Monday, August 25, 2008

Evangelicals need to get it right on Hispanics, immigrants

Update August 26, 2008: Saritha Prabhu asks, "One can't ignore the irony here: a city frequently termed the buckle of the Bible Belt that is now insisting on an exclusionary law that would adopt a rigid, uncompassionate, almost un-Christ-like position with, underline here — no exceptions for health and safety. Do we want to be that city?"

On Friday, Mack of Coyote Chronicles caught Rob Huddleston making this unsourced comment about the tragic shooting at Knoxville's Central High:
The shooter was Hispanic and apparently acted like some sort of gangster after pulling the trigger, walking calmly out of the school.
Huddleston is Treasurer of the Knox County Young Republicans, but more to the point of this post, he is also a Deacon of Immanuel Baptist Church.

Update August 26, 2008: Aunt B. gets close to what troubles me about Huddleston's comment here. It's also that he was careless (or worse, intentional) about using the word "Hispanic" in a negative context.

And then on Sunday, we hear this quote from Gary Ashley, a self-proclaimed Shelbyville liberal Protestant (maybe not an evangelical), on the Somalian immigrant population that has been drawn to his city:
The Somolians don't use toilet paper… They use their hand and then wash it without soap...
I have written multiple articles on the intersection of faith and Hispanic Nashville, and it is an issue with which I wrestle constantly. Questions I ask myself include, what is the role for God's evangelical church in the U.S., of which I am a part - are we called to speak out for others who are under attack - are we called to have a role in political decisions that treat the "least of these" with disproportionate injustice?

Rob Huddleston, the Baptist Deacon mentioned above, said in this post on his site that he wants to be inspired. Well, that's the aim of my site - to inspire - so I submit to him these voices who have inspired me:(Of course this list leaves out many local Nashville heroes whose voices have been critical on this issue - to name just one, the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.)

In an environment in which Hispanics and/or immigrants are the subject of politically generated suspicion and scorn, it certainly isn't right for Southern Baptists and other evangelicals to gin up more suspicion and scorn.

Silence feels just as wrong.

See also Liberty Together, which tracks pro-immigrant opinion, and this promo for

Photo by Ann Althouse. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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