The idea that growing minority populations in the U.S. will lead to a decrease in traditional Judeo-Christian values is misguided, according to Samuel Rodriguez, president/CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Speaking at the inaugural Evangelicals for Life Conference Jan. 21-22 in Washington, D.C., he said, “Latinos are staunchly pro-life. We are a pro-life community.”
The title of the TED-style presentation was “Pro Vida: Why Hispanic Evangelicals are Distinctly Pro-Life.”
Samuel Rodriguez, president/CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Recent demographic studies show that America is on its way to becoming a majority non-white population. The Pew Research Center projects ethnic minorities will outnumber White populations as early as 2055. The growing number of Hispanic Americans will be one of the primary factors in that demographic shift, increasing by 28 percent over the next four decades.
Rodriguez said 54 percent of Hispanic millennials – “the emerging generation” – believed abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, according to a 2015 Pew study. More than 25 percent of Hispanics considered abortion to be the critical issue that determines how they vote. “It was the largest percentage of all ethnicities, including white evangelicals,” he said.
“I want to see the Hispanic-American community emerge as the proverbial firewall [against abortion],” said Rodriguez. “And I want this community to be the most pro-life community on the planet in the name of Jesus Christ. That is my passion.”
There are five reasons why he believes Hispanic evangelicals care about pro-life values:
Hispanic evangelicals believe all people, even unborn children, are made in the image of God – the imago Dei.
Hispanic evangelicals understand the pro-life issue as primarily spiritual, not political.
Given that nearly all Hispanics are either Catholic or evangelical, even the most liberal sectors of Latino culture are generally pro-life.
Hispanics see abortion as a civil rights issue, since abortion clinics most often target Hispanic and African-American communities. It is minority populations that are most threatened by the abortion industry.
There is a “biblical imperative” ingrained in the gospel that is both “vertical and horizontal.” It’s the “nexus of the cross” that leads us to love both God and pursue justice for others.
Rodriguez acknowledged that liberal politicians sometimes appeal to Hispanics because of their views on U.S. immigration. He pleaded with fellow Hispanics to avoid the mistake of disconnecting pro-life values that inform immigration policies from pro-life values that inform abortion activism.
“How can you be supporting a candidate who is in favor of immigration,” he said, “but likewise they’re in favor of seeing the destruction of our little daughters and sons in the womb? That’s just intellectually incoherent. We must be above all pro-life and everything else will follow. … whatever we’re advocating for, it shouldn’t trump life. We must begin with life!”