For months we have been covering the fact that a handful of Religious Right leaders, including Mat Staver and Richard Land, are supporting immigration reform that offers a path to citizenship for immigrants already in the country and pointing that that for all their talk of compassion and Biblical obligations and whatnot, what they really care about is swelling the ranks of their movement.
And nobody has been more open about this than Richard Land, who freely admits that he supports immigration reform because most of the immigrants are Hispanic and Hispanics are “tailor-made to be social conservatives” … if the majority of immigrants weren’t ripe for “aggressive evangelism” he’d have a much harder time supporting reform:
Evangelical groups in recent weeks have become key players in the Obama administration’s efforts to get immigration reform moving in Congress. And while they have largely couched their arguments in moral terms or with references to biblical teachings, top leaders acknowledge another important reason:
Latino immigrants, legal and illegal, represent fertile prospects for proselytizing.
“First and foremost, it’s a kingdom issue, and, second, it’s a moral issue,” Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told POLITICO. “We have hundreds of thousands of Hispanic Southern Baptists and many of them are undocumented. … It’s no secret that we practice aggressive evangelism. Many of these people were converted after they got here.”
Some evangelicals have stirred the pot further by drawing a contrast between predominantly Christian immigrants to the U.S. and a largely Muslim migration to Western Europe.
“Realistically, I think it is probably more politically feasible to do this because the overwhelming majority of the people that we’re talking about come from a European civilization,” said Land. “It would be more problematic if we had 12 [million] to 14 million undocumented people and they were either Oriental or Islamic. … Whether that is right or wrong, I’m just giving you a realistic political calculation.”