Scanning headlines today, I’ve noticed a suspicious preponderance of mainstream articles about Evangelical Christians’ putative rejection of Arizona-style enforcement and commitment to “comprehensive immigration reform” (you know what that means.) With Rick Warren’s inauguration address and Bill Hybel’s introduction of Obama’s at his recent immigration speech (Hybel heads Chicago’s Willow Creek Megachurch), it’s clear that Obama expects evangelicals to back him on amnesty and mass immigration, if nothing else.
And he seems to have already won over the leadership. Take these statements, for instance, from the Southern Baptist’s Convention’s Richard Land, a man long associated with the GOP, Dubya, and Christian Zionism.
Land doesn’t seem to care if he angers old-line Baptists, for they can be replaced:
I've had some of them 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.'
Land also embraces Karl Rove's electoral strategy, which works just as well in the age of Obama:
[I]f 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 if you don't get large numbers of Hispanics to support you when you're engaged in anti-Hispanic immigration rhetoric.
And I thought it wasn’t about race…
It often seems that public representatives of America’s Priestly Class went into the religion business because there weren’t any MC openings at the carnival: Come one, come all -- their only concern is to get more fannies in the seats.
It’s note worthy as well how the Left ignores or ridicules Biblical doctrines when it comes to abortion, gay rights, culture, and morality, but then starts quoting Leviticus 19 with conviction whenever the immigration debate comes up. It’s sad that with many Christians, this seems to work. Sadder still that with cafeteria Christians, the only time the Bible and Jesus’ teachings come to bear on their lives is on race and immigration issues. Did you let yourself get fat, go get wasted every weekends, screw whomever you liked? Did you load up your iPod with Lady Gaga and appear as a bridesmaid at your friend’s same-sex marriage?Don’t worry about anything; Jesus loves you! But did you recognize your country as a European nation inflected by Anglo-Protestant values and express your desire to keep it that way? For shame! That’s evil and un-Christian; Jesus would be disappointed!
What saves me from despair are reports like this one (prepared by the CIS) that reveal that Christians are actually more in favor of immigration restriction than the general public, which is very much in favor of restriction. (Even a high percentrage of Jews think there’s excessive immigration, despite the fact that their public organizations have been intensely open-borders.)
What we’re facing, once again, is a divide between grassroots and leadership. (I wonder if there’s any community in America whose rank-and-file and leadership aren’t starkly divided on the immigration issue?)
The divergence within the GOP was quite pronounced during the Bush years. Even David Frum, whose passions lie elsewhere, began to fret over the Republican base revolting and leaving the party due to the immigration issue. Let’s hope Frum’s fears become reality! But what’s different with Evangelicals is that while politicians are universally reviled, preachers are beloved and respected by their followers as figures of authority. Let’s hope the grassroots wakes up to the fact that its leadership is leading the flock towards national suicide and has abandoned the idea of Christianity as a Western religion.