As I've pointed out before
,the fact that a growing percentage of Hispanics are Evangelical Protestants does not necessarily mean they are assimilating.
A recent article
in La Opinion
(Evangelicos Latinos Entre la Espada y La Pared Electoral, La Opinion
, By Pilar Marrero, Aug. 10th, 2008) reports a meeting of Hispanic Evangelicals held on August 7th in California:
...in a conference room of Vanguard, a Christian university in Costa Mesa, some 50 pastors and evangelical leaders wrestled with a difficult question: "What values are more important when it's time to choose the president of the nation?"
Here is how Samuel Rodriguez, president of the NHCLC (National Hispanic Christian Leadership Coalition) put it:
Both presidential campaigns have asked us, "What is it that you want? What are your priorities?" We are definitely divided...What is more important, life and marriage or the subject of immigration?
The article says that
Traditionally, the evangelical vote has gone to the Republicans, principally for the moral issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and other issues,,, Nevertheless,,,.Evangelical Latinos also have other pressing concerns : education, health and immigration, said various of the pastors in attendance.
The article reports that in 2004, 63% of Evangelical Hispanics voted for Bush. However,
This year,,, both campaigns,,, have Evangelical Latinos in their sights. Both sent representatives to the meeting who were questioned by various pastors.
This year's political tendencies aren't as clear as one might imagine. ,,,.two leaders of the NHCLC, evangelical pastors, have advisory roles in the campaigns. Wilfredo de Jes?us, pastor of a mega church in Chicago, is an Obama advisor, and Mark Gonzalez, the NHCLC's vice-president of governmental affairs, is on McCain's advisory committee.
One of those who came to appeal to the Hispanic pastors was Juan Hernandez, McCain`s Hispanic outreach director, of whom I`ve written before
Juan Hernandez, McCain's representative, said to the pastors assembled at Vanguard that the Republican is not only aligned with them on the values of abortion, gay marriage and the naming of conservative justices to the Supreme Court.
Hernandez defended McCain for his role in the McCain-Kennedy Amnesty:
"McCain was with us when it was necessary", said Hernandez repeatedly, referring to the leadership of the Republican in 2006 in co-sponsoring a project of migratory reform together with Democratic Senator Kennedy. "I know how his heart is and how he feels about Hispanics and immigrants."
However, some pastors questioned McCain`s representative about his migratory reform position. "Isn`t it true that McCain has backpedaled on this issue?",
asked Alejandro Mandes, director of Hispanic ministries of the Evangelical Free Church of America.
Hernandez said that was not true, that it was a "lie" of the media.