Court Evangelical Samuel Rodriguez Steps Up to the Plate

SamuelRodriguez-a

The website of Samuel Rodriguez, the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, lists several accolades he has received in the last five years

  • “40 People Who Radically Changed The World”–Charisma Magazine, 2015
  • “101 Most Influential Leaders” —Latino Leaders Magazine 2015 and 2017
  • “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America”–Newsmax, 201
  •  Nominated as one of the “100 most influential people in the world,” TIME, 2013
  • “10 White & Brown MLKs of Our Time”–Black Christian News, 2013

Let’s add one more honor: “Court Evangelical, 2017″

I must admit I am a bit baffled by Rodriguez’s recent interview with James Randall Robison (son of court evangelical James Robison) at the Christian website “The Stream.”

Read the interview here.

A few thoughts:

Rodriguez says:

President Trump has a commitment and it’s not just rhetoric: He really wants to make America, in his terms, “great again.” He really wants to reinforce the values that made it exceptional: God over man, man over government. That powerful value, that rights are given by God. Number two, limit the government. The more government grows the more man’s personal liberties are cast aside, and our dependency becomes on government, not on our own God-given abilities.

I find it very interesting that a person of color like Rodriguez would be endorsing the phrase “Make America Great Again” in the way he does here.  The United States is a republic.  I am not sure what Rodriguez means when he says that to “make America great again” is to “reinforce” the “value” of “God over man.” It is also ironic that a court evangelical is lamenting the fact that Christians and Americans generally have become dependent on government to accomplish their goals.  Court evangelicals like Rodriguez rely on access to government power and victories in political elections to bring change. They want a strong central government so they can use it promote their moral values.

Rodriguez says:

President Trump is a businessman. He is not a polished politician. I have not agreed with every single word that has come out of President Trump’s mouth. At all. Neither did I agree with President Obama. But I respected the office when President Obama was in office, and I prayed for him daily. And I honored him in deed. I took it personal when people would say “We’re not even praying for this President. There is no way we can even ask God to bless this President.” I find that to be anti-Christian.

When are the court evangelicals and other defenders of Trump going to stop excusing the President’s bad behavior because he is a “businessman” and not a “polished politician?” Trump is now the President of the United States.  He has been in office for over seventh months.  There has been no change.

I should also add that Rodriguez is right when he says that Christians should be praying for Donald Trump.

Rodriguez says:

With President Trump there are a number of things that he has stated, maybe a couple of tweets, a number of tweets, his articulation regarding certain issues have not been as nuanced or as compassionate as I would have framed it.

I am starting to see the difference between the court evangelicals and the evangelicals, like myself, who oppose Trump.  The court evangelicals start with the premise that Trump is a good, faith-friendly POTUS with some minor flaws.  Yes, he sometimes screws-up with his tweets and rhetoric, but at his core he is a fine man and a finer president.  On the other hand, I start with the premise that Trump is immoral, corrupt, has mostly bad policies, is unfit for office, is an anti-intellectual, and is largely bad for America.  And yes, on rare occasions he does something right.

Finally, Rodriguez challenges the identity politics thinking of the day that tells him he is a “Latino” before he is a “Christian.”  I am sympathetic to this critique of identity politics. But unlike Rodriguez, I am not sure Donald Trump, the man who rode white identity politics to the Oval Office, is the best man to champion if you are concerned about this issue.

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