Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, And Why Evangelicals Need Patriotic Immigration Reform
Print Friendly and PDF

The theology of abortion has become an unexpected theme in the 2012 election cycle. Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock ( GOP's Mourdock says rape, abortion comments 'twisted', Indianapolis Star, October 24, 2012) Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin (Jaco Report: Full Interview With Todd Akin,, August 19, 2012), Rep. Steve King (Rep. Steve King on the Campaign Trail, By Heather Leigh, Fox44, August 20, 2012), and Rep. Joe Walsh [Walsh, Duckworth clash on Medicare, abortion, Chicago Tribune, October 18, 2012) have all gotten in varying degrees of trouble over it. William Saletan at Slate is horrified that banning abortion even in cases of rape is now “the new Republican mainstream.”[ No Exception,  October 24, 2012]

In fact, of course, all of these candidates were merely voicing, however artlessly, what is, whether you like it or not, the traditional Christian position: innocent life must be protected no matter how conceived.

It’s unsurprising that Main Stream Media Christophobes don’t know that. And Conservatism Inc. operatives like Karl Rove no doubt forgot in their stampede to pander to women, elect Mitt Romney, and get their snouts into the lobbying trough

However, Akin and the others are not without friends. Groups such as Eagle Forum, the Family Research Council, and media outlets such as WorldNetDaily have all rallied to their defense. The Christian Right is defying the critics who claim it is a spent force.

At the same time, the Obama campaign is striking back with various celebrities like Girls creator Lena Dunham talking about the sacred right of promiscuity and advertisements implying Democratic women want to have sex with the President.

Perhaps only the blogger Roissy over at Heartiste [ at own risk!] can properly interpret what it all means, as the culture wars rage on.

For the patriotic immigration reform movement, the recent blowup could be bad news.  Todd Akin has an “A” ranking from Numbers USA and could be a great immigration patriot in the Senate—especially now that he is not beholden to the party leadership for anything. Steve King has been the heir to Tom Tancredo in fighting for immigration reform in the House. Joe Walsh has a strong “A-” ranking from Numbers. Richard Mourdock also has strong stands on immigration, opposing amnesty and the DREAM act.

But despite this unmistakable correlation between patriotic immigration reform and social conservatism, some of the Religious Right’s professional leaders are preparing a new drive to dispossess the American people.

Recently, a screaming headline at the top of the Huffington Post triumphantly announced that Focus on the Family is preparing to join the hard Left to push amnesty on the American people. The writer, one “Jaweed Kaleem” (email him) smirked that Focus on the Family was known for its “vitriolic campaigns against gay rights, same-sex marriage, and abortion” but was now “taking a sharp turn away from culture war-style politics and widening its goals to include everything from immigration reform to decreasing poverty and increasing adoptions and foster care opportunities.” [Jim Daly Aims To Broaden Focus On The Family Beyond Anti-Gay Marriage, Anti-Abortion Record, October 16 2012] 

Jim Daly (email him), the blue-eyed beneficiary of white privilege who is Focus on the Family’s President and CEO, was quoted trying to distance it from its past:

If you look at those who were born in the 30s: Dobson, Jerry Falwell, D.J. Kennedy, the self-described culture warriors. I think if I was born in the 30s with that Judeo-Christian culture and went through the 50s and 60s and saw what I perceived to be a dismantling of these things, I think I would have reacted the same way, as in, 'We've got to hunker down and we got to preserve the things that leave the nation right.'

Now that America is successfully deconstructed however, Daly wants to abandon what he calls the “venomous" mentality of the old Christian Right and, presumably, make a living. As part of that, he joined Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention to push for amnesty in June. Evangelicals Push Immigration Reform By Lobbying And Preaching, Huffington Post, June 12, 2012.

Over 150 evangelical leaders were part of the effort to condemn Mitt Romney and other Republicans who were pretending to support “self-deportation” (a.k.a. attrition through enforcement) during the primaries. [Evangelical Groups Call for New Stance on Illegal Immigration,  By Trip Gabriel, June 12, 2012]

The Southern Baptist Convention in particular, having apologized for its own past in 1995 (thereby inspiring the column that got the late Sam Francis fired from the Washington Times) has since moved on to promoting its own shiny new black President and debating whether, like Campus Crusade for Christ, it should change its name in order to avoid offending people.

But an inconvenient fact remains: ordinary white evangelicals tend to support candidates who want immigration reduced, regardless of what their religious leaders tell them. In fact, of all American denominations, evangelical Christians are the most likely to support restrictions on immigration.

Just as Republicans are constantly told that they are doomed—DOOMED!—if they do not immediately surrender to Hispanics and abolish immigration laws, so evangelical leaders may have been panicked by the growing Hispanic evangelical community.

And, just as Hispanics tend to be liberals who will never vote Republican regardless of immigration policy, so the evangelical leaders are misjudging Hispanics Evangelicals. A majority of them support Obama, albeit at a smaller percentage than Latinos in general.

And, despite assurances by Hispanic Evangelical leaders that America needs virtuous, fundamentalist Latinos to save it from degenerate whites, white evangelicals are significantly more likely to oppose homosexual marriage than Hispanic evangelicals. Overall, solid majority of Hispanics now support homosexual marriage.  If evangelicals want to win the support of Hispanic evangelicals, they will need to turn left on a host of issues besides immigration.

This Hispandering by evangelical Republican leaders is in sharp contrast to their uncompromising stance on even wildly unpopular abortion positions. Thus, according to Gallup, only 20% of Americans favor abortion being illegal in all circumstances, including in cases of rape, incest, or if the health of the mother is at stake. Nonetheless, evangelicals have rallied to support their embattled champions—even if their abortion stands guarantee the long-term survival of Obamacare.

Evangelical leaders are clearly willing to go down with the ship on issues that are important to them. They have no problem offending the fabled female swing voters of Ohio or Iowa, even as they spend sleepless nights worrying about the lost Hispanic moral majority.

The Religious Right still constitutes the one mass base of the American conservative movement. The reasons for this go beyond religion. Evangelical Christians perceive themselves, not without reason, as an oppressed class.  They are mocked and despised by their country’s elites—educational, media, financial, and political.

It's a sad reality that probably the greatest mass action in the history of the American Right was rallying people to buy junk food at Chick-Fil-A just to stick it to sanctimonious liberals. (Mitt Romney, typically, ran away). Religion is the last quasi-acceptable vehicle that Americans have to mobilize protests against sweeping changes to their way of life imposed by their post-American rulers.

Hence the burgeoning Christian subculture in film—a subculture openly adversarial to what is promoted by major media outlets, be it HBO, the TV networks, or the likes of the Huffington Post.

The recent film Last Ounce of Courage, promoted by luminaries like WND's Joseph Farah and action star Chuck Norris, centered on a Christian who fights against an ACLU-like group in the War on Christmas.  Fallen American soldiers were invoked as the protagonist urges the crowd to rise against their rulers.

The melodrama flopped, but others are coming: a remake of the end-of-the-world thriller Left Behind is slated, possibly starring Nicholas Cage. The resulting snark will sustain Gawker for months. And the exposure and the hostile reaction will feed the resentment that continues to galvanize the Christian Right.

Focus on the Family's Daly may have come to terms with post-Christian America. But the culture will not allow him to make a separate peace. The Christian Right is assaulted precisely because it stands for a specific people and culture that the Left hates.

Immigration policy is both part of that struggle and the solution that can transform it. Immigration reduction should be incorporated as part of the larger communitarian agenda of the grassroots Right. It would, in one swoop, build stronger communities built around national identity, higher wages, and good jobs—“Affordable Family Formation.” It would energize Americans who are currently shuffling to the polls only out of fear of Obama. It could win the GOP (in its role as the “Generic American Party”) a second hearing from voters buried under ads about Mitt Romney being an “economic traitor.”

And it would create a healthier, community-centered culture that would allow Christian leaders to retake lost ground without infuriating everyone else.

Those who claim to speak in the name of God need to make a decision about what's more important—American families and real communities, or faint praise from the Huffington Post. 

Culture warriors have to be sure that there's actually a culture left to protect.


James Kirkpatrick [Email him] travels around the United States looking for a waiter who can speak English.





Print Friendly and PDF