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Election

Archbishop concerned as primaries head to New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester has joined other religious leaders in voicing concerns about the political rhetoric surrounding immigration as the presidential primary campaign heads to New Mexico.
Without mentioning any candidate by name, Wester said Monday that candidates who blame immigrants for the nation’s problems are diverting attention from other issues such as poverty and inequality.

“I think some of the rhetoric coming out of this campaign is deplorable,” said Wester, who heads the Catholic church in the state with the highest percentage of Latinos. “It’s scapegoating and targeting people like the immigrant, the refugee and the poor.”
New Mexico will hold its primary on June 7.
Wester said some of the immigration proposals by the candidates should alarm voters.

GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump has drawn the most scrutiny from immigration advocates for saying he would push for the mass deportation of an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally.

Trump also has said he would support requiring Muslims to register in a database and has vowed to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump has compared Mexican immigrants to rapists and drug dealers — a comparison that drew strong criticism from opponents and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a fellow Republican and the nation’s only Latina governor.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who heads the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said last week that Trump’s reference to murderers and rapists crossing the border was “demagoguery” that misrepresents the vast majority of immigrants in the country illegally.

In February, Pope Francis, the first pope from Latin America, declared that Donald Trump is “not Christian” if he wants to address illegal immigration only by building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Wester also said he hoped the issue surrounding refugees fleeing violence in Syria gets more attention as the presidential campaign moves toward the general election. He said various nonprofit groups and Catholic relief organizations are working to resettle the refugees.

Original post can be read here: http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Archbishop-concerned-as-primaries-head-to-New-7390077.php

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What Now? Latinos Feel Locked Out of GOP as Trump Nears Nomination

Donald Trump’s near lockup of the Republican nomination in Indiana is leaving some GOP Latinos feeling locked out of the GOP with nowhere to turn as others say they are still trying to absorb a Trump candidacy.

Soon after news rolled in that Ted Cruz was suspending his campaign, Houston businessman and GOP stalwart Massey Villarreal swore to NBC News Latino that he not only wouldn’t vote for Trump, “I will not encourage Latinos to vote for him.”

Republicans often quote Ronald Reagan saying, “Hispanics are Republicans, they just don’t know it.”

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Trump assesses the race after his Indiana win 18:06
But this election year, a more apt line may be “there are Latino Republicans, but the GOP doesn’t know it,” judging from the way many Hispanics were feeling Tuesday as it became clear Trump was the likely nominee.

“I’ve often thought, what is this party anymore?” Villarreal said. “It is not the party of Reagan. It’s the party of Trump and if it is the party of Trump, I’m not a Republican anymore.”

That doesn’t mean he’s a Democrat. He swore as certainly that he wouldn’t be voting for Hillary Clinton, who he expects to eventually be the Democratic nominee.

Political scientist Bernard Fraga, an assistant professor at Indiana University, said Hispanics have been leaving the GOP since 2006 and their departures accelerated in 2010 and 2012, brought on by party rhetoric and actions on immigration.
Add in Trump and the endorsement of Ted Cruz by former California Gov. Pete Wilson, who is synonymous in the community with the anti-immigrant Proposition 187 measure, “and you have the perfect storm for Latinos to depart in even greater numbers from the party” and for “Latinos who are still affiliating with the Republican Party to even stay home on Election Day,” Fraga said.

Rosario Marín, former U.S. treasurer and California businesswoman, was keeping her hopes up and hoped to continue to help John Kasich’s campaign in California. She’s was still hoping for a brokered convention Tuesday night.

“I’m going to be the one to try to continue to do the work I’ve been doing the last 30 years,” Marín said. “Should the little orange man (Trump) be the nominee, he doesn’t care if I don’t (work to get out Latino voters). He will go on and do his deal.”

Kasich spoke in a conference call with Latinos leaders on Tuesday evening a couple of hours before Trump was announced the winner in Indiana. Those on the call included Marín, Villarreal; Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Roger Rocha, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens; Eric Rodriguez of the National Council of La Raza; Tony Suarez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Sarah Maestas Barnes, a New Mexico state lawmaker.

Kasich asked for their support moving forward, an attempt at keeping Trump from reaching the 1,237 delegates he needed to be the nominee, those on the call said. By Tuesday, however there were reports that he was suspending his camapaign.

The USHCC has already endorsed Kasich and the chamber’s president Javier Palomarez said it would stick with him, until he suspended his campaign.

Even without Trump, selling the Republican Party brand in the Latino community has been a challenge, said Mike Madrid, a California GOP strategist and principal at Grassroots Lab.

“It’s going to become exponentially more difficult,” he said. Voting for Hillary Clinton is “not an option” for him, he said.

He and others warned that the disenchantment shouldn’t be taken by Democrats as an automatic turnout by Latinos for its nominee.
Palomarez warned that Latinos still face the challenge of consistent underperformance at the polls. In this election, they will be challenged by a Trump base that has shown up in large numbers at the polls.

Republicans are more willing to go vote than Hispanics, he said, and if Latinos don’t turn out, instead of being the gatekeeper to the White House, they are going to be a welcoming committee, he said.

Fraga warned that as Latinos leave the party, the GOP could rebuild the party around Trump, and moderates and Latino Republicans conducive to immigration reform could be pushed out of office.

“What if that’s the fate of the party, people who are very extreme and they rebuild that party on that basis on a Trump nomination,” Fraga asked.

So what then do Latinos committed to their brand of conservatism do next?

“I think first you have to go through the stages of grief,” Madrid said. “You have to acknowledge what it really means and how profound it is. Some will stay engaged, some will leave and some will find a new middle direction.”

Hector Medina, a volunteer Republican precinct chair in Bexar County, said the 2nd Amendment is a top issue for him and “but I don’t know whether to trust Trump on that.”

“I’ll be put in a position where, ok, I’ll support Trump,” Medina said. “I’ll have to vote for the lesser of two evils (in the general) and I don’t want Hillary and I don’t trust Bernie (Sanders) either.”

Marco Rodriguez had hoped that Cruz would battle on to California and was disappointed Tuesday that he had dropped out of the race.

“I thought he might go on for the big convention fight, whether he won or lost, for the good of our party and more importantly for the good of our country, I have fought for for so many years,” said Rodriguez, a retired Marine. “I pray that my misgivings about Trump are wildly wrong.”

Despite those misgivings, he said he’d still vote for Trump over Clinton or Sanders.

For many Latinos active in the party, there will be a more focus on the community and less on partisan politics, Madrid said.

“We grew up in the grassroots of community, not in the Republican or Democratic Party,” Villarreal said.

The focus for many Latinos in the GOP who don’t support Trump will be on working down ballot in local communities to elect mayors, county supervisors, school board members who believe in the core issues that GOP Latinos support, but who are not necessarily running on a partisan ticket.

They may be candidates who support charter schools or whose policies benefit blue collar workers in industries where Latinos work.

Villarreal said GOP Latinos also will be working on behalf of members of the House and Senate who are “mindful” of the Latino community.

“You don’t just pick up your marbles and go away,” Madrid said. “We’ll go fight where we can win.”

Orginal article can be read here: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/what-now-latino-republicans-feel-locked-out-trump-win-n567646

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With Cruz out, Social Conservative Leaders Rethink Trump

With their champion, Sen. Ted Cruz, now out of the presidential race, groups opposing abortion and same-sex marriage say they’ll bide their time and warily assess Donald Trump before deciding whether to back him as the Republican nominee.

During months of campaigning, Trump has made some statements about abortion and gay rights that pleased social conservatives and others that unsettled them. That inconsistency, coupled with various liberal-leaning comments he made in past years, has deprived Trump of an enthusiastic embrace by the social conservative camp.

Now, with Trump the presumptive GOP nominee, there are recalculations being made by activist leaders who had backed Cruz, such as Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council.

“I endorsed Ted Cruz because of his clarity and conviction on issues that are central to our mission,” said Perkins “Now I’m going to step back and see what Donald Trump says.”

Two critical factors for Perkins: Who Trump picks as a running mate and what signals he sends about how he’d vet future judicial nominees.

Perkins also said that Trump — if he wants to solidify support from social conservatives — should study up on the details of their views.

“He needs to surround himself with people who understand these issues, and he needs to listen to them. I’ll be watching who he brings around him,” Perkins said.

Similar caution was voiced by Cruz supporter Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. The group was a major player in the unsuccessful campaign to prevent the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage.

“We will take our time to assess options and determine whether Mr. Trump is willing to engage in a discussion of the importance of these issues,” Brown said in an email.

Trump’s mixed commentary on gay rights issues has irked activists on both the left and right. For example, he has expressed misgivings about a North Carolina law curtailing rights protections for LGBT people, and he has also faulted the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that struck down state bans on same-sex marriage.

Among the statements that troubled many conservatives was Trump’s comment in a TV interview that women getting illegal abortions should be punished. He quickly backtracked after sharp criticism from anti-abortion activists who said it undercut their efforts to empathize with women while targeting abortion providers with restrictive laws.

The Susan B. Anthony List was among the anti-abortion groups assailing Trump. Said its president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, last month, “Each pronouncement Mr. Trump makes on the issue of life seemingly must be corrected by someone 15 minutes later.”

Dannenfelser, who was impressed by Cruz, is now open to backing Trump if he holds the anti-abortion line on three issues — defunding Planned Parenthood, supporting federal legislation that would ban most late-term abortions, and selecting federal judges who’d carry on the legacy of conservative Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court justice.

“There is no question that we have been and will remain vigilant,” Dannenfelser said in regard to Trump. “But he has given us commitments … We are cautiously optimistic he’ll stay steadfast.”

Another major anti-abortion organization, National Right to Life, had supported Cruz in the primaries. As of Thursday, it had not indicated publicly whether it would back Trump, though its president, Carol Tobias, noted that the group — like others in the social conservative realm — was opposed to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

One prominent abortion opponent — economics professor Michael New of Ave Maria University — went public with a tweet this week urging some leading Republican to launch a campaign against Trump now that Cruz and John Kasich have dropped out.

New, who employed the hashtag NeverTrumpForever, said he questioned Trump’s ability “to articulate the pro-life position in an attractive manner.” He also expressed doubts that Trump would nominate judges who would uphold anti-abortion laws.

Back in late February, when his campaign was thriving, Cruz formed a religious liberty advisory council and named 19 prominent social conservatives to serve on it, with Tony Perkins as the chairman.

Among its members was Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of the Texas-based First Liberty Institute.

Shackelford says he’s now open to supporting Trump, depending on how he handles one specific issue — the selection of judicial nominees for the Supreme Court and other federal courts with a view toward protecting religious freedom.

“I didn’t have any doubt about the type of justices Ted Cruz would appoint,” Shackelford said. “I haven’t had any interaction with Donald Trump or his team, but if he’s committed to solid judicial appointments, he’ll get my support.”

Another member of the Cruz advisory council was the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, pastor at a church in Sacramento, California, and president of the evangelical National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Rodriguez said he would expect Trump to endorse “a pro-life, pro-family, religious liberty, and immigration reform agenda.”

“To date Donald Trump’s comments about immigration have been inflammatory, impractical and unhelpful,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “Now that he is the presumptive nominee, we call upon him to immediately stop rhetorical commentary he has previously used that discredits groups, including Latino immigrants.”

Original article can be read here: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/cruz-social-conservative-leaders-rethink-trump-38906256

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Trump Should ‘Heal the Hurt’ Caused by ‘Inflammatory’ Rhetoric About Latinos, Samuel Rodriguez Says

The evangelical Hispanic vote is up for grabs, Samuel Rodriguez says, but Donald Trump would need to “heal the hurt” of his “inflammatory” statements to gain their support.

Trump, presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican party, continues to make waves with social media provocations, one of the latest being a photo of himself about to eat a taco bowl with the following caption: “Happy Cinco de Mayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”

Seen as highly offensive by some and amusing by others, much is now being made of his ability to win over Hispanic votes in the general election. Will he be able to do so in light of not just this recent post but his past inflammatory statements on immigration and border security issues?

And what of the support of Hispanic evangelicals?

An internal survey recently taken of members of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference revealed that Hispanic evangelicals remain undecided. No candidate from either party has a lock on their support and more than one-third of those polled claimed that there is no one who clearly represents them at this point in the race. The respondents also noted that the candidate’s policies mattered more to them than rhetoric.

In a statement released last Wednesday, NHCLC President Samuel Rodriguez said that this “tells us that evangelical Hispanics are still making up their minds,” and that it “is good news for the remaining candidates who will need their support in a general election, but will have to earn it.” Rodriguez also added that it is time for Donald Trump to “put action to his words and attempt to heal the hurt and damage his previous statements have caused.”

“To date Donald Trump’s comments about immigration have been inflammatory, impractical and unhelpful,” Rodriguez said. “Now that he is the presumptive nominee, we call upon him to immediately stop rhetorical commentary he has previously used that discredits groups, including Latino immigrants, and start discussing and offering real, productive solutions for comprehensive immigration reform.”

In his Indiana primary victory speech, Donald Trump spoke of making American a “beautiful and loving country.”

If indeed he aims to do that, says Rodriguez, “he must personally begin by treating all — black, white, Latino, male and female — as they deserve to be treated. For at the end of the day, every individual is made in the image of God and merits love and respect.”

Last September, CNN reported that a whopping 82% of Hispanics viewed Donald Trump unfavorably. Recent polls suggest that little has changed. Just last Thursday the Insquistr reported that because of these high unfavorables with Hispanics, even Washington long-timers like Arizona Senator John S. McCain might not be reelected in what was previously thought to be safe territory for Republicans.

“If Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket, here in Arizona, with over 30 percent of the vote being the Hispanic vote, no doubt that this may be the race of my life,” McCain said, in a recording of the event obtained by Politico. “If you listen or watch Hispanic media in the state and in the country, you will see that it is all anti-Trump. The Hispanic community is roused and angry in a way that I’ve never seen in 30 years.”

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/trump-heal-the-hurt-inflammatory-rhetoric-latino-hispanic-samuel-rodriguez-163656/#emKBHc46Kgtgbb1a.99

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Donald Trump’s Feud With Evangelical Leader Reveals Fault Lines

Donald Trump escalated his fight with Washington’s evangelical leaders on Monday by attacking the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm. “Russell Moore is truly a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!” Trump tweeted.

The fight between Moore and Trump has been brewing for months, and now it is exposing deep fault lines in the evangelical community over the presumptive GOP nominee.

Moore is the head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the denomination’s public policy office. He took over the post in 2013 following the long tenure of conservative hardliner Richard Land, and while Moore is committed to the traditional social conservative issues like abortion and marriage, he also has pushed to expand the platform, advocating for immigration reform and racial justice, especially in the face of poverty, police brutality, and mass incarceration.

Trump’s direct attack comes three days after Moore wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, “A White Church No More,” that directly called out Trump by name for a campaign that “has cast light on the darkness of pent-up nativism and bigotry all over the country.” Moore pointed out that the evangelical church in the U.S. is no longer the “old white precinct captains in Iowa,” or the “old, white television evangelists.”

“The next Billy Graham probably will speak only Spanish or Arabic or Persian or Mandarin,” Moore wrote. “The man on the throne in heaven is a dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking ‘foreigner’ who is probably not all that impressed by chants of ‘Make America great again.’”

Moore responded Monday to Trump’s attack by tweeting a passage from the Old Testament, where God’s prophet Elijah stands up to the enemy king Ahab whose people followed false gods. “You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals,” Elijah says in the Bible, before the God of Israel rains down fire to show his power.

Trump supporters jumped in to attack Moore on social media for his leadership of the Evangelical Immigration Table, a platform for immigration reform signed by hundreds of influential evangelical leadersthat includes a path to citizenship or legal status for those who qualify. Moore is a leader of the group along with presidents of the National Association of Evangelicals, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, and evangelical humanitarian relief organizations.

For decades the golden rule of Republican politics has been that winning over social conservative evangelicals, like Moore, is a necessary strategy for a White House win. Now that group and its leadership is split—half of white evangelicals think Trump would make a good or great president, according to the Pew Research Center. Moore came out early this cycle as a #NeverTrump voter, and he has been urging evangelicals to vote for neither nominee if he or she is “morally disqualified,” including Trump, for his comments on race.

Some evangelical leaders are coming to Moore’s defense. “An attack on Russell Moore is an attack on the entire evangelical community,” Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and a leader of the Evangelical Immigration Table, says. “White evangelicals alone can never and will never elected Donald J. Trump. Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore.”

Mark DeMoss, evangelical public relations executive and former Mitt Romney adviser, recently resigned from the board of trustees of the evangelical Liberty University following his disagreement with Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Trump endorsement. “Scorched earth name-calling, insulting and demagoguing does not seem to me to be the way to build a winning general election coalition,” DeMoss says. “Russell Moore thoughtfully represents views and attitudes of millions of people of faith in the country; it is one thing to disagree with him, another thing altogether to be dismissive of him.”

Tim Blackmon, the chaplain of the evangelical Wheaton College in Illinois,defended Moore on Twitter: “this reminds me of Pierre Trudeau’s quip: ‘I’ve been called worse things by better people.’”

But the influence of a Trump protest from evangelical leaders like Moore remains to be seen. “I’m not sure of the actual material affect,” says Johnnie Moore (no relation to Russell Moore), a National Association of Evangelicals board member who is pushing an initiative to get 25 million evangelicals to the polls in November. “Dr. Moore is much more influential among younger envangelicals than older evangelicals … Young evangelicals, they don’t rally to the other side; they just protest by not acting.”

Evangelical leaders are also far from politically united, and Southern Baptists do not vote as a block. Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist pastor of the 12,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, has been very supportive of the presumptive Republican nominee. “Russell Moore has launched numerous vitriolic attacks not only against Trump’s policies but about his own character and integrity,” Jeffress says. “No one should be surprised that Trump would respond to such attacks.”

“This is unprecedented what Russell Moore has done, and I believe there are many people who are not sympathetic with his views toward Trump,” he adds. “While Moore is a respected leader in the Southern Baptist Convention, he absolutely does not speak for all Southern Baptists even as I don’t speak for all Southern Baptists. There are no Southern Baptist Popes.”

Original article can be read here: http://time.com/4323009/donald-trump-southern-baptist-russell-moore-evangelicals-christianity/

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Donald Trump’s ‘nasty guy with no heart’ attack on Russell Moore seen backfiring on ‘master of insults’

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump struck back at evangelical leader Russell Moore on Monday, calling him a “nasty guy with no heart,” after the latter compared his presidential run to “reality television moral sewage” a day earlier.

However, Trump’s insulting words appeared to have backfired on him. Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist cites three reasons why the attack by the “master of insults” failed.

First, Trump was way off the mark in describing Moore as a “nasty guy.” Although his insulting name tags on some people may have “an air of truth”—like “failed Mitt Romney,” “little Marco Rubio,” “crooked Hillary Clinton” and “sexist Bill Clinton”—there is no truth whatsoever in labelling Moore a “nasty guy,” Hemingway says.

This is because “Moore is a wonderful representative of evangelicals and all the good they stand for,” Hemingway says, adding that on the contrary, the well respected theologian is “unfailingly kind and generous.”

Second, by attacking Moore, Trump “missed an opportunity to build bridges with the evangelical community still terrified by the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency,” according to Hemingway.
Third, what Trump said—”a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!”—”is a much better description of Trump’s current persona than Moore,” Hemingway says.

She says the contrast between the two men is glaring. While Trump struggles when discussing his religious faith, Moore “has explained evangelicalism — including its views most at odds with secular culture — in every mainstream newspaper and on every news show.”

The conflict between Trump and Moore has been brewing for months and Monday’s verbal exchange appeared to have exacerbated it, “exposing deep fault lines in the evangelical community” over Trump, according to TIME magazine.

What Trump did, according to TIME, broke the decades-old “golden rule of Republican politics … that winning over social conservative evangelicals, like Moore, is a necessary strategy for a White House win.”

Trump’s attack also exposed the division in the evangelical community. According to the Pew Research Center, half of white evangelicals think Trump would make a good or great president.

But some evangelical leaders think otherwise and have come to Moore’s defense. “An attack on Russell Moore is an attack on the entire evangelical community,” said Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “White evangelicals alone can never and will never elect Donald J. Trump. Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore,” he added.

Mark DeMoss, evangelical public relations executive, said, “Scorched earth name-calling, insulting and demagoguing does not seem to me to be the way to build a winning general election coalition.”

“Russell Moore thoughtfully represents views and attitudes of millions of people of faith in the country; it is one thing to disagree with him, another thing altogether to be dismissive of him,” said DeMoss, who recently resigned from the board of trustees of the evangelical Liberty University following his disagreement with Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Trump.

However, Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist pastor of the 12,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, defended Trump against his fellow Southern Baptist leader. “Russell Moore has launched numerous vitriolic attacks not only against Trump’s policies but about his own character and integrity,” Jeffress said. “No one should be surprised that Trump would respond to such attacks.”

Original article can be read here: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/donald.trumps.nasty.guy.with.no.heart.attack.on.russell.moore.seen.backfiring.on.master.of.insults/85782.htm

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Samuel Rodriguez Wants to Meet With Donald Trump

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, has asked for a meeting with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to discuss issues important to the members of his organization.

Rodriguez, who also serves as lead pastor of New Season Church in Sacramento, California, said he wants to come to the table with Trump to discuss “comprehensive immigration solutions,” including “secure borders.” However, the leader of one of the world’s largest Latino evangelical organizations also wants to discuss “the millions of hard-working Latino immigrants who call the United States their home.”

“To date, Donald Trump’s comments about immigration have been inflammatory, impractical and unhelpful,” Rodriguez said. “Now that he is the presumptive nominee, we call upon him to immediately stop rhetorical commentary he has previously used that discredits groups, including Latino immigrants, and start discussing and offering real, productive solutions for comprehensive immigration reform.”

Rodriguez said that in his victory speech following the Indiana primary, Trump spoke of reaching out to the Hispanic community, and that “now is the time to put action to his words” and attempt to heal the hurt and damage his previous statements have caused.

“If Trump truly wants to make America ‘a beautiful and loving country,’ then he must personally begin by treating all—black, white, Latino, male and female—as they deserve to be treated. For at the end of the day, every individual is made in the image of God and merits love and respect,” he said. “As we continue down the path in choosing our next president, may we remember that our great nation’s future depends not on one man or one woman, but rather God.”

Rodriguez said Hispanic evangelicals are “still in play” for the 2016 election, noting a recent internal survey of NHCLC members shows that, when asked which candidate they would vote for today, no one candidate had clear support. More than one-third of those polled claimed that no one candidate clearly represented them at this point in the race, and that policy is more important than rhetoric.

“This tells us that evangelical Hispanics are still making up their minds,” he said. “This is good news for the remaining candidates who will need their support in a general election, but will have to earn it.”

Original post can be read here: http://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/57088-samuel-rodriguez-wants-to-meet-with-donald-trump

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Rival visions highlight evangelical split over Trump’s presidential candidacy

Christian evangelicals are increasingly divided over Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.

The leader of American Renewal Project, a conservative Christian organization, wrote to 100,000 pastors asking them to support Trump, in the same week that the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference openly criticized him.

“The choice facing America is not the lesser of two evils, but who will inflict the least damage to freedom and liberty,” said David Lane, the leader of the American Renewal Organization, according to the Washington Post.

“Between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, this is an easy choice. What and how will Mr Trump do? I don’t have a clue. But with Hillary we do know, the progressives that she will stack on the Supreme Court alone will set-back America for a century. …Codifying transgender bathrooms rights will only be the beginning of nine unelected and unaccountable justices imposing a godless agenda, tearing America apart brick-by-brick.”

American Renewal is a conservative Christian organization that encourages evangelicals to engage with politics.
His message of support contrasts with that of Rev Samuel Rodriguez, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Rodgriguez has asked to meet with Trump to discuss issues he has with his presidential campaign, including immigration, the border with Mexico and the “millions of hard-working Latino immigrants” who live in the United States.

“To date, Donald Trump’s comments about immigration have been inflammatory, impractical and unhelpful,” Rodriguez told Charisma News.

“Now that he is the presumptive nominee, we call upon him to immediately stop rhetorical commentary he has previously used that discredits groups, including Latino immigrants, and start discussing and offering real, productive solutions for comprehensive immigration reform.”

If he has any hope of gaining voters in the Hispanic community, Rodriguez said Trump needed to engage positively with the community:

“If Trump truly wants to make America ‘a beautiful and loving country’, then he must personally begin by treating all –black, white, Latino, male and female – as they deserve to be treated. For at the end of the day, every individual is made in the image of God and merits love and respect,” he said.

“As we continue down the path in choosing our next president, may we remember that our great nation’s future depends not on one man or one woman, but rather God.”

Trump has also drawn criticism from the head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Russell Moore, who said that opposition to the mogul would put evangelicals on “the right side of Jesus”.

“The man on the throne in heaven is a dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking ‘foreigner’ who is probably not all that impressed by chants of ‘Make America great again’,” said Moore in an op-ed for the New York Times.

Original post can be read here: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/rival.visions.highlight.evangelical.split.over.trumps.presidential.candidacy/85838.htm?email=1

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Should Christians vote for Donald Trump?

For many Christians – Donald Trump is like a bucket of store-bought chicken at a Wednesday night church supper. It may be a culinary heresy – but folks will still eat it.

That’s the best case scenario for the Trump campaign as they try to woo wary Evangelical Christians. Many are still not convinced that the man who has had more wives than there are letters to the Corinthians shares their view from the pew.

It’s not just the #NeverTrump crowd that is causing the campaign to worry. It’s the unknown number of Evangelicals who may stay home on Election Day.

A popular quote by the renowned pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon has been trending on social networking websites.

“Of two evils choose none,” Spurgeon once said.

The latest headlines on the 2016 elections from the biggest name in politics. See Latest Coverage →

But is that really our best and only option – to throw in the towel? Do Christians get to claim the moral high ground by electing President Hillary Clinton?

“The idea of not voting – you’re sacrificing your Christian worldview on the altar of political expediency,” said Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “It is silly to talk about not voting for either candidate. Every single Christian should vote.”

Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said Christians need to take a stand in 2016.

“You don’t just stay home and not vote – you vote,” Graham told me. “Vote for the candidates that best support Biblical truth and Biblical values.”

But what if your candidate is not exactly an altar boy in good standing?

“In some races, it may not always be clear,” Graham said. “You may have to hold your nose and choose of the two.”

So what are Lutheran church ladies and Baptist deacons and Church of God Sunday school teachers supposed to do? Should Christians vote for Donald Trump?

I decided to assemble an all-star panel to address that question. I reached out to Franklin Graham, Samuel Rodriguez, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary.

“Can a Christian vote for Donald Trump running against Hillary Clinton? I would say yes,” Dr. Land told me. “Is it okay for Christians to vote for Donald Trump? That’s a decision for each individual Christian to make for himself or herself.”

Land told me he plans to “vote against Hillary Clinton and I don’t believe in third party candidates.”

“I’m perturbed – deeply perturbed that  I’m presented with such a lousy choice but that’s who the American people have selected,” he told me. “I suspect I am not alone among my fellow Americans in saying that I will cast my vote with no joy.”

But that’s the key – actually voting on Election Day.

“I will vote my Christian values,” Rodriguez said. “It’s life, the family ethos, it’s religious liberty, it’s limited government. That’s the person I’m going to vote for.”

Rodriquez conceded that the 2016 candidates are not his “dream team” – but he’s only concerned about one issue – the Supreme Court.

“I’m going to vote for protecting the Supreme Court from judges that are activists – that run counter to our Judeo-Christian value system.”

Huckabee, who was a preacher before he was a politician, has been a supporter of Trump. And he’s also been mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate.

He told me Christians can and should vote for Trump.

“I’m not going to try and suggest that Donald Trump is in any way the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul,” Huckabee said. “But he’s been very open to not only dialogue with – but listen to and understand where many people in the faith community are coming from.”

He predicted Trump, if elected, would have a very strong relationship with Evangelicals.

“Donald Trump could well be a great president for those of us who are Evangelicals,” Huckabee told me.

Besides, Huckabee pointed out, the Republicans have nominated people who are far more contemptuous of the Evangelical community.

Anybody remember Sen. John McCain’s infamous “agents of intolerance” rhetoric?  In 2000, McCain said parts of the religious right were divisive and even un-American – in reporting by The New York Times.

So what’s a good Christian to do?

Pray, Graham said.

He’s been leading prayer gatherings outside capitol buildings in all 50 states. Tens of thousands of Americans have attended the “Decision America” events.

“”We aren’t supporting political candidates,” he said. “I’m encouraging Christians to vote. The problem in our country today is that we have allowed the progressive to take God out of our government. We have allowed godless secularism to take control of Washington.”

Land suggested Trump could win over Evangelicals by offering a few olive branches – like naming Sen. Ted Cruz as his pick to the Supreme Court.

“That would help pro-lifers a lot,” Land told me. “Ted would be easy to confirm, too. A lot of senators would vote for him just to get him out of the Senate. Mitch McConnell might lead the fight.”

That’s true.

“If he picked an Evangelical as his running mate – that would help, too,” he added.

To be honest, though, Donald Trump could walk the aisle at a Billy Graham Crusade, while waving a King James Bible and singing “Amazing Grace” and it still wouldn’t be enough to convince the holier-than-thou club.

And for all you folks quoting Spurgeon – I would offer this rebuttal: not to vote is to vote.

Original post can be read here: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/05/12/should-christians-vote-for-donald-trump.html

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U.S. elections 2016: If it ends up Trump vs. Clinton, over 25% of born-again Christians are ready to skip voting

An ongoing interactive “polling explorer” by Reuters news agency indicated that as of Friday, May 13, 25.9 percent of “born again Christians” will neither vote for Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton, and will vote for a third candidate or abstain from voting instead.

With the “born-again Christian” filter applied for the May 13 Reuters polling, Trump was favoured by 43 percent of 422 respondents while Clinton registered 30.8 percent.

However, without any filter, the polling results showed Clinton getting the vote of 38.1 percent of the respondents while Trump had 34 percent. The “Other/wouldn’t vote/refused” sector registered 27.9 percent.

The Reuters online page shows the respondents’ choice for president, if the 2016 presidential election was between Trump and Clinton.

Viewing the results, users can filter responses by several different demographic factors, like race, age, socioeconomic status, etc.

Relevant Magazine isolated the results to include only those who identify as “born again Christians.” This resulted in the 25.9 percent figure mentioned earlier.

Moreover, that percentage appears to be climbing, according to the magazine.

“It’s starting to look like the angst among some Christian voters surrounding the 2016 election could end up being a major factor,” Relevant Magazine quipped.

Meanwhile, Todd Starnes, the host of “Fox News & Commentary,” noted that the Trump campaign is worried not just by the #NeverTrump crowd but also by the unknown number of evangelicals who may stay home on Election Day, Charisma News reports.

He also noted a trending quote made by renowned Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon who said, “Of two evils choose none.”

“But is that really our best and only option—to throw in the towel? Do Christians get to claim the moral high ground by electing President Hillary Clinton?” Starnes asked.

Starnes collected the views of a number of renowned Christian leaders on the matter.

“It is silly to talk about not voting for either candidate. Every single Christian should vote,” according to Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

“You don’t just stay home and not vote—you vote for the candidates (who) best support biblical truth and biblical values,” said Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

“But what if your candidate is not exactly an altar boy in good standing?” Starnes asked.

“In some races, it may not always be clear,” Graham replied. “You may have to hold your nose and choose of the two.”

“Is it OK for Christians to vote for Donald Trump? That’s a decision for each individual Christian to make for himself or herself,” said Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary.

Land said he plans to “vote against Hillary Clinton, and I don’t believe in third-party candidates.”

He added that he’s “deeply perturbed that I’m presented with such a lousy choice, but that’s who the American people have selected.”

Original article can be read here: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/u.s.elections.2016.if.it.ends.up.trump.vs.clinton.over.25.of.born.again.christians.are.ready.to.skip.voting/86112.htm

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