Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How the Left Is Gaining Control of Evangelicals

According to an article this week in The New York Times, Obama is winning over Evangelical leaders to his immigration overhaul “that would include some path to legalization for illegal immigrants already here.”

Go ahead and read the entire article then come right back here. We will move through the above article taking some excerpts to show how the left has used or navigated through the following steps in order to gain a foothold among Evangelicals.

Nine Steps for Gaining a Political Foothold Among the “Spiritually” Ambitious

1. Use a divisive political issue of great humanistic potential that, when properly framed, will appear to have little Biblical support for a conservative response. Entice religious leaders to choose one way over another by maintaining a tight control of the description of the issue and of those involved. Change the descriptions frequently as necessary.

2. Make sure the divisive issue is loaded with heart-wrenching stories demanding a compassionate response by constantly stating that it is “morally right.”

3. The “victim” must never be described in terms of his or her own moral obligations or immoral actions, or by any individual deeds. Remember, the “victim” is not responsible for his or her deeds. The issue can never be about individuals but about groups of people – about communities. Be sure to describe actual offenders as “victims” belonging to a specific minority or marginalized group, and those who want justice as powerful, privileged “oppressors,” or better yet, call them “racists.”

4. Pit the gentle cries for compassion from so-called “victims” against the shrill sounding demands for justice from their “oppressors.” Remember that the issue must always be framed as the battle between under educated moral zealots who only see things in legalistic black and white terms (conservatives) against the more highly educated, influential, and all-loving-all-accepting community of true believers (progressives).

5. Bury any news that would call the offender’s “victimhood” into question.

6. Forge friendships between political activists and with other religious leaders by building coalitions that will work on some conservative issues while laying the ground-work for future cooperation on not so conservative issues. It’s the coalitions that matter for the mobilization of conservatives into gradually supporting more progressive social justice issues in the future.

7. Find a hand-full of high profile and very ambitious conservative religious leaders who have the “wisdom” to see that most of their own moral dilemmas usually boil down to a simple numbers game. After all, these leaders want to be on the winning $$$ side and they’ll have no problems convincing themselves, and their followers, that God is on their side too.

8. Use friendly (left-leaning) media to spread the word that this movement is rapidly growing among influential leaders and among the good and compassionate people who really count.

9. Cover over all end-game political rhetoric and party goals beneath a veneer of high-minded, virtuous-sounding, theological language designed to capture the hearts and minds of the spiritually gullible.

There you have it. Such a simple recipe and it works for any number of issues.

Ok let’s begin to dissect some excerpts from the NYT article. Excerpts will follow each explanation

The article starts off with a bang by employing #1 and #8. Here the friendly left-leaning media is spreading the word that Evangelicals are about to embrace their latest buzz term “immigration overhaul.” Whatever happened to “comprehensive reform”? You won’t find them getting caught using the term “amnesty” either. You see, terms must be frequently retired as soon as the other side catches on to the ploy.

At a time when the prospects for immigration overhaul seem most dim, supporters have unleashed a secret weapon: a group of influential evangelical Christian leaders.

Dr. Richard Land has revealed his choice (actually based upon # 7) but more importantly he justified it based upon #3.

“I’ve had some older conservative leaders say: ‘Richard, stop this. You’re going to split the conservative coalition,’ ” Dr. Land continued. “I say it might split the old conservative coalition, but it won’t split the new one. And if the new one is going to be a governing coalition, it’s going to have to have a lot of Hispanics in it. And you don’t get a lot of Hispanics in your coalition by engaging in anti-Hispanic anti-immigration rhetoric.”

Here’s an example of how #6 works. Notice how #9 is employed with the words “testament” and “brethren.”

Their presence was a testament, in part, to the work of politically active Hispanic evangelical pastors, who have forged friendships with non-Hispanic pastors in recent years while working in coalitions to oppose abortion and same-sex marriage. The Hispanics made a concerted effort to convince their brethren that immigration reform should be a moral and practical priority.

For obvious reasons the article didn’t provide the names of the pastors who fell under the spell of # 7 Notice the substitution of the fuzzy term “social conservative” to replace the term “social justice.”

Several evangelical leaders said they were convinced that Hispanics are the key to growth not only for the evangelical movement, but also for the social conservative movement.

Matthew D. Staver has just fallen for #9.

“I am a Christian and I am a conservative and I am a Republican, in that order,” said Matthew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a conservative religious law firm. “There is very little I agree with regarding President Barack Obama. On the other hand, I’m not going to let politicized rhetoric or party affiliation trump my values, and if he’s right on this issue, I will support him on this issue.”

Obama and the left must make immigration reform a grave moral issue if they are to win over the hearts and minds of most Americans. See how #1 is used here.

Republicans and Democrats who face re-election in November are skittish about the issue, given the broad public support for Arizona’s new law aiming to crack down on illegal immigration.

Numbers 6, 7, and 8 are employed here. The important fact to remember is that those lurking behind the mobilization are hardly conservative or all that religious.

The support of evangelical leaders is not yet enough to change the equation. But they could mobilize a potentially large constituency of religious conservatives, an important part of the Republican base better known for lobbying against abortion and same-sex marriage. They already threaten the party’s near unity on immigration.

Numbers 1, 2, and 3 are used in this example. Notice how they just say that their side is “morally right.” No need to debate the issue.

But some evangelical leaders said their latest strategy was to push a handful of lame-duck Republicans to join Democrats — probably after the midterms — to pass an immigration bill on the ground that it is morally right.

Here Rev. Rodriguez uses #2, 3, and 4. The implication is that if you are anti-(illegal) immigration then you must be a racist! Of course, Rodriguez isn’t fool enough to use the word “illegal”.

“My message to Republican leaders,” said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the evangelical National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and one of the leaders who engaged his non-Hispanic peers, “is if you’re anti-immigration reform, you’re anti-Latino, and if you’re anti-Latino, you are anti-Christian church in America, and you are anti-evangelical.”

Here is demonstration of #1 and #6. As usual, the left is always very organized.

Evangelicals at the grass-roots level are divided on immigration, just as the nation is. But among the leaders, recent interviews suggest that those in favor of an immigration overhaul are far more vocal and more organized than those who oppose it.

This is an example of #1. You will notice that the writers of this left-leaning article are pretty sparse on scriptural support for either side. See links below for plenty of Biblical support for those who oppose this fuzzy little “immigration overhaul.”

Each side draws on Scripture for support. Those who oppose comprehensive immigration overhaul cite Romans 13, which says to submit to the government’s laws. Supporters cite Leviticus 19: treat the stranger as you would yourself.

This is an example of a protest against #s 1-4 placed near the end of the article where it will garner far less attention.

Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the American Family Association, a national conservative Christian organization in Tupelo, Miss., said, “What my evangelical friends are arguing is that illegal aliens should essentially be rewarded for breaking the law.

“I think it’s extremely problematic from a Judeo-Christian standpoint to grant citizenship to people whose first act on American soil was to break an American law,” said Mr. Fischer, who hosts a daily radio show on which immigration is a frequent topic.

Here is a perfect example of #6 in action. Did you notice the slippery slope slide that has already taken place???

Taking the lead for immigration overhaul is the National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group that represents more than 40 denominations. Last year the association passed a resolution calling for comprehensive immigration overhaul, and this year reform is one of its top three policy priorities, along with reducing abortions and studying the impact of climate change on the poor. The association’s president, the Rev. Leith Anderson, was in the front row for Mr. Obama’s address, along with Dr. Land and Mr. Rodriguez.

This is the moral issue of #s 1-3 as seen through Mr. Staver’s social justice lenses. But ask yourself, are we really talking about welcoming one individual stranger or a sojourner just passing through, or is the true description that of a hoard of invaders that has no intention of obeying our nation’s laws or assimilating into the American culture?

One of the more recent converts to overhaul is Mr. Staver. He said that deporting illegal immigrants violated the biblical imperative to welcome the stranger. “We’re going to break up families,” Mr. Staver said, “and I don’t see how you could claim to be pro-family and condone the separation of families.”

(To which Mr. Fischer responded, “We don’t want to break up families, so let’s help them all return to their country of origin.”)

Here #s 6, 7, and 8 come into play. If they are not careful they all will get caught up in #6.

Mr. Staver was one of six evangelical leaders, including two prominent black evangelicals, who issued a statement last month advocating a comprehensive new law. One, J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican candidate for Ohio governor in 2006 and now a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, said he expected more evangelical leaders to come on board.

But Mr. Blackwell said the whole effort could implode if the final legislation extended family reunification provisions to same-sex couples where one spouse did not have legal status. For evangelicals, he said, “That would be a deal-breaker.”

Read this important work from the Center on Immigration Studies

A Biblical Perspective on Immigration Policy

By James R. Edwards Jr.

CIS Fellow James R. Edwards, Jr., PhD, is coauthor of The Congressional Politics of Immigration Reform. He contributed a chapter related to this topic to Carol M. Swain’s Debating Immigration, and his speech at Malone College’s Worldview Forum was published in Vital Speeches of the Day.

An excerpt from his conclusions:

We may fairly conclude that it displays questionable judgment to rigidly construct an immigration policy for 21st century America based on a handful of Scripture passages taken out of context or from particular instances of migration spanning centuries, vastly different nations and kingdoms, wholly different circumstances, etc. found in Scripture. Rather, carefully discerning applicable principles better fits the situation.

Further, obeying civil laws is the normative, biblical imperative for Christians, as discussed above. National sovereignty is part of the authority God has delegated to civil authorities. Whatever the immigration laws of a particular nation, determining the policies of how many immigrants to admit and the terms and conditions applying to immigrants are the prerogative of the national body. Each society may set or change its nation’s immigration laws. Those decisions rest within the society, and outsiders have no legitimate voice in that exercise of national sovereignty. . . .

According to Worldview Weekend, 98% of poll respondents disagree with Matthew Staver of the Liberty Counsel, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Rev. Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church, Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners and their push for amnesty for 18 million illegal aliens?

Take the poll. Let The "New Coalition" of Christians Leaders Know You Do Not Agree With Where They Want To Take America

Let The "New Coalition" of Christians Leaders Know You Do Not Agree With Where They Want To Take America


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