"This is the watershed movement -- its the moment where either we really forge relationships with the white evangelical church that will last for decades, or there is a possibility of a definitive schism here," said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which serves 10,700 Hispanic evangelical churches with 15 million members.
"There will be church ramifications to this, and there will be political ramifications," he said.
Mark Krikorian wonders how the numbers claimed for this organization make sense. I wonder whether this is a good way of building bridges.
Heres a letter from some evangelical leaders to President Bush and members of Congress. Heres my weekly TAE Online piece, which deals with the politics and political principles of the religious intervention in the immigration debate.
I didnt put it this way, but probably should have: the language of the religious intervenors is properly pastoral, prophetic, and universalistic, but it can too easily be understood to mask an immediate concern for "our people." Rev. Rodriguezs statement, quoted above, is simply the most blatant example of this. In the past immigrant churches have been ethnic and pastoral, but have also worked for the integration of parishioners and congregants into the mainstream of American life. This is a fine line thats hard to tread. Are the churches still committed to trying? Do they have the skills to succeed?
In Christ there is neither Anglo nor Latino...and in America there should only be Americans.
I shouldnt have to say this, but I will: I dont mean to define "American" in 19th century WASP terms, but rather in terms of a common commitment to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, to responsible participation and integration in the community, society, and polity, which ultimately requires learning English, as well as U.S. history. Integration must inevitably change those who join, and it will change the country they join. (I say this as the son of relatively recent immigrants, both of whom are proud Americans, and as one whose first language was not English.)