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Aspen Ideas Festival: Being Latino in Trump's America

Jul 1, 2017

Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Credit Aspen Institute

Latino evangelicals — a fast-growing population that is nearing 20 percent of American Latinos, and rising — exemplify the difficult positions many Christians find themselves in today, where social conservatism and deep Christian faith run headlong into hard questions about immigrants, refugees, the poor, and moral leadership. 

The Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez exemplifies this complexity. As leader of the Latino evangelical movement, he opposes the Democrats’ stance on abortion and gay marriage, and has praised previous Republican candidates. He even gave a prayer at Donald Trump’s inauguration. But Trump’s call for mass deportation and other aggressive anti-immigrant moves have, in his words, “deeply offended” him — indeed, his own church offers sanctuary to undocumented people in need. How does this play out in the hearts and minds of his congregants? What lessons does his faith offer to help think about such complexities? What’s the way forward?