mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Christianist Nightmare: Evangelicals Push for Immigration Reform

Evangelical religious leaders, including Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, are pushing for “humane” immigration reform. Moved both by their reading of Biblical morality and by the presence of immigrants among their congregations (Land estimates that there are half a million Southern Baptists of Latino heritage, most of them from Mexico, and 40 percent in the country illegally), evangelicals look set to raise their profile on this issue.

But wait, aren’t evil “Christianist” bigots in control of the Republican Party? And aren’t they out to extinguish the last flickering embers of freedom as the darkness of fundamentalist bigotry falls relentlessly across the land?

Of all the feverish nightmares that keep jumpy lefty journos up at night, the specter of fundamentalist totalitarianism is perhaps the least credible. As state after state legalizes gay marriage while evangelicals call for more human immigration laws, left wing paranoia about the destruction of American freedom by an enraged army of super empowered Bible thumpers seems more laughable by the day.

2012 is going to be an ugly election year in which both parties will try to use fear to mobilize support; Dems will campaign against theocracy and Gopsters against dark atheist plots. Let’s hope the electorate keeps a cool head.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Anthony

    “One of the major principles of electoral democracies is the notion that the majority and the minority both consist of individuals who are divided not so much by their wealth, faith or primordial features but by their attitude to key public policy issues.”

    The immigration issue affects the demos in both a particularistic and universal manner extending beyond secularism and sectarianism as well as political parties – issue/question pertinent to American democracy.

  • Luke Lea


    The vocabulary of class warfare may have begun on the left—a very socialist left—but in mainstream American politics it didn’t gain much traction until the Republicans took it up. Framing the struggle as cultural and tribal rather than as economic, they proved to be more effective class warriors than the Democrats.

    Richard Nixon won over the “silent majority” by casting intellectuals, student radicals, and the media as enemies of those he awkwardly termed “the so-called unimportant people.” Ronald Reagan called out “welfare queens” for bilking the government. The Bushes brought down their opponents by igniting incipient racial and cultural resentments. Michael Dukakis fell to the vicious Willie Horton ad. The infamous Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry impugned his war heroism; an ad showing him windsurfing off Nantucket became an emblem of unseemly privilege.

    “There’s class warfare, all right,” Warren Buffett told the Times, back in 2006, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

  • bjk

    So the evangelical elite is now lining up with all the rest of the churches, the media, the professors, the foundations, the ethnic lobbies, the chamber of commerce and most of the unions. How is it that all of the great and the good haven’t already persuaded the 60-70% of the electorate consistently opposed to replacing themselves?

  • Dave Francis


    The term illegal immigration is so controversial now, that infiltrates every person’s life, especially when it comes to taxes and this painful economy. That’s one of the reasons I don’t want to pay my taxes, even though there is always the chance of getting audited? When I mail my return every April, I get so angry at the situation that I must support with my taxes, people who steal into this country, which is less for my family. Because of these unfunded mandates that taxpayers are forced to pay which the courts have determined to be applicable. I read in my daily observance of critical news reports in the Google) online, the suppressed media articles that the Leftist Press prefers you do not read. One news brief caught my eye about the U.S. Border Patrol, wandering the lengthy corridors of hospitals including the University of Arizona Medical Center (UMC).

    Oh! Yes! Illegal aliens are leaving certain states and heading for less restrictive states, where Sanctuary cities like Los Angeles,(CA) New Haven, (CT) Denver (CO), Las Vegas (NV), San Francisco (CA), Austin (TX) and approximately 69 other refuge areas, that admonish ICE?

    Are they looking out for women, who are ready to conceive; that I don’t know? What I do know however, pregnant women intentionally cross the U.S. border so they can deliberately take advantage of the 1965 immigration Act. Babies born to illegal alien mothers within U.S. borders are called “anchor babies” because under the law as an illegal entrant, it pulls the illegal alien mother and eventually a host of other relatives into permanent U.S. residency. First stop on their route into America is by 49 % who mislead the Immigration agent at the air terminal that they are just regular tourist or by 300 thousand plus flooding the country across the Southern border, heading directly to the nearest delivery room. Arizona, Texas, California are cursed with this ominous cycle and I am sure New Mexico suffers as well. Approximately 67 hospitals have gone bankrupt in border cities because of these unfunded mandates. The whole issue to be answered is that while illegal alien women go directly to these hospitals and pay nothing at all for delivery, while the American citizen–legal resident has no such loophole and is hounded by the debt collectors and even the courts. Having a baby costs hospitals, which is a unfunded mandate and eventually is paid by taxpayers.

    The cost for a baby delivery ranges today around $6.000 to $8.000 dollars, unless there is no problem with the birth. These are stigmata that Arizona who lead the charge against this government unfunded mandates, that hospitals costs must be absorbed or passed on to taxpayers. Alabama, Georgia, Utah, Indiana and South Carolina have been emasculated by these unfunded mandates, which include schooling to K-12 for illegal migrant and immigrant children, the emergency rooms crowded with foreign national families. Welfare programs are the epicenter for these people, as they now to work the system. The left say illegal aliens get food stamps, but the children do because of a mishandled law by the courts, have made it mandatory. Having four instant citizenship children is not only a nice handful of food stamps, but cash payments as well. I think Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul on the Republican ticket, as the cost is substantial. Take a few minutes and read the oscillating grades of the candidates for the White House at (Google) By now most Americans who read the Conservative press, are aware that federal and state dish out over $113 Billion dollars a year to foreigners. Yet anybody who dares to speak up is a bigot or racist. So the politicians who have no backbone and are anxious about campaign contributions, stay silent.

    “The Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2885) mandatory E-Verify will heavily punish businesses for hiring illegal aliens, who are stealing jobs from the majority of low income labor. Second in line of value is the “Birthright Citizenship Bill (H.R.140) that by an Amendment, will prevent the welfare abundance of public welfare check assistance to the illegal parent of a child smuggled or already here, if neither parent is a U.S. Citizen. These are bills that must be passed, specifically the Birthright Citizenship Bill, as it will contain the unfair privilege, given to illegal alien mothers smuggling their unborn into American for undeserved citizenship and then applying for handouts.

    Does anybody have legitimate excuses for the numbers of American contractors, who have lost their businesses, because their occupational competition has used illegal immigrants at a lower bidding price for jobs? Across the country hundreds of thousands of small businesses have lost their incomes, because in residential construction, such as roofers, drywall installers, painter’s even electricians have used this type of cheap labor? Eventually unable to compete they have even been forced to drop their lawful workers, or make the painful decision of looking for day laborers or lesser skilled foreigners? An awful “Catch 22” situation by years of neglect to enforce immigration laws by uninterested administrations. Farmers and other industries have legally hired, guest workers, but what the general public is unaware of they pay nothing towards hospital visits or the children’s education. That again, is a financial taxpayer’s weight to contend with. States get nothing for these unfunded mandates, as it is a dollar seed that is still growing.

    Every taxpaying American is complaining about both parties in Congress, but those same people cannot find a few minutes to contact their Senators or Congress persons at 202-224-3121 and demand the vote for both federal MANDATORY E-Verify or amend the ‘Birthright Citizenship’ Bill. Once enacted into law a massive exodus will begin, as illegal aliens and family members will return to their country of origin unable to find a job; perhaps find it even more difficult to live a normal life, without looking over their shoulders for ICE agents?

    Link to a chapter of your local TEA PARTY. Bring to a halt this financial fiasco, by giving away taxpayers money to subsidize illegal aliens? Only the TEA PARTY LEADERSHIP has the moral fiber to shred the current tax code and provide a fair and equitable tax system, without any loopholes for anybody. Every possible means available currently and in the future will be utilized to secure our borders, to halt Sanctuary Cities, Chain Migration. The TEA PARTY will adopt a regulated Guest Worker program, without a path to citizenship. It is solely the obligation of every American voter to check for non citizens registering for all future elections and inform the authorities. That every person voting must display official Picture ID, as there has been progressive voting by non citizens. The laws of the 1986 Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA) will be reanimated as original was to work. Sanctuary Cities will be banned and official who subscribe to any ordinance protecting illegal aliens will be sanctioned every possible means will be used to remove illegal aliens from this country and benefits stopped. Illegal aliens will be prosecuted for using stolen ID, including Social Security numbers and birth records.

    All Americans must insure that every voter is checked against their official picture ID. Non citizens have been voting and will again, with the Democratic-Liberal aid such as ACORN, including illegal aliens. Those who believe in the principles of the U.S. Constitution and Conservative must be vigilant of absentee ballot fraud and voter registrations.

  • Corlyss

    “But wait, aren’t evil “Christianist” bigots in control of the Republican Party?”

    Yes, and that’s why no matter what Republicans say on the issue, the media will always report it as bigoted xenophobia.

  • Jules

    Looks like the evangelicals who rose to political prominence in support of Jimmy Carter are returning to their liberal roots. Given that the neocons were once Democrats it looks like the GOP coalition is just the 1970s Democrats.

  • Wayne Lusvardi

    Re: “Evangelical leaders are pushing for ‘humane’ immigration reform.”

    U.S. immigration policy already is “humane.” It is based on an unwritten social contract whereby if you immigrate illegally to the U.S. to provide cheap labor, in return your children born here can go to U.S. schools and colleges and avail themselves of upward mobility and you get a minimum of health care provided by hospital emergency rooms subsidized by taxpayers. What is “inhumane” about that? It beats living in northern Mexico in a life of permanent poverty or crime.

  • Toni


    Except “Gopsters against dark atheist plots.” ??? Examples please.

    GOPsters are trying to warn against a secular, elitist, paternalistic Leviathan which aims to control the lives of lesser beings and, in their names, doesn’t mind bankrupting the country along the way.

  • Toni

    Luke, first, I inserted my foot firmly in my mouth when I likened your posts to those of a moony 20-something. Your sophisticated letter on Adam & Eve shows you to be quite the opposite. My bad.

    Second, however, the New Yorker editorial is flawed. The liberal elite desperately wants to frame “the struggle as cultural and tribal rather than as economic” because they can’t bring themselves to believe that what Republicans say about “class warfare” and the economy has anything to do with real-world economics.

    As for Buffett, I once stood outside his office on my way to interview another man whose office was opposite Buffett. (High school buddies, the two had courted the same girl and, said Buffett, “The better man won.”) Buffett’s office was behind a big thick metal security door with keypad entry, and probably other security features I couldn’t see. In my view, that door is a metaphor for Buffett’s isolation from the real world.

    He’s an 80-something genius investor whose genius has been lauded for more decades than you know. He didn’t focus on macroeconomics; he studied investing under another legendary investor. Now he hangs with his peers and Obama. He’s gotten full of himself. He likes seeing his name in headlines and positioning his secretary at the SOTU. (Her tax rate indicates that he pays her extremely well, and she may well be a multimillion from her cumulative earnings and other compensation.)

    I think the Gates-Buffett billionaire charity pledge is a vanity project. Who’s going to follow up to check whether all those megarich who so publicly pledge actually do donate half their estates to charity?

    But I digress. I know another multi-billionaire in Denver who’s been on the Forbes 400 since the first list in 1983. But he’s a conservative who doesn’t trumpet himself or his charitable efforts, which are huge. His conservatism and preference for privacy get him tagged “secretive” by a suspicious media who prefer a gaseous rich liberal like Buffett.

    The best thing you can do for the poor is to create jobs. This man is redeveloping a poorer section of Los Angelos, and a guaranteed level of jobs and housing will go to the displaced. Over his half-century of investments in oil, railroads, telecom, sports, real estate and entertainment (he paid 100% of “Ray”), he’s probably created a million or more jobs. Including at the entry level. Like ticket-sellers and -takers and snacks-booth attendants in his movie theatres, sports stadiums and other entertainment venues, and construction and oilfield workers.

    Unlike Obama, Buffett and the New Yorker staff, this guy knows firsthand what an economy needs to create jobs. Vanity projects and getting your name in the headlines or on a millionaire tax don’t qualify.

    “[E]even though Obama won a higher percentage of the total vote than any Democratic President except Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson, he did it with “a top-and-bottom coalition”—holders of graduate degrees and high-school dropouts.”

    Read Charles Murray’s Coming Apart before you accept the NYer’s opinion of how much holders of graduate degrees have done for high-school dropouts.

  • Jim.

    Watch the trajectory of gay “marriage” legislation a little more carefully before you decide whether it’s plausible that there’s a minority of Christians who want to impose their version of morality on the rest of their countrymen (ha), or whether there’s a tiny minority of very loud seculars who want to impose their morality on the rest of their countrymen.

    In the handful of states that gay “marriage” statues have been spawned, in only one case (Vermont) was that with anything like a significant majority of the electorate.

    The vast majority of states have democratically passed laws defending traditional marriage, with many of those states passing those laws with the vast majority of voters. There’s practically enough to get a Constitutional Amendment passed. If the courts get any more drunk with their own power on this issue, we absolutely should.

    Mead, you’re aiding and abetting the Leftist MSM narrative that there’s some kind of relentless march towards novelty, here.

    You’re materially contributing to a system that can only survive if it criminalizes the conscience of its opposition — if people can be allowed to say, “Marriage is between one man and one woman” without fearing reprisals from HR, or if they can be allowed to say, “I don’t want my elementary school, high school, or college kids taught that wrong is right”, or for a pastor to teach in a public forum, “Homosexuality is morally wrong, and those who practice it should repent, and seek forgiveness and absolution” then the whole drive towards redefining the basic unit of human reproduction (and taking personal responsibility for that reproduction) and biological bonding to include something that cannot possibly reproduce itself collapses under the weight of its own absurdity.

    It is the Left that is pushing its morality onto others, here, plain and simple. They are pushing an interpretation of the Constitution that is utterly incompatible with centuries of jurisprudence, and also utterly incompatible with any kind of thought by clergy or faithful that is not OK’d by secular fashion. Ultimately, they want to deprive religious peoples’ votes of any weight or meaning, and if they can silence or jail us in the meantime (as they do in Canada), so much the better.

    You are on the wrong side here, Mead. The wrong side of jurisprudence, the wrong side of freedom, the wrong side of Scripture, the wrong side of tradition, even the wrong side of Rationality itself.

    This is worth fighting for. This is bringing Catholic, Evangelical, and (Confessing) Mainline Protestant together, because it is how we maintain our independence from the repeated attempts of Secular anti-religious bigots to render our faith in God’s Word meaningless, and to show that criminalizing it (as has happened in Canada, for example) is not going to fly.

    Come join the good fight, Walter — or at least stop cheerleading for the enemy.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service