By Bryan Fischer
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer,
on Facebook at “Focal Point”
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
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
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.)