July 30, 2007

"Homes of Sanctuary" for Children of Detained and Deported Parents

Washington, DC – The Board of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) has announced its plans to address a critical problem that threatens the health and well-being of the Latino family nationwide; the safety and placement of American born children whose parents are detained for deportation.

As America grapples with the controversial issue of immigration and Congress fails to find a solution to our broken immigration system, local officials take matters into their own hands -enforcing federal immigration laws, which include identification, detainment and deportation of undocumented people. Meanwhile a serious problem has surfaced. What happens to American born children of detained and deported undocumented parents?

An alarming number of innocent children caught in these circumstances have been placed under the care of the state and placed into the foster care system. A great concern has emerged among Latino Christian Church leaders that have led CONLAMIC to respond by announcing its goal to establish homes of sanctuary for these children among its Christian congregation members.
CONLAMIC has began the development of a database that will register 1,000 pastors for the purpose of identifying “Hogares Santuarios” or Homes of Sanctuary for the American born school aged children of detained or deported parents. The effort has begun to register 1,000 churches across the nation for this purpose. It’s bad enough to learn that American raised children who are deported with their families to the country of their birth must suffer the trauma of a foreign language, land, people, schools and society that is very different from what they’ve known, especially given the dangers of some of the countries that have unstable governments.

“Hogares Santuarios” or Homes of Sanctuary is an initiative that CONLAMIC is spearheading to ensure that there is an immediately option for children who need a safe home within their community. These children have the right to continue to live in their own community with people they’re parents know and trust and they also have the right to continue to go to the same school.

The Latino Christian church feels the moral responsibility to address this issue now. Children’s Ministry has always been a critical component of our congregations. CONLAMIC views this as simply an extension of this ministry. We believe that to know what is right and not to do it is a sin. We simply cannot allow these children to be taken and placed into the state system of foster care.

CONLAMIC is currently contacting state departments of social services to gather information for leaders in each state about how become eligible for guardianship of these children. This is an ambitious but crucial effort which will ensure the health and well being of these children.

CONLAMIC’s website will soon launch a section dedicated to this effort that will provide information and resources for leaders and families about “Hogares Santuarios”. This site will also allow individuals to provide information regarding children who need access to this program.
Churches will assign chaplains who will move quickly to inform parents who are at risk or have been detained about the local “Hogares Santuarios”.

CONLAMIC seeks to prevent the loss of these children to unstable homes, drugs, gangs, and other dangers that affect the children who lack a stable, loving, and safe environment. With God’s conviction and determination, we will succeed in saving thousands of American lives.

CONLAMIC Leaders Address Hispanic Education Crisis

Washington, DC – The Board of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) has gathered recently to announce its plans to address a critical problem that threatens the future and well-being of the Latino family nationwide, the dire state of Hispanic American educational achievement.

Statistics tell us that more than 40% of Hispanic youth drop out of school before finishing the ninth grade. We have heard many say this is due to poverty, lack of parental involvement, poor teaching, but it is our belief that the problem mostly lies in our broken American public school system, a bureaucracy that refuses to change and remains in a mode of the status quo, losing the precious lives of minority children by the hundreds of thousands in most inner cities throughout the country.

The Catholic Church has confronted this problem with the early establishment of Catholic private schools. They have had excellent result, in fact, 85% of Hispanic American professionals were educated in private Catholic Schools. CONLAMIC represents more than 16,000 churches in 32 states across America. Its leaders believe that now is the time to begin establishing its own private schools.

“As leaders of the American Latino Evangelical church, we feel the responsibility of addressing the Hispanic school drop out rate head on. We cannot wait 20 more years for the public school system to improve; we must save our youngest generation from living a standard of life that is lower than their parents before them,” urged Reverend Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

Private Christian schools started by Latino churches will offer parents an option that they don’t currently have to a quality education. For this reason, CONLAMIC’s leaders have mutually agreed upon effort, it calls its Ministry of Education, by establishing its first 100 Latino Christian academies by the year 2017.

Meetings held this year between CONLAMIC, Hispanic CREO and the U.S. Department of Education and the White House have resulted in the development of the first ever White House Faith & Community Initiatives on Youth and Education conference. This event will be held September 24, 2007 and is being organized by the White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives and the U.S. Dept. of Education.

The White House event will feature keynote speeches from the U.S. Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, Rev. Miguel Rivera, and the presence of President Bush is also expected. The event will coincide with CONLAMIC’s 8th Annual Legislative Conference, September 25th during which it will hold legislative briefings with members of the U.S. House of Representatives. For more information and to register, please visit www.conlamic.org.

July 09, 2007

Anglo Evanglicals Not Forgiving of Senator McCain

Washington, DC - The New York Times recently revealed the agony that our white evangelical brothers and sisters suffer as a result of their racial intolerance and over the debate of which Presidential candidate to vote for in the Republican primaries.

According to the story, Senator John McCain is the most conservative Republican candidate in both fiscal and social issues, but his support of the legalization of thousands of undocumented people is preventing the white evangelicals from supporting McCain's candidacy for President of the United States.

It seems the white evangelical church prefers to consider any other Republican candidate, most notably, the ex-governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, a Mormon; the ex-mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, who has divorced three times and now is working on his fourth attempt of marriage in addition to favoring the economic subsidy for abortion; and finally, ex-Senator, Fred Thompson, who in addition of having practiced the profession of lobbyist in Washington, DC, has collected million of dollars from clients that endorsed non-conservative issues and has also had several marriages, most recently a wife more than 20 years his junior.

The New York Times story has awakened our opinion on the absurd conduct by our white Evangelical brothers and sisters who dare to discard McCain, a Christian candidate with an outstanding record of public and military service and consistent commitment to conservative values. Instead, they look to support any other candidate regardless of moral or political history, simply because of not being able to forgive McCain for his efforts to find a workable, dignified and compassionate solution for immigration reform and the millions of undocumented immigrants in America.

From this aberrant and incorrigible position by the white evangelicals we gather that the national sin of racism permeates in the conscience of many Americans 150 years after the civil war divided the nation and unfortunately still remains in the 21st century.

Speaking from a sad but truthful perspective, the presence and manifestation of this national sin should not come as a surprise to thousands of Latino evangelical ministers in the United States, who based on the history of this nation, have in someway or another experienced some form of racial discrimination within the great Anglo evangelical denominations.

For many years, we have maintained a position to stay quiet for benefit of a unified body of the church while trying to avoid that this cancer of racial intolerance continue advancing to the point where it results in the death of spirituality in the church or worse even, to become whited spulchre as in (Matthew 23:27) where Jesus says to the Pharisees that they have become hypocrites, meaning that those leaders in his time were respectable on the outside but rotten on the inside.

The immediate response by many of our Anglo denominations who are in the presence of thousand of believers, Latino ministers and those of other ethnic and racial backgrounds has been to allow to the concept of homogeneous evangelism that preaches the segregation of the races and cultures giving each the limited decision making ability rather than providing them with the same privilege to sit at the decision making table (even as they have grown to become so large in numbers) in the national circle of evangelicals.

History confirms that the opinion of our white evangelical brothers continues to take priority as if God himself speaks only to the Anglo leaders and church who subsequently inform the rest. This belief and conduct perhaps was useful during the time of colonization and military invasion because it was considered a North American evangelizing tool but was later terminated as a result of the political and religious abuses that it provoked.

The body of Christ, theologically speaking, does not allow autonomy of its parts and vital organs but rather, demands the submission to each to the other, thus eliminating the belief that one member is of greater value or significance than another, although some are more susceptible to social scrutiny and this only for the purpose of human vanity.

As Christians, Latino Pentecostals, and the evangelical church, we have the moral and spiritual obligation to expose the national sin that besieges our brothers, and to demand repentance if we seek to obtain the mercies of God and truly heal our nation.

This effort will bring us two important benefits: to raise the level of spiritual conduct of this nation and to recognize the importance and value of the ethnic-minority congregations in the United States. Our presence and inclusion will bring extreme and relevant value beyond the fact that we are numerous and fast growing.

We call upon our Anglo brothers to repent. Perhaps then, after some spiritual healing you will support politicians of integrity who have proven to be outstanding leaders with public and moral track records that regardless of their political party are worthy of the evangelical vote. This is the sort of Presidential candidate that deserves our support and prayer. This is the true spiritual approach and will bring social justice for our great nation.