At least when it comes to religious Americans, Donald Trump is known for his support among white evangelicals, but he also has the unlikely support of Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who heads up the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Rodriguez has backed Trump despite the occasional disagreement over immigration policy. Like so many of his white evangelical counterparts, Rodriguez is always willing to toss aside his self-proclaimed values if it means staying on Trump’s good side.
Now, as anyone could have predicted, Rodriguez is going all in during the presidential campaign. In an article for Charisma magazine, founder Stephen Strang writes about Rodriguez’s call to “punish anti-God governors” at the polls in November because they dared to limit public gatherings in the name of public health.
[Rodriguez] says he is tired of the church sitting back passively while the government takes more and more of our freedoms…
“We just saw the first initial depiction of what socialism and communism actually looks like — unbridled government authority,” he says. “When Big Brother, when government, is unhinged, uncensored, when government is over the people — we just experienced that. For a government official in America to tell me what I can and cannot buy at Home Depot … it’s outrageous.”
“I will not be passive,” Rodriguez says. “We need Dietrich Bonhoeffers right now to rise up in the name of Jesus! We need prophetic voices in the name of Jesus to rise up and come against this idea that our rights can be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency, a pandemic or a national crisis.“
Rodriguez is lying. A lot. Keeping people healthy isn’t “communism.” The governors are not “unhinged” for considering the strength of the virus when deciding public policy. The government has never told people what to buy at Home depot.
Here’s what Rodriguez won’t say: Churches shouldn’t put their vulnerable members at risk by exposing them to another wave of coronavirus. Pastors shouldn’t bring people together during a pandemic, only to unleash them on their families and communities later on. Caring for the health of others isn’t a mark of “authoritarian worldview.” And many of the governors enforcing shelter-in-place policies are religious themselves.
Churches may be closed, but no one is trying to “cancel” worship. One way Christians can live out their faith in this stressful time is by making themselves useful to their communities by running errands for those who are house-bound, donating to food banks, or hosting Zoom gatherings.
The sooner we all comply with these rules, the sooner we can get back to our normal lives.
And the sooner Christians distance themselves from the likes of Rodriguez and Strang, the safer the entire country will be.
(Screenshot via YouTube)