Barrett Duke

Religious Right Leaders Urge GOP to Fix Relationship with Heaven-Sent Latinos

A major theme at the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference last weekend was the need for more effective outreach to Hispanic Christians. Religious Right leaders who are trying to bring more Latinos into the conservative political movement know they are swimming upstream against the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the GOP primaries and the Tea Party, the impact of anti-immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama, and the hostility of GOP elected officials to the DREAM Act. They fear that the well-earned antipathy of Latino voters toward the GOP could prevent them from defeating Barack Obama, which they believe is necessary to prevent the country’s slide into socialist, secularist tyranny.

Several strategies for repairing the breach were on display.

To GOP leaders and the conservatives attending the Awakening, organizers and speakers delivered a surprisingly blunt denunciation of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has led to the disastrously low polling numbers for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. At Saturday’s panel on immigration, if you closed your eyes you could almost imagine that you were at a La Raza-sponsored gathering. All the panelists talked about the need for multifaceted “comprehensive immigration reform,” a term that has been vilified by right-wing activists and Republicans as code for “amnesty.”

The Southern Baptists’ Richard Land said it was “absurd” to deport teens whose parents had brought them to the US as children. “I was depressed and angered by the response that Rick Perry got at the debate when he was defending the in-state tuition for the children of undocumented workers in Texas,” said Land, who decried those who “would condemn them to the margins of society and waste a precious national recourse.” During the presidential primary, Land lamented, “the Republican party has painted itself into a corner, and then having surveyed the damage, applied a second coat.” He said many people think Florida Sen. Marco Rubio would be the best possible running mate for Romney, because his support for a “conservative DREAM Act” (which falls far short of the real thing) would be a step toward improving a “dismal and indefensible policy by the Republican Party and the Republican candidates.”


Robert Gittelson, a businessman and co-founder of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, called strategies to push immigrants to “self-deport” by making their lives miserable – Romney’s stated approach -- “unbiblical” and “cruel.” Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research and Director of the Research Institute of the Southern Baptist’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, talked about a paper he has co-written with Land for Regent University’s law journal, which reviews Bible verses about treatment of strangers. He criticized an “offended citizen” or “law and order” approach to illegal immigration, urging conservatives to take a love-thy-neighbor perspective. “I am not a citizen of the United States first,” he said, “I am a Christian first.”

Panelists even opposed Arizona’s wildly-popular-among-conservatives SB 1070. Regent University president Carlos Campo said the law was “impractical” and made it “almost impossible” for law enforcement not to engage in ethnic profiling. Gittelson worried that if the law is upheld by the Supreme Court, 21 to 23 states would pass similar laws within a year.

And Regent University’s Campo even cautioned against putting too much emphasis on “assimilation,” saying that the “melting pot can burn off some important things.” Land added that the US had been enriched in its culture, cuisine, and music by waves of immigration, though all agreed on the importance of English remaining a common language in the US.

Friday night’s opening session was devoted to Hispanic outreach. Samuel Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, was scheduled to give the keynote, but he was kept away by a basketball injury so organizers showed his speech from a previous gathering. Rodriguez tries to sell conservatives on bringing Latino evangelicals into the movement; he gets a warm reception by preaching a Religious Right-Tea Party view of government, saying the big-government “Pharaoh” wants to silence Christians and make people dependent on the government.

But Rodriguez and others are also pushing an even bolder strategy for convincing white evangelicals to take a friendlier view of undocumented immigrants – one that was picked up on by other speakers at the Awakening. You could call it the Hispanic Exceptionalism corollary to the theory of divinely inspired American Exceptionalism that is a constant refrain at these gatherings. According to this Hispanic Exceptionalism theory, illegal Hispanic immigrants have actually sent by God to save America from itself.

Self-proclaimed “apostle” Cindy Jacobs told Awakening attendees that God has gathered Latino people to the United States and given them a special emphasis on families and children. As RWW has reported, Rodriguez recently made the same pitch on evangelist James Robison’s TV show. “Now, why has God permitted these Hispanics to arrive in America in the 21st Century? I think it’s a prophetic purpose, and that is to redeem Christianity or we will end up even worse than post-modern Europe.” Rodriguez said the Hispanic community “can once again help make the gospel of Jesus Christ, the church, the most influential institution in America” and he warned that “when we talk about deporting, we are deporting Christianity in America in the 21st century.”

Southern Baptist Priorities For 2010: Fighting Gay Rights

Richard Land and Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission are claiming credit for having played in "instrumental" role in thwarting President Obama goals in 2009 and as they lay out the Southern Baptists' legislative agenda for 2010 which focuses heavily on fighting against reproductive choice and gay rights:

Whenever the voters have been given the opportunity to decide the question of same-sex marriage in their states, they have opted to support traditional marriage. Nevertheless, the battle to protect marriage is far from over. Right now, the U.S. District Court for Northern California is reviewing Perry v. Schwarzenegger, in which proponents of same-sex marriage are trying to undo the vote of the people by judicial fiat. The ERLC submitted an amicus brief in that case, supporting the will of the majority of the people in California. In all probability, this is the case that will end up before the U. S. Supreme Court, and decide whether or not the federal judiciary will leave the issue of same-sex marriage to the will of the people or seek to dictate to the people as they have on the sanctity of human life. The ERLC will join the battle for traditional marriage all the way to the Supreme Court.

We are also heavily engaged in trying to prevent the D.C. City Council from imposing same-sex marriage on the District of Columbia. We support efforts in Congress to require a vote by the District’s residents. We believe the majority of the District’s residents do not want to be known as the same-sex marriage capital, but instead want to support traditional marriage as the only form of marriage.

We will also continue to resist efforts in Congress to advance other aspects of the homosexual special rights agenda. Unfortunately, liberals in Congress did manage to pass the Hate Crimes legislation that provides special federal protections for homosexuals that are not available to most other people who are victims of violence. The next goal of homosexual rights groups is passage of the Employment Non-discrimination Act, which will prevent businesses from considering sexual orientation in their hiring practices and make it more difficult for people who oppose aberrant sexual behavior to express their beliefs about it in the workplace without fear of reprisal. This is certainly a free speech and religious freedom issue. Further, the President announced in his State of the Union address his intention to repeal existing law that bars active homosexuals from serving in the military. Liberals in Congress are fully supportive. We will continue to stand against this effort that would weaken troop morale and readiness for combat.

The Obama Administration has already ordered the federal government to extend spousal benefits to same-sex couples in its employment. It is likely that this is a first step toward repeal of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which the Administration has already declared it does not like. While we do not believe that will happen in the coming year, we stand ready to oppose any effort that will weaken our nation’s resolve to maintain its commitment to traditional marriage.

...

As we predicted, we spent most of last year resisting liberal efforts to undermine biblical values. Considering the daunting challenges we faced at the beginning of 2009, we believe traditional Judeo-Christian values won out in most cases. It is likely that we will be defending these values from liberal attacks in 2010 as well. However, we will continue to look for ways to move responsible, God-honoring measures forward. 

Right Attacks California Marriage Ruling

Not surprisingly, the Right’s reaction to last week’s ruling by the California Supreme Court in favor of equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians was swift and negative.

Former Rep. Ernest Istook, now of the Heritage Foundation, evoked Nazi metaphors to blame those who supported civil unions as a compromise: “By trying to appease homosexual rights activists, those who have refused to stand up for traditional marriage helped to create this court ruling.  They are the Neville Chamberlains of the cultural wars.”

Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission said he was "saddened for the people of California" but "especially for the children of that state."

"The California Supreme Court ruling not only overruled the very clear will of the people, it also proposes to overrule God's design," Duke said. "These judges may think they know more about marriage than the rest of us, but I am confident they don't know more about marriage than God. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Children need that environment to give them their best chance to fulfill their great potential. That's not only my opinion and the opinion of most of the people in this country, it's God's opinion, and His opinion overrules the opinion of any judges.

Indeed, the Right emphasized this “activist judges” angle; Gary Bauer, attacking the “four unelected robed radicals,” wrote:

It was an egregious exercise in judicial activism – of judges wielding raw political power to redefine our most basic values. But that is how the Left has succeeded. It cannot achieve its goals through the democratic process via the elected legislatures, so it ignores the people and goes to the courts, where it relies on political activists cloaked in black who answer to no one. The Left succeeds by using the most undemocratic methods possible.

Of course, Bauer may not realize that, while appointed at first, justices on California’s Supreme Court face voters at the next general election; each of the justices in the majority for this case has been retained by voters at least once. Bauer is probably aware, though, that the “elected legislature” in California passed marriage equality in 2005 and 2007, only to have it vetoed both times by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Nevertheless, right-wing activists hoped the decision would energize opponents of gay rights into action. “The good news is that I believe this will re-ignite the debate over a federal constitutional amendment,” according to Concerned Women for America’s Matt Barber. Jan LaRue called on Californians to recall members of the state’s Supreme Court in the way they recalled the governor several years ago. “Are you going to sit by and do nothing while four black-robed despots take away your right to govern yourselves?”

Meanwhile, the effort to put on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage on the California ballot continues—now, apparently, with more funding.

And, in spite of a beleaguered GOP’s effort to keep a low profile on social wedge issues during this election cycle, the Right is hoping the decision will push John McCain to “speak out more strongly in support of defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” as Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council put it.

Syndicate content

Barrett Duke Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 04/24/2012, 11:00am
A major theme at the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference last weekend was the need for more effective outreach to Hispanic Christians. Religious Right leaders who are trying to bring more Latinos into the conservative political movement know they are swimming upstream against the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the GOP primaries and the Tea Party, the impact of anti-immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama, and the hostility of GOP elected officials to the DREAM Act. They fear that the well-earned antipathy of Latino voters toward the GOP could prevent them from defeating Barack Obama... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/11/2010, 1:39pm
Richard Land and Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission are claiming credit for having played in "instrumental" role in thwarting President Obama goals in 2009 and as they lay out the Southern Baptists' legislative agenda for 2010 which focuses heavily on fighting against reproductive choice and gay rights: Whenever the voters have been given the opportunity to decide the question of same-sex marriage in their states, they have opted to support traditional marriage. Nevertheless, the battle to protect marriage is far from over. Right now, the... MORE >
, Tuesday 05/20/2008, 11:21am
Not surprisingly, the Right’s reaction to last week’s ruling by the California Supreme Court in favor of equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians was swift and negative. Former Rep. Ernest Istook, now of the Heritage Foundation, evoked Nazi metaphors to blame those who supported civil unions as a compromise: “By trying to appease homosexual rights activists, those who have refused to stand up for traditional marriage helped to create this court ruling.  They are the Neville Chamberlains of the cultural wars.” Barrett Duke of the Southern... MORE >