times, stand with gatekeepers of Truth and Justice and Most of all, exhibit the Love and Grace of Christ to the suffering and afflicted throughout our nation. “, stated Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr. “Never has a Hispanic Organization been give the Grace And Favor we have received. Our responsibility is to lead with Humility but with ONE VOICE of Unity and Transformation. One voice that is Prophetic and Progressive”, stated Felix Posos, Chairman of The NHCLC. “Our time has come to join with our Anglo and Afro American Brothers and Sisters in Leading revival and renewal that will affect our communiites, cities, homes and above all, our children. For their sake, we must not fail”, stated a Board member. The NHCLC will join the NAE in a joint Press Conference in early Summer. “This Historic event is unprecedented in the annals of the Latino Church”, stated Rev. Posos.

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NHCLC celebrates Conference in Nations largest Hispanic Church

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

June, 2005 – Delegates from all around the country traveled to the border town of Laredo, Texas to join Dr. Gilbert Velez, Senior Pastor of Mercy Church and Policy Director for The NHCLC. The conference focused on Spiritual Empowerment in the Hispanic Community. Attendees were encouraged to lift the Dream of Latinos via Upper Room Empowerment.

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NHCLC participates in Department of Justice Summit on Gang Reduction

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

June, 2005 – Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, representing the NHCLC, participated upon a formal invitation from The White House, in this unprecedented summit. Attendees discussed the Executive and Legislative initiatives developing to reduce the gang activity in our nation. Rev. Rodriguez presented to the delegates representing law enforcement, faith based organizations, national and regional leadership the programs launched by the Hispanic Church via the NHCLC. National Hispanic Christian Leadership Institute Equipping the Latino Leaders in the major 24 cities of America. NHCLC announces that in January of 2005, The NHCLC will equip, train and certify Hispanic Christian Leaders that will lead as oracles of positive transformation at the political, economic, spiritual and civic platforms of our nation. “We will see Latino Leadership arise with the spiritual fortitude, the business acumen and intellectual wherewithal to lead in the political, moral, business, academic and cultural fronts.” stated Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of The NHCLC. The top Hispanic business, political and religious figures will teach in these 24 Institutes. Fuerza Hispanic 2008 To register, via the churches, 8 Million new Latino voters Generation Fuerza A National Youth Initiative targeting Latino Young People for the purpose of reducing the Latino High School Drop out rate and the reduction of Juvenile Delinquency particularly Gang Activity participation. This Program incorporates the National Hispanic Leadership Institute in leadership transference exercises that will address precocious transitions such as teen pregnancy, high school dropout, etc.. No Child Left Behind Collaborative Relationship with the Department of Education and The White House in creating after school programs via the churches and the local CDC’s for the purpose of achieving the goals of the “No Child Left Behind” initiative. NHCLC establishes Faith Based Programs throughout the 50 states via the Latino Churches.

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Rev Ezekiel Pecina Joins National Board of NHCLC

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

July, 2005, Abilene, TX – Rev. Ezekiel Pecina, Pastor of New Life Church in Abilene, Texas Joins National Board of NHCLC. Pastor Ezekiel Pecina was appointed to serve on the National Board of the NHCLC by the Executive Council. Rev. Pecina pastors a 1000 member strong congregation with Television and Radio programs that impact West Texas. The NHCLC welcomes Rev. Pecina.

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NHCLC President addresses General Council of Assemblies of God, Ethnic Fellowship Celebration

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr, President of the NHCLC, addressed delegates from all over America and Puerto Rico as one of the Featured Speakers to the Hispanic Leadership and Members of the World’s largest Pentecostal Denomination. With close to 1/2 a Million Hispanic Assembly of God Adherents, the Hispanic Fellowship represents the Nations largest Hispanic Charismatic Group. Rev. Rodriguez addressed the importance of the Hispanic Church functioning as an Unbreakable Net.

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Hispanic Speakers Bureau Inaugurated

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

September, 2005 – The Top Hispanic Christian Oracles of Moral Clarity, Political Empowerment, and Social/Economic Mobility have made themselves available to the NHCLC. Without question, the Hispanic Speakers Bureau is available to Civic, Religious, Political and Business Forums and Communities which desire to engage the Hispanic Constituency in America. Speakers are committed to address the issues, concerns, and vision of the Hispanic community as it relates to the differentiated roles necessary for empowerment in 21st Century America.

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National Initiative to Certify Tier 1 Hispanic Leaders Announced

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

September, 2005 – Leadership makes the difference between effectual communities and dysfunctional families. The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Institute is a Nation wide certifying Leadership Program that will identify, equip, and certify Tier 1 Hispanic Christian Leadership. “Our objective is to build and network the Civic, Business, and Spiritual Leaders of America’s largest Cities”. We desire to produce individuals with the intellectual wherewithal, spiritual fortitude, and business acumen to lead the major institutions of our cities. From school boards, to city councils, from Mayors to state and Federal legislators, from School Principals to CEO’s, we will prepare the Tier 1 Leaders of America.

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