defending the First Amendment against the Christian right ...

Jews On First!

... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind


  Skip Navigation Links

Return to the page you were reading


Focus on undocumented immigrants shows religious right groups stymied by their alliances

By JewsOnFirst.org, April 17, 2006

As immigrants and their supporters pour into the streets by the hundreds of thousands, crowding out the space for neutrality on legislation criminalizng illegal status, the big religious right organizations stay silent. When reporters ask them, they say they have no position.

Actually, the religious right leaders are in a very uncomfortable position. They are caught between their Republican allies and millions of Latino evangelicals, whose leaders are urging them to oppose the Republican bill. Moreover, at least one of the big organizations is pinned down by a creature of its own making -- its constituency.

This became clear last week, when the Family Research Council (FRC) released an "informal survey" of its supporters. Over 90% of the 8,000 respondents expressed hostile opinions about immigrants. These poll-takers took the poll during a visit to the FRC website or went to the website to take the poll in response to an email.

FRC President Tony Perkins summed up the responses in an April 13th email:

When it comes to the details of dealing with immigration it is clear that values voters believe enforcement against illegal aliens should be the main component. Ninety one percent of the respondents believe that illegal immigrants should be returned to their country of origin. Ninety two percent think that election ballots should be printed only in English. The biggest responses came though when we asked about border security. Eighty one percent of respondents believe that a fence should be built along the U.S. - Mexican border. When we asked if the United States Congress should commit sufficient funds and resources to border security to sharply reduce illegal entry into the country, 96 percent of all respondents agreed.

When it comes to immigration, there is little to distinguish the FRC poll respondents from the harsh-talking, racist denizens of right-wing talk radio.

According to the Washington Post, polls show that about two-thirds of white evangelicals consider immigrants a societal burden, compared to half of all Americans.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, representing over 10,000 Hispanic evangelical churches with 15 million members, pressed the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) to support legislation providing for amnesty. The NAE's membership is split on the issue, so it has not taken a stand. However, its aid agency, World Relief, has endorsed the Kennedy-McCain proposal that offers a route to legalization and citizenship.

Catholic, Jewish and Muslim groups support the amnesty legislation and many of their leaders actively supported the protests.

It remains to be seen how much the religious right groups' silence will cost them with Hispanic evangelicals who profess to be their natural allies. The Washington Post quoted Rodriguez saying "There will be church ramifications to this, and there will be political ramifications."

Return to the previous page

 By JewsOnFirst.org:
 Our most recent reports and conversations

There's Still Christianity in the Public Schools?. Jewish students down South face aggressive proselytizing by their evangelical classmates and scant protection from their schools, reports Jan Jaben-Eilon. Some Jewish youth who lack a strong Jewish foundation have fallen prey to efforts to convert them. Go.

Cincinnati Jews and Christians "Stand Together" in Support of Israel. Cincinnati Jews and Christians sponsored an event to bring together Christians and Jewish supporters of Israel. The focus was on why the Jewish community should welcome Christian support. Go.

Messianic Jewish Groups Claim Rapid Growth. Most American Jewish organizations shun these quasi-Christians, although they embrace Christian Zionist organizations. However, the messianic groups are increasingly finding acceptance in Israel, where the lines are blurring between them and Christian Zionist groups. Go.

Christian Zionist's Night to Honor Israel in Albuquerque. The Jewish Federation of New Mexico partnered Christians United for Israel in a public event in Albuquerque featuring CUFI leader John Hagee and his high profile friend and supporter in the Jewish community, talk show host Dennis Prager. Go.

Victory in Delaware School District Case. The Supreme Court's refusal January 19th to hear a case about religion in public schools that JewsOnFirst has followed for years was a resounding victory for the Jewish "Doe" family in Delaware who brought the case, and for countless families across the country. Go.

Deconstructing the Bush Administration's Faith-based Initiatives. In an interview with JewsOnFirst.org that will be of particular interest to congregations, Prof. Robert Wineburg discusses how Bush officials re-directed $2.5 billion in social welfare funds from mainline religious agencies to local religious congregations and inexperienced faith-based agencies. Go.

Kentucky’s Ark Encounter. Avi Milgrom gives us a detailed look at the Ark Encounter, a planned $170 million, 800-acre creationism theme park, subsidized by state and local government funds. The nearby Creation Museum, a partner in the Ark Encounter project, hires only Christians. Go.

Denver Jews Force Federation to Withdraw Invitation to Rev. John Hagee. We talk with three local Jewish leaders about the Denver Allied Jewish Federation's "disinviting" Pastor John Hagee, who was to have keynoted a November dinner, and replacing him with David Brog (pictured), the CEO of Hagee's Christians United for Israel. Go.

Christian Zionist Leader Hagee and Rabbi Speak at Colorado Event. Rev. John Hagee and Orthodox Rabbi Selwyn Franklin spoke at a Colorado church's Night to Honor Israel on October 16th. A share of the collection plate was destined for the Ariel settlement on the West Bank. Go.

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Terms Palestinian State Victory for "Jihadism". We have exclusive coverage of Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon's speech at a Christian Zionist program at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. The program was sponsored by the Jewish Federation, right-wing pro-Israel groups and Christian organizations. Go.

JewsOnFirst Reports on The Response. Blatant and repeated calls for Jews to accept Jesus punctuated Texas Governor Rick Perry’s August 6th Response revival meeting. There were also calls to redeem the United States for Jesus. Our eyewitness report has details. Go.

Inside CUFI's 2010 Washington "Summit". As in past years, JewsOnFirst has posted a report from inside the Washington DC conference of Christians United for Israel, the leading Christian Zionist organization. Go.

Inside CUFI's 2011 Washington "Summit". As in past years, JewsOnFirst is posting a report from inside the Washington DC conference of Christians United for Israel, the leading Christian Zionist organization. Big eyebrow-lifters this year were Glenn Beck's keynote speech and a CUFI board member's wife saying that dividing Jerusalem will delay the return of Jesus. Go.

A Muslim Community Center? Why Not?. We analyze the arguments, pro and con, in the fierce debate over Park51, the proposed Muslim community center near Ground Zero in the context of longstanding national conversations about the meaning of religious freedom and what sort of country we are and want to be. Go.

Doomsday Q & A. When the "Rapture" or "Doomsday" predicted for May 21st by fundamentalist preacher Harold Camping became national headline news, we thought it would be useful to explore the underlying dynamics of such events. We turned to John Hubers, a professor of Religion at Northwestern College in Orange, Iowa, who observed that "doomsday soothsayers" offer structure and certainty to followers whose ranks swell in times of uncertainty. Go.

Judge rules National Day of Prayer Unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb ruled in a case against President Obama and the National Day of Prayer Task Force that the law is unconstitutional because it "...endorses prayer." We have posted case documents, including the deposition of Shirley Dobson of Focus on the Family (pictured), who leads the Task Force. Go.

You can see all JewsOnFirst.org reports and conversations here.



 
 
Essay on the Park51 Muslim Community Center
Videos by JewsOnFirst.org
image loading Martha Schaerr, Stealth School Board Candidate in Montogomery County, Maryland. Schaerr is not telling voters she was a leader in the Christian right's fight to block the school district's new sex education curriculum -- primarily because it teaches acceptance of homosexuality. Go.

image loading Video in the Radio Talk Show Studio - Part Two of our on-the-air interview with Dan Gaffney, morning talk show host on WGMD-FM on Delaware's Eastern Shore. Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak of JewsOnFirst debates concepts including "absolute truth" and the relevance of Jesus with Gaffney and his callers. Go.

image loading Video in the Radio Talk Show Studio - Part One of our interview with Dan Gaffney, morning talk show host on WGMD-FM on Delaware's Eastern Shore. JewsOnFirst went to Delaware's Eastern Shore to report on the settlement of two Jewish families' lawsuit against the school district for sponsoring religion. Go.

image loading The Christian Zionist's Bible: A Jewish Perspective. Our new educational video on a challenging topic -- how some on the Christian right read "the Jews" into the New Testament -- features Dr. Michael J. Cook of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati in conversation with Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak of JewsOnFirst.org. Go.

image loading An Enduring Passion: Sharon Raphael and Mina Meyer. On their 37th anniversary, Meyer and Raphael married in California. The political activism that has been a constant of their life together dates back to the founding of the gay liberation movement and it continues in their opposition to Proposition 8. Go.

Pastor John Hagee's Fixation on Iran: A Self-fulfilling Prophecy? We examine how the Christian Zionist leader's belief in the end times drives his hard-line political position on Iran, and ask: Is Hagee's Iran policy about Jewish safety? Or Christian Apocalypse? Go.

Pastor John Hagee's Preoccupation with the Jews. With narration by Ed Asner, our video shows a number of instances in which Christian Zionist leader Hagee's understanding of Jews and Judaism should give Jewish organizations that support him cause for concern. Go.

Campus Jewish group sponsors trailblazing forum on Christian Zionism. The complete recording of Christians, America, and the Holy Land -- Examining Christian Support for Israel, sponsored by the Chicago Friends of Israel at the University of Chicago. Go.

Iran and the End Times at Pastor John Hagee's 2008 Washington Summit. When John Hagee's organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) held its July 2008 summit at the Washington DC Convention Center, JewsOnFirst.org reporters were inside and outside. This video shows some of what we saw and heard, despite CUFI's extraordinary efforts to shield the meeting from public scrutiny. Go.
Buy Rabbi Michael Cook's book, featured in our video The Christian Zionist's Bible, from Jewish Lights Publishing. Click here.