Latinos For Texas Blog


Why the GOP’s efforts to win Hispanic voters is at odds with the racist right-wingers who are the heart of the Republican Party

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Charlie Savage, of the Boston Globe, writes about the efforts made by Hispanic evangelicals to reverse anti-immigrant legislation.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of a group he says represents 15 million Hispanic evangelical Christians, said his fellow social conservatives are making a historic mistake. By spurning proposals to give illegal immigrants a shot at citizenship instead of deportation, they are making it easier for supporters of abortion and same-sex marriage to win elections.

‘’This is a watershed moment for the Republican Party,” said Rodriguez, digging into a steak at an American flag-festooned restaurant near the US Capitol, where he had been lobbying GOP leaders last week. ‘’Hispanics are social conservatives. Their votes can determine the next 25 years of national elections. But all that is in jeopardy, based on what is happening.”

What is happening is that the GOP-led Congress is on the verge of making sweeping changes in border-security laws this year that could shape political alliances in the Southwest for decades.

Republicans are split over what to do with the millions of undocumented immigrants already inside the United States.

Some support intensifying efforts to deport them all. Others, including President Bush and Senator John McCain of Arizona, favor letting them stay as legalized guest workers if they come forward and pay a fine and back taxes.

Rodriguez, chief executive officer of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and a handful of other religious activists said they hope Congress will adopt a version that allows undocumented immigrants to stay in the country with a shot at becoming citizens.

They contend that taking an immigrant-friendly approach could help social conservatives win the culture wars for decades to come.

The numbers help make Rodriguez’s case: Of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, about 80 percent are from Latin America. And, according to a 2002 Pew Hispanic Center poll, 77 percent of foreign-born Latinos believe that abortion is unacceptable, and 73 percent reject homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.

But Rodriguez has not gotten far with his contention that social conservatives who advocate deportation are being short-sighted. The House of Representatives has passed a bill calling for stepped up deportation efforts. Many conservative lawmakers in the House balked at giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, saying that would reward lawbreakers.

Last week, the Senate began work on its own immigration bill. Several lawmakers have filed versions that would allow the undocumented to stay legally as guest workers, but some lawmakers most opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage are urging their colleagues to focus only on deportation.

Somehow I don’t think it’s going to work. Here’s what Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-CO, says in reaction to mainstream Christian activists who support helping immigrants become citizens :

‘’The faith community must step forward and tell left-leaning activists that undermining border security is not a religious imperative,” he said.

And this is why the long-term GOP project is going to fail: Christian nationalists have more in common with atheist racists than with Christian immigrants. And it isn’t Christ that they share. The whole article is a must read, and page 2 reminds us that Christians are biblically called to care for immigrants, along with the weak, sick, and suffering.


Ceasar’s renderings need a prayerful view

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:51 am

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Margie Medrano writes in to say:

I am sending you the article Ceasar’s renderings need a prayerful view that appeared this month, in the Catholic Spirit, a newspaper that goes out each month to all the Catholics in the Diocese. This article is part of an effort of the Faithful Citizenship committee (that Steve & I are on), with our goal being to enlighten people on the relationship between Catholic Social teachings & how these are reflected in current social/political issues.

Unfortunately the article is not posted on the diocese website so I am sending it to you as a PDF file. So you don’t have to read it sideways click on “view” in the toolbar at the top & towards the bottom of the “view” menu you can rotate it “clockwise” to read upright.

Its available right here as a PDF, and its worth reading.

two good links in the article brought here for convenience:
Texas Impact and
Center for Public Policy Priorities


My Kind of Christians

Filed under: — kevin @ 7:57 am

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Here is an email I received from a friend. The writer here is Rick Ufford-Chase, the moderator of the PC(USA)’s General Assembly (the national governing body of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.). For the record, I’m a deacon at Austin’s Central Presbyterian Church. Our motto is, “Deliberately Diverse and Fully Inclusive.” A refreshing change when all we hear about in the mainstream media are religious bigots and extremist politicians who pander to them.


June 26th, 2002 was the last time I spent the night here at the shelter for migrants in Altar, Sonora, Mexico. It seems hard to believe that it’s been almost three and a half years. That night, I was with a group of seminarians from Chicago, and a dozen or so migrants from southern Mexico and Central America. We North Americans heard their stories, and then after they had drifted off to the dormitory, the rest of us quietly opened our bedrolls, spread our sheets and blankets, and carried their stories to bed with us.

We had heard about their families and their harrowing tales of hiking in the desert. Their desperation became real to us as they shared that the two gallons of water each had carried with him had disappeared all too quickly, finally becoming a few precious swallows that nothing short of a miracle could make last through the miles that still lay ahead. They had stories of hiking hard for three and four days, getting picked up by a car arranged by their smuggler, and being apprehended by the Border Patrol a few miles short of the safe house in Tucson where they were headed. Their stories evidenced a grim determination, a resolve that nothing would stop them from trying again and again to reach for a steady wage to send money home to their families.

And then, everyone else slept that night while I sat on the floor in the dark and wondered what God would have me do. That was the night I first discerned a call to stand for the position of Moderator. I felt called to lift up these stories, and to implore Christ’s church to respond.

Now, forty months later and after serving the church as Moderator of the General Assembly for almost sixteen months, here I am again. This time I’m accompanied by a different group of people.


Sojourner’s Editor Jim Wallis in Austin, 9/21

Filed under: — kevin @ 10:00 am

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From an email I received:

Jim Wallis will be speaking at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest’s 2005 Blandy Lectures on Wednesday, September 21, 2005, at 6:30 p.m.

Jim’s keynote address will be held at El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission in the city. Tickets are $10 at the door. All proceeds go to support the ministries of El Buen Samaritano. For maps and directions, please visit here.

Jim Wallis is the author of the recent New York Times bestseller, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It.

Jim is also founder and editor of Sojourners and convener of Call to Renewal.

Jim Wallis is one of the leaders of the Religious Left and a phenomenal speaker. If you haven’t read his most recent book, do so ahorita.


Biblical Musings

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Just finished my nightly Bible reading (I read two chapters a night) and I found some interesting stuff, especially in light of the Texas Lege fireworks over the GOP “plan” for education and taxes and the recent talk about immigration. Behold, the truth:

“You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You shall not abuse any widow or orphan. If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry; my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall be become widows and your children orphans.

If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them….And if your neighbor cries out to me, I will listen, for I am compassionate.” (Exodus 22: 21-25, 27b.)

(For context, these codes of conduct come after the 10 Commandments, as Moses is laying down the law for the Israelites after they have escaped from captivity in Egypt.) So it looks like God hates racist immigration policies, those who would cut CPS and APS funding, as well as predatory lendors. The part about the widows and orphans sounds a lot like the Golden Rule. And that’s why they call God “the widow-maker.”

I think I’ll make this a regular column because there is so much good stuff in here. Buenas noches.


“All God’s Children Got Values” — but do we have a doctrine?

Filed under: — site admin @ 5:15 pm

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Michael Walzer writes in Dissent Magazine a long and meaty article that touches on faith, passion, values, principles, theory (and their differences) and how to tell a story of the “American Way” that connects to ordinary citizens. He observes that the “pragmatic left” faces “ideologically driven politics” without an overall “imperial doctrine,” rendering Progressive values and principles, let alone policies, as “weak and uncommitted” to those fundamentally uncomfortable with the complexities of the world.

That is, it might well be true that most people, whether they recognize it or not, find comfort in the belief that someone somewhere really has the answers. Progressives must have the passion of a true belief in a doctrine that hangs together the disparate elements (issues) of an ordinary citizen’s life to provide answers of what “ought to be done.” This doctrine is “imperial” because it controls the theories, values, and eventually policies of a party. Quite the intriguing idea…

In fact, ideology rules everywhere on the right, across the spectrum of issues in which right-wing intellectuals and activists take an interest (note the combination: it used to be only the left that had intellectuals and activists). Everywhere, we see radically coherent, single-causal analyses of social problems and radical proposals to deal with the problems once and for all: lower and lower taxes, privatized Social Security, tests and more tests in the public schools, torture for terrorists, war for Saddam, democracy for the Arabs. And everything will be wonderful, after the revolution….

Most of us on the near-left live in a complex world, which we are not sure we understand, and we move around in that world pragmatically, practicing a politics of trial and error. We defend policies like Social Security, which have worked pretty well, and try to make them work a little better. We want more redistributive tax and welfare systems, but we are not Bolshevik egalitarians-even if our opponents are Bolshevik inegalitarians. We opposed the Iraq War but are painfully unsure about how to get out and when. National health insurance is the most radical proposal that I’ve heard from American liberals in recent years, and it’s a European commonplace.

read more…. and tell me what you think.


1987 San Antonio: ¡Viva, Papa!

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 8:37 am

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I was in the sixth grade at St. James the Apostle when Pope John Paul came to San Antonio. Other than the picture we took of him driving by in his popemobile, I do not remember much of the celebration, but J. Michael Parker of the San Antonio Express-News has a nice article in today’s paper.

The pope in San Antonio
Web Posted: 04/08/2005 12:00 AM CDT

J. Michael Parker
Express-News Religion Writer

San Antonio gave Pope John Paul II a welcome he didn’t forget during his nine-city tour of the United States in September 1987.

During his 22-hour visit to the city Sept. 13, more than 1 million people saw him — more than in any other city on that 10-day tour — and their enthusiasm was evident.

The tour that began Sept. 10 in Miami also took him to Columbia, S.C; New Orleans; Phoenix; Los Angeles; Monterey, Calif.; San Francisco; and Detroit.

Even Detroit, despite its huge Polish community and the many friends he’d made there during a 1976 visit as a cardinal, didn’t match the fiesta-style enthusiasm he found in the Alamo City.

The globe-trotting pontiff, then still in robust health, was so delighted by the crowds of well-wishers greeting him from every corner on his ride from Kelly AFB to the Westover Hills Mass site that he decided to ride in his open “popemobile” on the rest of his tour through the city — a total of 22 miles instead of the previously intended 6 — so more people could see him.

The bulletproof popemobile was made to protect him while still allowing him to be visible to crowds after the May 13, 1981, assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square. Previously, he’d customarily ridden in open cars.

The Mass, attended by an estimated 300,000 people, was the largest gathering of people at a single place and time in the history of the Southwest. Archbishop Patrick Flores had told pastors not to celebrate Mass in their parishes that Sunday in order to encourage more parishioners to attend the historic papal Mass.

Even a sudden windstorm just days earlier that blew down two 150-foot towers of scaffolding erected for the altar backdrop didn’t dampen the festive mood of the city. In fact, the momentary disappointment brought the community together. Volunteers materialized from every direction, cleared away the debris and restored the dignified church-like appearance of the site in time for the pontiff’s arrival.

Flores used the mishap to make a proud statement to the pope, quipping: “The towers fell down, but the Catholic Church in Texas is still standing.”

Flores, who was at the pontiff’s side nearly every waking moment of the San Antonio visit, later recalled he’d felt like pinching himself.

“It was difficult to believe this was really happening,” the archbishop said. “I didn’t think it was possible a pope would actually come to San Antonio, particularly in my lifetime.”

Many other San Antonians voiced the same sentiment after the pontiff’s departure, he said.

“I’ve never had any remorse about the money we had to raise. It wasn’t raised for him, it was for those who wanted to see him and couldn’t have otherwise,” Flores said.

The prelate recalled a meeting in Vatican City the previous March when the pontiff had told him, “‘I’m coming to San Antonio because you invited me. They tell me it is un Mexico chiquito (a little Mexico).’

“I told him, ‘No, Holy Father, it is un Mexico grandote (a big Mexico).’”

From start to finish, Pope John Paul II’s visit reflected the lively, colorful, enthusiastic faith and culture that defines San Antonio’s Hispanic Catholic heritage.

The pontiff lunched with Texas bishops in Flores’ second-floor apartment at Assumption Seminary, addressed a national Catholic Charities convention in Municipal Auditorium, met with candidates for the priesthood and religious life in San Fernando Cathedral, greeted Hispanics at Guadalupe Plaza and ended the day with an emotional visit at the seminary with Texas’ Polish community — including the entire population of Panna Maria, the nation’s oldest permanent Polish settlement.

In the packed cathedral, future priests, nuns and brothers joyfully shouted, “¡Viva, Papa! ¡Viva, Papa!” They laughed when he made a comment about “men and women” and then playfully corrected himself to say “women and men.”

Archbishop Patrick Flores and Pope John Paul II kneel in prayer at San Fernando Cathedral. One of the most pivotal dates in San Antonio's modern history is Sept. 13, 1987, the day the pope stayed here for about 22 hours.

As the happy pontiff rode in his popemobile to Kelly AFB the next morning, 30,000 San Antonians showed their appreciation for his visit by lining his route at 7 a.m. They serenaded him joyfully and gave him a rousing despedida, or farewell.

The whole visit combined faith with emotion.



Texas Religious Leaders Tell President, Congress: The Only Mandate that Matters is God’s

Filed under: — kevin @ 11:46 am

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From Texas Impact :

Texas Religious Leaders Tell President, Congress: The Only Mandate that Matters is God’s

Statement Signed by More Than 1,000 Leaders Nationwide Reflects Consensus that Protecting God’s Creation is a Moral Issue, Denounces Clear Skies Initiative as Moral Violation and Calls for Action on Climate Change
AUSTIN — With the Kyoto Protocol set to go into effect without U.S. support this week at the same time that the Administration’s “Clear Skies Initiative” is scheduled for markup in Congress, Texas religious leaders are joining colleagues nationwide to tell the Bush administration and members of Congress that the only “mandate” that matters is God’s.
In a statement released today, clergy from across Texas expressed alarm at the Administration’s erosion of protection for God’s creation. Religious leaders oppose the Clear Skies initiative and proposals to weaken the Endangered Species Act, and are calling on the Administration to take action on climate change.

The statement was released by Texas Impact, a statewide interfaith network that works with clergy and congregations on air quality and other issues.”


2004 Latino Elections, Womans Suffrage, ‘knowledge capitalization’, and religion, democracy

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Great Stuff At UT Austin:

Two-day conference examines 2004 Latino elections

Leading Latino politics and education experts from around the country discuss the issues and accomplishments of Latino voters in the 2004 elections during a two-day conference from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today and from 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Saturday. Today’s sessions are in the Francis Auditorium and Saturday’s sessions are in the Eidman Courtroom, both in the School of Law. All sessions are open to the public.

Lecture focuses on ‘Partisan Politics of Woman Suffrage’

Corrine McConnaughy, assistant professor in Government, discusses, “From the Outside In: Gender, Race and the Partisan Politics of Woman Suffrage” at noon in the Gebauer Building, Room 4.200C. The lecture, sponsored by the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, is free and open to the public.

Visiting professor discusses ‘knowledge capitalization’

Professor Elisa Cobas Flores, Tecnologico de Monterrey, presents “New Venture Creation: The Challenge for Knowledge Capitalization” at noon in the College of Business Administration Building, Room 3.304. Flores specializes in economic-environmental analysis and the service life of products. Seating is limited. RSVP to

Political theory workshop investigates religion, democracy

J. Judd Owen, assistant professor of political science at Emory University, discusses “Is Devout Religion Good for Democracy? The Enlightenment’s Ambiguous Legacy” at noon in the Gebauer Building, Room 3.312. The lecture is free and open to the public.

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