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Hispanic leader: In voting, immigration reform must not trump life

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Samuel Rodriguez, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference warned attendees of the Evangelicals for Life conference, Thursday (Jan. 21) in Washington D.C., against separating their responsibly to God and nation by voting one way and preaching another, saying that consistency is crucial to steering the cultural landscape in America toward a greater respect for life.

“We must rise up!” Rodriguez said, adding that he will not approach the voting both based on the color of his skin. “I am not first and foremost black, white, yellow, brown, Hispanic, charismatic or automatic. I am a Christian. I am a Christian above everything else, and when I approach that voting booth, I must approach that voting booth understanding that my vote has consequences, and I can’t differentiate or distinguish. I cannot create a schism between what I vote and what I preach and what I believe. There must be continuity, and that’s what we call integrity.”

“I am committed not only to seeing the emergence of the staunchest pro-life demographic in America, but I am likewise committed to building a compassionate, Christ-centered, Bible-based pro-life firewall.”—Samuel Rodriguez, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
In speaking directly to his Latino brothers and sisters, Rodriguez said voting for someone with an appealing position on immigration reform must not trump voting for someone who will commit to protect life.

“Indeed, immigration has a legitimate space to occupy as it pertains to the conversations, as long as it’s not amnesty or illegal immigration—we need to stop that,” Rodriguez said. “But whatever we’re advocating for, it shouldn’t trump life. We must begin with life!”

Silence is not an option, Rodriguez said.

“Now let me explain what that means, and this may be politically incorrect. I am committed not only to seeing the emergence of the staunchest pro-life demographic in America, but I am likewise committed to building a compassionate, Christ-centered, Bible-based pro-life firewall, understanding the following: That today’s complacency is tomorrow’s captivity. That we are what we tolerate. That there is no such thing as comfortably Christianity. And that truth and love and life must never be sacrificed on the altar of political, cultural or sexual expedience.

“There has to be continuity and consistency,” Rodriguez said. “If we preach pro-life on Sunday, we cannot support a candidate that advocates abortion on Tuesday.”

Rodriguez, who made a specific note that he spoke only for himself and not on behalf of conference organizers, received enthusiastic applause and affirmation from the crowd throughout his time on stage.

Original article can be read here: http://texanonline.net/archives/5222/#.VqRegJeVdgQ.mailto

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Immigration Reform News: Christian Leaders Urge 2016 Candidates to be Compassionate Towards Immigrants to Win Evangelical Voters in Iowa

Just days before Iowa voters kick off the first-in-the-nation presidential contest, evangelical leaders published an open letter urging 2016 hopefuls to approach the issue of immigration from a stance of compassion and love based on Biblical teachings.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump has made anti-immigrant rhetoric a focal point in his campaign, while Republican candidates like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have taken a hardline stance on immigration reform.
In response, five national evangelical leaders and 32 Iowa signatories sent a message to all the candidates on Wednesday encouraging them to be compassionate towards immigrants and refugees, as guided by Scripture.
“Scripture teaches us that every human being is made in God’s image and is endowed with inherent dignity and potential to flourish. All people, including immigrants, deserve respect,” reads the letter, which was published on the Des Moines Register’s Caucuses page.
“Jesus demonstrated high regard for foreigners in his teaching and actions, and identified himself with the stranger in Matthew 25. We recognize that immigrants can be agents of blessings to their receiving communities as well,” it states.
The Christian leaders also say another reason immigrants should be welcomed and treated humanely is because of their contributions to the local economy within the early-voting state.
“In Iowa alone, Asian- and Latino-owned businesses employ thousands and contribute more than $1 billion annually to the economy. Immigrants are also key to the agricultural sector, which makes up more than 25 percent of Iowa’s economy,” reads the letter.
It goes on to say to describe immigrants as “vital members” of the community.
“Immigrants are not just our co-workers but also our neighbors, friends and members of our church family,” the letter reads. “When our immigrant neighbors are attacked with harsh rhetoric, we feel their pain.”
In addition, some of the signatories voiced their support for the letter in a statement sent to Latin Post.
Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said, “Demagoguery or constructive conversations; that is the choice for today’s presidential contenders. As it pertains to immigration, Americans will no longer tolerate sound bites. Now is the time for a solution that will protect our borders and values. Now is the time for a Christian conservative prescription; one that stops illegal immigration while integrating those currently here in a manner that reflects the hopes of Ronald Reagan and the conviction of Jack Kemp. Now is the time!”
“The impact of our broken immigration system is something that is near to all of our hearts, as the people directly affected are our neighbors, classmates, students and fellow church members,” wrote Shirley Hoogstra, the President of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. “Therefore, we must ensure our leaders understand that as Christians, we are called to both love the stranger and to uphold the law, and so we must work together to find solutions that meet both of these goals.”

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26 Iowa Pastors, National Evangelical Leaders Endorse Marco Rubio Days Before Iowa Caucus

In the days leading up to the pivotal Iowa caucuses, a group of Iowa pastors and a number of prominent national Christian leaders have endorsed Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for president, which contrasts the notion that evangelical leaders are coalescing around Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Rubio has repeatedly touted his faith in recent weeks in commercials, during campaign stops and at presidential debates, in a concerted effort to attract the support of the pivotal Iowa evangelical voting bloc, a group that both Cruz and frontrunner Donald Trump have also courted heavily.

In a press release issued Saturday, the Rubio campaign announced a “growing” list of at least 26 Iowa pastors, who represent various Christian denominations and will be supporting Rubio at Monday’s Iowa caucuses.

“I am enthusiastically supporting Marco Rubio because I have personally heard him share how his belief in God impacts the things he believes in and stands for,” Philip Herman, the pastor of Fellowship Community Church in Norwalk, said in a statement. “Our country doesn’t need another leader who simply wants to be President for his own personal power and ego, we need a leader like Marco Rubio who uses his gifts and abilities in full submission to an Almighty God.”

As a recent LifeWay Research poll found that 47 percent of American pastors are undecided about which presidential candidate they are going to vote, Cory Van Sloten, Pastor of Lebanon Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center, said in a statement that he feels Rubio is the best candidate to lead the nation going forward.

“As a Christian, a pastor, and a veteran, I believe Senator Rubio is best qualified to lead our nation for such a time as this,” Van Sloten argued.

In the press release, Eric Teetsel, the Rubio campaign’s director of faith outreach, praised the endorsers as having broad theological influence.

“Marco is honored that Christian leaders throughout the state representing a diverse array of theological traditions believe he is the best choice for president,” Teetsel, former of director of the social conservative advocacy group Manhattan Declaration, said.

Last Thursday, Rubio also picked up the endorsement of Rev. Tony Suarez, the executive vice president of the United States’ largest Hispanic evangelical organization, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Suarez praised Rubio’s ability to reach across the the political aisle as a “Reaganesque” characteristic that could help the GOP win the general election and presidency if he is the Republican nomination.

“As the Republican nominee, Senator Rubio is a man who can win the general election. Polls show that if pitted against presumed democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Senator Rubio presents the best option for the GOP. He is a true conservative, yet is also compassionate,” Suarez wrote in a statement shared with The Christian Post. “Senator Rubio has a broad appeal across race, age and gender— a clear distinction to Donald Trump, who brings the same divisiveness that we already see in Washington.”

Suarez, who also serves on the Evangelical Immigration Table principals board, indicated that he favors Rubio’s stances on immigration, abortion, religious liberty and relations with Israel.

“Washington has reached an impasse. Partisan politics and division has left our country without a way to move forward on real solutions to the problems we are facing,” Suarez wrote in a statement. “We need unifier who will stand for Christian values, strengthen our stance on the world stage, show compassion to those desiring to become a part of the fabric of American society, be a champion for life, and bless Israel.”

On Saturday, CP published an op-ed by Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and director of Evangelicals in Civic Life and Faith Angle Forum, where he explained he why he has endorsed Rubio.

“I support him for many reasons but here are a few,” Cromartie wrote. “his clear commitment to restoring America’s reputation and standing in the world, his plans to revitalize our national defense, his ‘Jack Kemp’ style commitment to elevating the lives of everyone via robust economic growth that promotes broad-based economic opportunity, to his firm but compassionate reset of our flawed immigration policies, and because of his inspirational and optimistic embodiment of the American spirit and story.”

Cromartie, who is an author and served six years on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, is inspired by Rubio’s consistent advocacy in the Senate for both domestic and international religious freedoms, pointing out Rubio’s opposition to the Obamacare HHS birth control mandate.

“Religious believers and advocates of religious liberty need an ally in the White House,” Cromartie wrote. “I believe the best candidate on this issue is Senator Marco Rubio.”

In an interview with The Christian Post earlier in January, Bob Vander Plaats, the leader of the Iowa social conservative organization FAMiLY Leader and a national co-chair of the Cruz campaign, argued that most of the evangelical support in Iowa is going to Cruz and any conservative evangelicals who vote for Rubio would help Trump win the Iowa Caucus and possibly bolster Trump to the GOP nomination.

Vander Plaats is included in a large group of influential national evangelical and social conservative leaders who are reportedly coalescing their support around Cruz.

“Marco has been trying to do [appeal to evangelicals] since he started running,” Vander Plaats explained. “There is a lot to like about Marco Rubio but any votes that go to Marco Rubio, go away probably from Ted Cruz. And if that is the case, he helps out Donald Trump at the expense of Ted Cruz. The same could be said for Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum or Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina. Although they are all good people, the votes that are going there are going there at the expense of Ted Cruz and benefiting Donald Trump.”
The LifeWay research shows that although 39 percent of Republican pastors are undecided about how they are going to vote for, 29 percent of Republican pastors said they intend to vote for Cruz over any other candidates, which is about three times as many Republican pastors who indicated that they would vote for Rubio or Carson.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/iowa-pastors-evangelical-leaders-endorse-marco-rubio-caucus-156358/#q4weZTushbm2BkEp.99

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Marco Rubio Is the Leader Our Country Needs

Washington has reached an impasse. Partisan politics and division has left our country without a way to move forward on real solutions to the problems we are facing.

Our next president needs to possess ‘Reaganesque’ abilities to reach across the aisle, working with both the House and Senate and modeling true leadership for this great nation. As my boss puts it, we need the candidate that is the convergence of Reagan and Jack Kemp. We need a unifier who will stand for Christian values, strengthen our stance on the world stage, show compassion to those desiring to become a part of the fabric of American society, be a champion for life, and bless Israel.
It is my personal belief that Senator Marco Rubio can be that type of leader, and I am proud to endorse Senator Marco Rubio to become the next President of the United States.

As the Republican nominee, Senator Rubio is a man who can win the general election. Polls show that if pitted against presumed democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Senator Rubio presents the best option for the GOP. He is a true conservative, yet is also compassionate. Senator Rubio has a broad appeal across race, age and gender — a clear distinction to Donald Trump, who brings the same divisiveness that we already see in Washington.

There are many points on which I agree with Senator Rubio. The first is on immigration. True, comprehensive immigration reform is 30 years overdue. I agree with Senator Rubio’s approach, which is balanced between national security and compassion for those who are already part of our society and living the proverbial American dream.

Senator Rubio has also been a champion for life and understands that to be truly pro-life is to value life from the womb to the tomb. He understands the need to protect the sanctity of life because all individuals, born and unborn, are created in the image of God, by God.

Another point of agreement is on religious freedom. Freedom of worship is a foundational pillar of our nation as well as the freedom to live according to one’s conviction without persecution for doing so. While our Founding Fathers adhered to Judeo Christian values, there was freedom for others to worship according to their faith narrative. The United States is a Christian nation who welcomes those of other faiths. On this fundamental truth, Rubio and I also agree.

Lastly, I believe Senator Rubio will continue our legacy of being a blessed nation by reaffirming and demonstrating our nation’s unbending support for Israel. I am a literalist when it comes to the Word of God. The Bible clearly states that God will bless those that bless Israel and curse those that curse Israel.
As Americans head to the polls to choose their candidates to move forward to the general election, I want to share my beliefs and convictions with those who might still be deciding which candidate to support. I believe Senator Marco Rubio is the leader our country needs.

 

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The anti-terror tool you never hear about

Nearly a third of the questions asked during the 22 presidential primary debates so far have been about foreign policy or national security, but moderators have not raised a single question about international development. Will debate no. 23 on Thursday night be the first to draw out candidates on this crucial element of U.S. influence abroad?

Our organization, ONE, reviewed the transcripts from all the debates to date and found a narrow foreign policy narrative and an incomplete snapshot of the candidates’ foreign policy plans.

In all, moderators have posed 1,087 questions of the candidates during this cycle’s main and undercard debates. Of those questions, 315 were on foreign policy or national security. But not one question addressed America’s global development strategy. Not one moderator asked about foreign aid or ending extreme poverty. Not one question explored the limited access to education of girls in the developing world. Not one question focused on the global fights against HIV/AIDS or malaria.

Instead, candidates have been asked what they would do about the Islamic State, or ISIL, well over 50 times. Spoiler alert: they all believe ISIL is bad and needs to be destroyed.

The burden here is not solely on debate moderators, though. Combined, the candidates have used just shy of 88,000 words to answer those 315 foreign policy questions in the debates so far. Only 232 of those words — a meager .26 percent — addressed global development. They came during a Democratic debate last November, when Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton briefly discussed investments in sustainable development to attack the root causes of dangerous instability and Clinton praised the efforts of aid workers overseas.
What military leaders know, but what candidates tend to forget, is that global development is an important part of America’s national security strategy.

“Development contributes to stability. It contributes to better governance,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates once said. “And if you are able to do those things and you’re able to do them in a focused and sustainable way, then it may be unnecessary for us to send soldiers.”

You don’t want a viral epidemic like Ebola to reach American shores again? Help poor countries build better local health systems.

You don’t want terrorists groups to grow and fester in power vacuums? Help developing countries build stronger economies and democratic institutions.

Fighting poverty and helping people in the world’s most vulnerable places makes our country more secure and is a key part of America’s national identity, here and overseas. That it has played such an insignificant part of this campaign is vexing.

Americans’ generosity saves lives each and every day, and it makes our country safer. As the primary campaign moves into this new stage, candidates for president should talk about that truth, and they should explain how they would work to end extreme poverty and stop the spread of preventable diseases like HIV/AIDS. They should talk about the incredible return on investment America gets for the less than 1% of the federal budget we spend on poverty-fighting foreign assistance.

Americans care about these issues. ONE members in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina have been showing up on rope lines and in town hall meetings for months encouraging the candidates to speak up. Some have, but most have yet to publicly discuss their plans for ending extreme poverty.
That should change. Just as Americans want a commander in chief knowledgeable about the deployment of our military strength, they deserve one fluent in the deployment of non-military influence.

Last fall, retired Marine Corps general and former National Security Adviser Jim Jones said, “support for development is a vital component of America’s national security strategy, and has been since the end of World War II. In today’s complex environment, development plus security and good governance equals stability.”

Why is it so difficult for those hoping to be our next commander in chief to say the same? Ending extreme poverty is directly relevant to the current threats to our country. Candidates’ foreign policy proposals should not be as one-dimensional as the primary debates have suggested.

No one should get to be president of the United States without publicly demonstrating an understanding and appreciation for the essential role that fighting poverty and stopping disease plays in securing America.

Tom Hart is the North American Executive Director for ONE, the global policy and advocacy organization cofounded by Bono to end extreme poverty and stop the spread of preventable diseases.

Original post can be read here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/02/24/foreign-aid-terror-fighting-tool-debates-no-questions-column/80822898/​

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Latino Conservatives Hope to Boost Marco Rubio in Texas Primary

HOUSTON – With two polls showing Ted Cruz’s double-digit leads in Texas over Marco Rubio, a string of conservative Hispanics hoped to give Rubio a boost with their endorsements.

Massey Villarreal, a Houston businessman and Republican donor, threw his support behind Rubio many weeks ago, before the New Hampshire primary.

But he has been working to gather more support for Rubio with other conservative Hispanics who object to the immigration views of Donald Trump and Cruz and believe Rubio is the only candidate who can win the Latino vote.
“There’s a movement afoot here in Texas to start circling the wagon to support Marco Rubio,” Villarreal said Thursday, just hours before the GOP candidates were to face off in a debate at University of Houston.

Villarreal told NBC News Latino that four of six GOP Hispanic state lawmakers planned to back Rubio publicly on Friday. The other two did not plan to endorse, he said.

A statewide Houston Public Media and University of Houston poll and a separate Monmouth University poll showed Cruz ahead in his home state. A winner who gets more than 50 percent of the vote could take all of Texas’ 155 delegates, but that is not expected to happen. In that case, the delegates will be divided proportionally.
Members of the Hispanic Conservative Roundtable, a group of GOP Latino leaders, planned a news conference here Friday with several leaders who were to endorse Rubio.

The news conference was to follow a closed-door meeting similar to ones held by the group in Boulder, Colorado and Las Vegas.

It was after the Boulder meeting that the group first publicly condemned Donald Trump, saying he was not a candidate they could support in their community. They later also publicly rebuked Cruz after a staffer told him his immigration plan regarding the 11 million people in the country illegally would be “attrition through enforcement,” which many considered similar to the self-deportation plan failed GOP candidate Mitt Romney proposed.

Villarreal said Rubio was someone Hispanics could at least “nudge” on the issue of immigration

The meeting was to include the Rev. Tony Suarez, executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, whose group included 40,000 Latino evangelical churches.

Original article can be read here: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/texas-conservatives-hope-boost-marco-rubio-texas-primary-n525876

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Conservative Hispanics back Rubio

A group of conservative Hispanics have thrown their support behind Marco Rubio and are asking other candidates to get out of the 2016 presidential race and back him too.

“Not only did we endorse Marco Rubio, we called on Ben Carson, Gov. [John] Kasich and Sen. [Ted] Cruz to drop out of the race and rally behind Marco,” Alfonso Aguilar, president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and a former official in the George W. Bush administration, told POLITICO on Friday.

“We think that Rubio can win the nomination, but we have too many candidates, and [Donald] Trump’s winning by default, and if they get out and rally behind Marco,” Rubio can beat Trump, he said. Rubio has the best chance of winning the general election, he added.
According to a statement, other conservative Hispanics backing Rubio include Massey Villarreal, co-chair of the Hispanic Conservative Roundtable and former chair of the National Republican Hispanic Assembly and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; the Rev. Tony Suarez, executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; and dozens of representatives from other organizations.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Aguilar’s group affiliation. It also included a reference to Mario Lopez and the Hispanic Leadership Fund backing Rubio, which was incorrect.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/02/conservative-hispanics-back-marco-rubio-219865#ixzz41Nruye5z

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Ted Cruz Forms Religious Liberty Advisory Council With Tony Perkins, Ryan Anderson, Samuel Rodriguez, Benham Bros.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced on Monday the formation of a 19-member “Religious Liberty Advisory Council” that will be chaired by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

The council was formed to help shape the Texas senator’s policies to best protect religious freedom and “reverse the unprecedented attacks on freedom both at home and abroad,” a press release shared with The Christian Post explained.

“Religious liberty is the top issue for Americans of faith in this election,” Cruz said in a statement. “People of faith must be free to live according to their convictions without being second-guessed or shut down by the federal government. Today I am proud to be joined by such a knowledgeable and committed group of leaders to advance our first freedom.”
Perkins will be joined on the council by other prominent evangelical religious freedom advocates, including Heritage Foundation senior fellows Ryan Anderson and William E. Simon, former HGTV stars Jason and David Benham, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Ken Blackwell.

“I am honored to join Ted Cruz’s Religious Liberty Advisory Council at such a critical time in the history of this nation,” Perkins, who is also the chair of the Pro-Lifers for Cruz coalition, said in a statement.

“Never before has religious freedom been more endangered than it is today under the policies of the Obama administration,” he continued. “We need a president who upon entering office will immediately begin reversing the damage done to our freedom to believe and our ability to live according to those beliefs.”

According to the release, Cruz has pledged that if he is elected president, he will instruct the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies on his first day in office to stop trampling on the religious liberties of American citizens through government coercion.

“Religious liberty is the first freedom guaranteed to Americans under the Constitution, and ensuring the protection of that right has been a priority my entire adult life,” Cruz asserted. “Increasingly, renegade government officials seek to coerce people of faith either to act in a manner that violates their faith or forfeit their career. When I am elected president, that will change. It is time for our liberties to be respected in Washington. The right to religious liberty built America, and denying that right is both un-American and morally wrong.”

Also named to the council are a number of pastors, including conservative San Diego megachurch pastor Jim Garlow, pastor Mark Harris from First Baptist Church in Charlotte, Bishop Harry Jackson from Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Rodriguez was also named as a member of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s religious freedom advisory board, and Anderson is also on Rubio’s marriage and family advisory board.

Additionally, pastor Steven Riggle from Grace Community Church in Houston, Texas, who was one of the five Houston pastors whose sermons were subpoenaed by Houston Mayor Annise Parker in 2014, was also named to Cruz’s advisory council.

To provide legal and educational expertise, a number of professors and lawyers were also named to the council, such as First Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackelford; Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University; and Carol Swain, political science and law professor at Vanderbilt University.

The press release adds that members’ inclusion in Cruz’s religious liberty council should not be considered endorsements for Cruz for president.

“While Ted has been effective on an array of national issues, he hasn’t strayed from his theme, which is that 2016 is going to be a ‘religious liberty election,'” Perkins added. “This continues to resonate with Americans, who open their newspapers every day to a new story of religious hostility. I am confident that Ted Cruz, who has spent his career defending religious liberty in the courts and in the Senate, can be trusted and is prepared to make freedom mean something again in America.”
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/ted-cruz-religious-liberty-advisory-council-tony-perkins-ryan-anderson-samuel-rodriguez-benham-brothers-158842/#qF4E0eU7fFvTTX5i.99

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Paige Patterson named to Cruz advisory council

A Southern Baptist Convention seminary president has been named to a Religious Liberty Advisory Council created by Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

Paige Patterson

Paige Patterson

Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, is part of a 19-member group announced Feb. 29 to guide policies to reverse what the Cruz campaign termed “unprecedented attacks on freedom both at home and abroad.”

“Religious liberty is the first freedom guaranteed to Americans under the Constitution, and ensuring the protection of that right has been a priority my entire adult life,” Cruz said in a campaign press release. “Increasingly, renegade government officials seek to coerce people of faith either to act in a manner that violates their faith or forfeit their career. When I am elected president that will change. It is time for our liberties to be respected in Washington. The right to religious liberty built America, and denying that right is both un-American and morally wrong.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, will serve as the council chair. Other members include entrepreneur brothers David and Jason Benham, who lost their HGTV television show after being criticized as anti-gay; religious broadcaster and longtime Southern Baptist pastorRichard Lee; Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., and past president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina; First Liberty Institute President and CEO Kelly Shackelford; and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

The news release says inclusion on the council should not be construed as endorsement. Patterson previously expressed admiration for the Texas senator in December after attending a private gathering with Cruz that Patterson described as “frankly, the finest presentation I ever heard from a candidate.” Door prizes at a recent Men’s Game Banquet on the Southwestern Seminary campus included a shotgun signed by Cruz.

Monday night Cruz capped his pre-Super Tuesday campaign with a rally at Houston Baptist University, a school aligned with both the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and Baptist General Convention of Texas and led by former Baylor University President Robert Sloan.

“Look, Houston is my home,” Cruz told reporters. “I’m a graduate of Second Baptist High School.”

Cruz said it was a thrill to “be here today at HBU with so many tremendous friends and supporters, so many people from Houston who backed my campaign when nobody thought it was a prayer.”

On Sunday Cruz attended services at Cross Church in Springdale, Ark., the congregation led by Southern Baptist Convention Ronnie Floyd.

According to local media, Floyd told churchgoers that Cross Church would welcome any candidate of any party to its services and that Cruz’ attendance was not to be construed as an endorsement. Cruz is a member in good standing of First Baptist Church in Houston, a Southern Baptist congregation.

Party frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the big winners on Super Tuesday, but Cruz won primary elections in Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska. The Washington Post dubbed Cruz March 2 as perhaps “the last, best hope for conservatives to stop Donald Trump.” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio won the Minnesota caucus, his first state thus far in the primary season.

Original article can be read here: https://baptistnews.com/2016/03/02/paige-patterson-named-to-cruz-advisory-council/

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Israel Huge Priority Among Hispanic Evangelicals and Jews in 2016 Elections

The Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition is inviting concerned voters to an event featuring leaders of some of the most important voter blocs in the 2016 election.

Speakers—including Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Mario Bramnick, President of the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition, Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Shimon Mercer-Wood, Consul for Media Affairs for the Consulate General of Israel in New York, will explain the importance of Israel to the influential Hispanic Evangelical demographic as they cast their votes in this election year.

The event will take place at the Hampton Inn Manhattan/United Nations on March 10 at 2:45 p.m. The hotel is located at 231 East 43rd Street in New York.

HICL is an arm of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the largest International Latino Christian organization in America and in the world, with millions of Hispanic Evangelicals.  The group’s vision is to engage the Latino Christians—the fastest growing ethnic and faith demographic in America and the western hemisphere—in the pro-Israel movement.

HILC is building a firewall against anti-Semitism and the Campaign to Delegitimize the Nation of Israel, raise awareness of the critical intersection of Israel and America’s future, and activate Hispanics as the most “Pro Israel, Pro Jewish” demographic.

HILC is also hosting two events open to the press on March 10: the Hispanic Pastors and Jewish Leadership breakfast at 9 a.m. with Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, 220 East 42nd Street, New York; and Night to Celebrate Israel at 7 p.m. with Rodriguez, Deputy Consul General Amir Sagie, Robert Stearns, Hoenlein, Susan Michael and Bramnick at El Rey Jesus Nueva York/King Jesus Ministry New York at 48-02 25th Avenue, Astoria, NY 10013.

Original article can be read here: http://www.charismanews.com/politics/primaries/55568-israel-huge-priority-among-hispanic-evangelicals-and-jews-in-2016-elections

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