Evangelical Leaders Mistaken: Latino Immigrants Not Hard-Wired Conservatives
The New York Times recently featured a piece on evangelical leaders and their support for the Rubio amnesty bill.
This bill violates any number of evangelical principles such as equality under the law, accountability for unlawful choices, respect for sovereign borders, and self-reliance. That’s why it is so surprising to see so many evangelical leaders abandon these principles en masse to jump on board the amnesty train.
Many of the evangelical leaders who make up the Evangelical Immigration Table are men I respect and admire. On the immigration issue, however, they are just plain wrong. So consider this an intramural discussion among members of the same team.
In the Times piece, one evangelical leader was quoted to the effect that evangelicals must support amnesty because it “respects the God-given dignity of every person.” In essence, what this leader is saying is that respecting another person requires you to reward them for breaking the law. This, of course, is absurd.
In fact, respecting the God-given dignity of every person means quite the opposite: it means believing that every human being is a free moral agent who has the capacity, with God’s help, to obey the law and provide for themselves, and can and should be held accountable for their choices. To think otherwise actually shows a lack of respect for their God-given capacities.
Speaking of illegal immigrants, this leader also says, “They’re social conservatives, hard-wired to be pro-family, religious and entrepreneurial.” Yet the illegitimacy rate in the Hispanic community is well north of 50%, and the Heritage Foundation has indicated that the average illegal alien has just a 10th grade education and is therefore a low-skilled worker who will consume far more in welfare benefits than he pays in taxes. I don’t have a trained eye, but the facts simply don’t support the “socially conservative entrepreneur” meme.
Another evangelical leader says that “the Latino community coming in, both legally and illegally generally possess a value system that is compatible with America’s value system.” Again, this statement seems ludicrous on its face. Since when is illegality a part of America’s value system? This point of view seems in fact to be dangerously un-American.
In terms of even religious compatibility, a national organization of Latino Protestants deliberately avoided use of the term “evangelical” “so the media won’t identify us with our white brethren.” So much for assimilation, and so much for America as a color-blind melting pot.
The Times writer inadvertently reveals how out of phase Latino Protestants are with classic American values such as self-reliance, private charity, and free enterprise. She claims that Latinos believe that being “pro-life” does not mean saving the life of unborn babies, which is what evangelicals understand the term to mean. Rather, on the lips of Latinos it means “combating social injustice and reining in capitalism.” In other words, when Latinos use the term “pro-life,” they are not talking about unborn babies at all but rather about Marxist ideology.
Researchers at the polling organization Latino Decisions wrote in 2011, “Minority citizens prefer a more energetic government, by large and statistically significant margins.” In other words, Hispanic immigrants love bigger and bigger government and more and more government programs. They are decidedly not, as evangelicals largely are, supporters of smaller, less intrusive and less expensive government. In other words, if Latinos are hard-wired to be anything, they’re hard-wired to be liberal Democrats. That’s why 71% of Latinos voted for President Obama, and are likely to vote left for decades to come.
If evangelicals think that amnesty will magically transform Hispanics into conservative voters, they need only learn from history. Ronald Reagan granted outright amnesty, no conditions, in 1986 after receiving 37% of the Latino vote. His successor, George H.W. Bush, received just 30% of the Latino vote in 1988. There was simply no loyalty or electoral gratitude there.
Peter Cha of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School confesses that “most international students…when it comes to socioeconomic issues and globalization…are quite progressive.” In other words, they are not hard-wired to be conservatives at all.
The conclusion is inescapable: if evangelicals slide toward a worldview that embraces amnesty for illegal immigrants, they will have to drift away from America’s founding principles to do it and drift into the orbit of Marxism.
And the evangelical base knows it. One of the striking things about this wholesale lurch to the left on immigration by evangelical leaders is how out of touch they are with the people in the pew. One evangelical leader quoted in the Times piece admits as much. He says, “Leaders are usually ahead of the laity – that’s called leadership.”
Well, as the saying goes, if you think you’re leading but nobody’s following, you’re just taking a walk. And I’m afraid that my evangelical colleagues are out for a lonely stroll on this one.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio, or JanMorganMedia.com.)