If by some miracle an immigration bill passes this year, President Obama will have an unlikely ally to thank: Evangelical Christians. While Congressional Republicans oppose such a bill nearly unanimously and Democratic support has wavered, Evangelical leaders are prominently backing Obama's effort, partly due to their growing solidarity with politically active Hispanic Evangelical pastors. And, unlike their Catholic, Jewish, and mainline Protestant counterparts, Evangelical leaders have pull with Republicans. Can the Religious Right save immigration reform?
Their plan is intriguing: "Comprehensive reform won’t get passed without some Republican support," says Elise Foley in The Washington Independent, and the Evangelicals have a decent plan: "Encourage a few lame-duck Republicans to join Democrats and pass a 'morally right' immigration bill after the midterm elections." That said, Religious Right leaders will inevitably withdraw their support if the bill includes "provisions to ease immigration for gay and lesbian couples."
"Evangelical leaders support immigration reform — as long as it doesn't include gay rights"
Same story, different year: This same story could have been written three years ago, the last time "amnesty-for-illegals" was on the agenda, says Clay Waters at the Media Research Center. In fact it was, citing some of the very same "religious conservatives." They failed then, and they'll likely fail again, despite the "appearance of momentum."
"Christians: Surprising allies... just like they were three years ago"
This is too big for Evangelicals to drop: One of the Evangelical leaders' "greatest challenges" is "persuading their own flocks," say Josh Gerstein and Ben Smith in Politico. And perhaps their "edgier or more novel arguments" — such as "Mexicans are Christians, not Muslims" — will "break through" eventually, even if not this year. But their flocks are also why they'll try again: "Latino immigrants, legal and illegal, represent fertile prospects for proselytizing."
"Churches eye immigration's upside"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What if Leo Strauss was right?
- Feast your eyes on this beautiful linguistic family tree
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
Subscribe to the Week