Friday, July 12, 2019

Hard To Believe

Things change. People change.  The views of people change.

Still, if there were a courageous journalist out there, the Speaker of the House would have some explaining to do. And it has nothing to do with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In the run-up to what the Administration claims will be immigration raids in numerous cities on Sunday, Nancy

Pelosi also told members that she plans to reach out to religious leaders to encourage them to oppose the efforts, as she did last month when Trump first threatened the raids, one person said. Pelosi also spoke to Trump by phone last month and urged him to call off his plans.

Democrats have sharply criticized the White House’s plans, which would target not only individuals who failed to appear in court, but also any unauthorized immigrants who happen to be at the scene — possibly affecting family members or others who were not originally targets.

Pelosi later told reporters she thinks evangelical groups played a significant role in Trump's decision to call off the initial raids and she hopes they'll chime in again.

“They were very concerned that this goes too far because these raids were not what they signed up for with President Trump. And I think their calls to the president made a difference,” Pelosi said. “Hopefully the president will think again about it or these groups will weigh in once again.

These raids were not what they signed up for with President Trump That would be the same Donald J. Trump who made these statements:

6/16/15: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

12/7/15: "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

10/16: (Ford is) "going to build a plant and illegals are going drive those cars right over the border... And they'll probably end up stealing the cars."

If it's not what they signed up for, it's what they got- and what they seem to approve. Pelosi did not specify what "evangelical groups" she was referring to. However, the religious individuals who make up those groups or who are presumably represented by them have made their sentiments clear- and not as the Speaker suggests. Alternatively, the groups she has talked to may be African-American groups.

Surveys separating out evangelical sentiment from that of other Americans are scarce. However, a Pew Research survey fourteen months ago determined

By more than two-to-one (68% to 25%), white evangelical Protestants say the U.S. does not have a responsibility to accept refugees. Other religious groups are more likely to say the U.S. does have this responsibility. And opinions among religiously unaffiliated adults are nearly the reverse of those of white evangelical Protestants: 65% say the U.S. has a responsibility to accept refugees into the country, while just 31% say it does not.

In April of this year, a University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll found "Regardless of whom Americans believe are the intended target of the immigration raids, there is a striking partisan divide on expressed support for these activities: While 81 percent of Democrats disapprove of the raids, 88 percent of Republicans approve." There is some evidence that approval of the overall performance of President Trump among white evangelicals has declined. However, it is still substantially greater than that of non-churchgoers, Catholics, or mainline Protestants, and they remain his popular base. 

Maybe, just maybe, evangelical leaders are privately opposed to mass immigration raids. More likely, though, they are telling the Speaker what she wants to hear. But if these are "not what they signed up for," they're keeping quiet among those who most need to hear, the individuals who agree with them theologically.

Perhaps support by evangelical Christians of harsh immigration enforcement is cruel and heartless. Or maybe not. They are, however, not stupid. They heard Donald Trump loud and clear during the presidential campaign and they hear him loud and clear now. 

It's often uncomfortable for members of the media to ask questions pertaining to religious belief and its intersection with political values. However, with most available evidence indicating otherwise, if the Speaker of the House maintains evangelical leaders are aghast or repulsed at, or even cool toward, the President's immigration policies, someone should ask her for substantiation of her claim.

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