I recently criticized the leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals [NAE], which claims to represent 40 denominations with memberships totaling 30 million, for coming out strongly for amnesty.
As an evangelical Christian myself, I absolutely don't see any conflict between my faith and working for a sane immigration policy for my country.
Evangelical Christians could be key allies in the fight against open borders. They comprise approximately one quarter of the U.S. electorate. Polling indicates that most evangelicals are on our side. When compared to mainline Protestants, Catholics and Jews, evangelicals had the highest percentage of respondents who believe that (1) the quantity of immigrants, illegal and legal, is too high; (2) illegal immigration is caused by lack of enforcement, (3) we have enough Americans who can do our labor, (4) amnesty for illegals is not the answer, (4) attrition through enforcement is a good strategy, and (5) enforcing the law is better than amnesty. [Religious Leaders vs. Members: An Examination of Contrasting Views on Immigration, Steven S. Camarota, CIS, December 2009].
Nevertheless, although the evangelical rank and file supports immigration sanity, just as with so many of our society's institutions the evangelical leadership is not reliable. I've recently seen three further outbreaks:
(Here, Mark Krikorian questions how conservative they are.)
This coalition held a meeting on Capitol Hill on July 9th.In attendance were NAE president Leith Anderson, Richard Land (more on him later) and of course, Samuel Rodriguez, an Evangelical Hispanic activist of whom I've written before.
Rodriguez proclaimed that
"Today's Tea Party may very well spell tomorrow's conservative funeral, unless that tea is accompanied by something that enriches any meal. Chips and salsa"
Rodriguez threatened the GOP:
"Republicans [and] conservatives probably have the most to lose, 'The Grand Old Party stands on the brink of repeating history by completing a wall, not between Mexico and the United States but between Hispanic Americans and the conservative movement…The "family values party" is alienating the most pro-life, pro-family constituency in America. So is this the party of Reagan and Lincoln, or the party of nativists and conservatives attempting to conserve a color rather than an idea?"
Is this guy hostile, or what?
Remember, the fact that the NAE leadership pushes for amnesty doesn't mean that all 30 million members of NAE-affiliated churches do.
Dr. Richard Land is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and has been so since 1988. Given what he's been involved in lately, Baptists might wonder if it's time he step down.
National Public Radio just ran a little puff piece/interview of Dr. Land, entitled Conservative Southern Baptists Wade Into Immigration Debate [NPR, July 11, 2010].
Just read the first paragraph and you'll see where he's headed:
"Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, plans to address a gathering of Hispanic Baptists this weekend. Land will tell the group that his denomination supports a path to U.S. Citizenship for illegal immigrants, a message that may test member loyalty within the conservative denomination. Richard Land says his message may not be popular, but needs to be said. "
Here are a few low points from the interview:
On illegal aliens:
"We've got 12 to 17 million people who are here illegally who have, you know, I think it's important to note, they broke the law in order to come here and work. Whereas our homegrown criminals tend to break the law so they don't have to work. "
On illegal aliens being law-abiding:
"The vast majority of these people are law abiding citizens once they've gotten here. They've worked hard. It's not realistic that we're going to round them up and send them home….I don't think it's realistic, or I don't think it's the way you treat people either."
"I think that we need to have a pathway, an earned pathway to legal status or citizenship, whichever they prefer."
Just a few days earlier, NPR had run another article about Land: GOP Faces Internal Divide on Changes to Immigration, Mara Liasson, NPR, July 7, 2010.
Part of Land's argument: conservatives need Hispanic voters. (Apparently he has never heard of the Sailer Strategy—or doesn't want to). According to Land:
"I've had some of them [fellow conservatives] appeal to me. They say, 'Richard, you're going to divide the conservative coalition.' And I said, 'Well, I may divide the old conservative coalition, but I'm not going to divide the new one. If the new conservative coalition is going to be a governing coalition, it's going to have to have a significant number of Hispanics in it, that's dictated by demographics, and you don't get large numbers of Hispanics to support you when you're engaged in anti-Hispanic immigration rhetoric."
Richard Land, in other words, is cheering on the Hispanicization of America and condemns anybody who stands against it.
I never see any concern of Dr. Land for Americans, including ordinary Southern Baptists, who are harmed by illegal and legal immigration.
Dr. Land needs a lot of education and exhortation to help him understand what is really going on in our country and what needs to be done. I encourage our Southern Baptist (and other) readers to contact Dr. Land and politely attempt to educate him. You can email him here. You can leave him a voicemail (toll free) at 1-888-324-8456, Monday through Friday.
You can even call Richard Land during his live weekly radio show, thus educating Land and his listeners at the same time. The show is on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m., Eastern Time. The toll free number is 1-888-324-8456.
Also, here is the general contact form for the Southern Baptist denomination. You can write it also.
The U.S. Pastor Council's statement has been favorably written up in WorldNetDaily:
"A new declaration on immigration already backed by hundreds of pastors who lead tens of thousands of people urges the government to secure the national borders as the first part of any reform strategy."
Pastors Seek to 'Secure our National Borders', (Bob Unruh, World Net Daily, July 4th, 2010):
In fact, one of the drafters of this document is one Dave Welch, the executive director of the U.S. Pastor Council, who writes a column for WorldNetDaily (see here).
Dave Welch of the US Pastor Council is not to be confused with Dave Welch the British poker player. The latter Dave Welch is presumably gambling with his own money. The former Dave Welch is gambling with the future of his country in the name of religion—or something.
The Pastors' Declaration on Border Security and Immigration Reform puts forth a three point plan.
Step One sounds good, it's "Secure our National Borders First":
"It is the first business of our government to protect the safety and welfare of citizens against 'enemies foreign and domestic.' The well established fact that drug cartels, gang members, other criminal elements and now Middle Eastern operatives linked to Islamic terrorism are freely moving across our southern border has created an urgent national security crisis."
The Declaration follows with the Action Needed":
"All borders, with specific priority to the southern border of the United States, must be secured as soon as possible using whatever means necessary to stop all entry from points other than regulated crossing stations. Fences, adequately armed U.S. military presence, electronic surveillance, increased Border Patrol forces, full enforcement of all existing immigration laws and policy changes protecting citizens as well as law enforcement from persecution, prosecution or lawsuits when acting to protect life and property are examples of first steps that need to be implemented."
Sounds great! But…it's only Step One.
Step Two is "Reform the Immigration System". And here the US Pastor Council goes completely off the rails:
"The process of entering the country legally is fraught with red tape, fraud, delays, unacceptable costs, unrealistically low quotas and inhumane treatment for many if not most people who desire to emigrate to the U.S. temporarily for education or work, or permanently as citizens. This system needs to be reformed so people legitimately seeking temporary or permanent residency in this country are treated with dignity and respect."
What the pastors are calling for is an increase in legal immigration—which we definitely don't need.
And then there's Step Three—"Implement a just process to legal status for specified illegal immigrants".
It's A-M-N-E-S-T-Y—under yet another euphemism.
And the conclusion to the Declaration sounds downright totalitarian:
"We the undersigned pastors declare our commitment to using our voice and influence in every way possible to support these principles. We will also publicly hold accountable those who choose to remain silent, who are divisive for purely political purposes, or who act in opposition to these principles."
"Publicly hold accountable those who choose to remain silent"?
"Who are divisive for purely political purposes"?
"Who act in opposition to these principles"?
They talking to us?
The US Pastor Council needs help and guidance also. Here is a list of supporting pastors. If you think your pastor is on the list, look him up and contact him.
And don't neglect to write to Dave Welch and educate him on why amnesty is a bad idea which will encourage more illegal immigration and why we need to reduce—not increase—legal immigration.
We also need to educate many of our local clergy. Too many confuse pious noises and feeling good about themselves with doing the right thing.
We need to straighten them out.
Point out that true Christian charity is helping people in the name of Christ, with our own freely-given resources—not taking taxpayers' money to spend on illegal aliens who ought to be in their own country.
We must not allow confused leaders like Leith Anderson, Richard Land and Dave Welch to use our church offerings to destroy our country.
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) recently moved back to the U.S.A. after many years residing in Mexico. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.