October 23, 2008

Latino Evangelical Churches suffer, due to incarceration and deportation of undocumented immigrant church members, while our anglo and black evangelical leaders are NUM!

By the Reverend Miguel Rivera

Almost every day, after my early morning prayers and daily radio live show, the phone rings with more news of what's happening around the Country, regarding the suffering that Latino Evangelical Churches and their Pastors are encountering; "The arrest and deportation orders, given to another member of the Body of Christ".

Latino Evangelical congregations are at the forefront of the sadness and even sentiments of anger and desperation, that are developing among Latino families and many American communities, while more neighborhoods, entire families and local congregations are broken apart, due to the "enforcement only approach", implemented as, "best and only response to the immigration concerns of our Country".

The inconvenient truth is that, during the last 20 years in our Country, a revival has been happening, where among the 12 million undocumented immigrants, up to 20% have become "born again Christians" and Faith members in good standing with the Pentecostal and Evangelical Latino Church, energizing the Christian ministry in the Nation.

The impact of such "revival" has been registered mostly at, Latino Independent Non-Denominational Christian, Charismatic Evangelicals or Pentecostal, churches..

Even traditional evangelical denominations, have seen their numbers grow, thanks to such revival, happening among "Latino undocumented immigrants".

"Born-again" christian evangelical undocumented immigrants are truly willing to do the right thing and comply with the Law. But a BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM and "obsolete legal approach", makes such desire, impossible to accomplish.

That's why, all the joy and fellowship, was dramatically and abruptly interrupted, after Members of CONGRESS, failed to respond to President George W. Bush's initiative for a Temporary Worker Visas and a Guest Worker Program, which later developed as a Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislative effort, miserably derailed, due to the political opportunism, racial intolerance and lack of leadership from both Democratic and Republican political organizations.

Even as of today, in the middle of a heated political debate before the General Elections, the "immigration issue", has been considerably set aside, seen as a "high volatile subject", not worthy of some local politician (incumbent or newcomer) or even Presidential Candidate, to risk his or her political future.

The most disturbing side of this "moral scenario" is that, many "conservative" Protestant and Evangelical denominations, are divided on the issue. Others not even moved for a compassionate approach to seek support for a legislative solution, hiding all of them, behind an unfounded argument; "the concerns of losing the Anglo tradition culture in our Nation".

In other words, for many of these "evangelical denominational institutions", their theological approach on immigration is only suitable and feasible, when the Anglo-culture, will win from the influx of more immigrants, mostly high skilled, Caucasian, European descent.

Besides, history has teach us that any ultra supremacy or elitist platform is, without any doubt, NOT-AMERICAN and the fundamental values to support such approach, are duly IMMORAL!

For many years, in order to hide such a controversy and moral dilemma, many evangelical denominations established, "an independent ethnic solution", forcing the creation of ethnic- oriented Mission Boards, Church's Districts, etc., avoiding to confront the truth of the racial intolerance sentiments among their respective fellowships and instead of seeking a true Biblical and Apostolic solution to such profound and sensitive conflict.

Black-American Churches, opted to organized among themselves due to the "closed doors approach" of such "Christianity today" evangelical ecclesiastical institutions and lately, Latino and Asian ethnic American Christians, are being forced for years, to do the same.

In the political arena, lack of political participation and representation, makes matters worst for the Latino, Asian and other ethnic communities.

The political deficit worsens, due to an opportunistic "limbo", that is being used by partisan special interests where Latinos are labeled, either "sold Republicans or potential Democrats", making harder for a comprehensive immigration legislation, to avoid political special interests and the unfavorable game partisan politics.

While we have devoted our time to help "our gente" to learn the English language and assimilation of the American culture, the anti-immigrant forces of "evil", and supremacy influence with many resources at their disposal, makes even more difficult to accomplish our goals of a "United Faith among All American Evangelicals", without ethnic oriented barriers, as per the JESUS GOSPEL TO THE NATIONS AND THE TRUTH OF THE BIBLICAL TENETS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST.

At this time, there is only one true and efficient approach to solve this problem and bring back AMERICA, Our Beloved Nation, to the right path of immigration inclusive and continue the path of spiritual, social and economic prosperity, that we have endured since our years of Independence.

Protestants, Evangelicals, Christian, Pentecostals, Anglo, Blacks, Latino, Native American Asian "born again Christians"; All Praying and Working together to heal ourselves and become true Freedom and Liberty Advocates on behalf of Social Justice.

Calling Members of CONGRESS who many of them are members in good standing at many of our congregations and Up for Re-Election.

Preach them; "DO THE RIGHT AND MORAL THING, THE CHRISTIAN MOVE, THE AMERICAN WAY", bring an honest, decent, family oriented, economic prudent closure to this issue. Let's bring these hard working, family values oriented undocumented people out of the shadows with a prudent, legal and political honest comprehensive immigration solution approach.

This will help keep my phone, quite for a change!

The Reverend Miguel Rivera is Chairman of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC).

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