On Friday, NPR’s Latino USA ran a segment, “The Agenda of the Lamb,” on Latino evangelical powerhouse Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, whose upcoming book of the same name has a message: “God is not done with America. And America is not done with God.”
“The only agenda that can save America is not the agenda of the donkey or the agenda of the elephant,” Rev. Rodriguez, executive director of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, bellowed during a recent sermon. “This nation will be saved via the agenda of the Lamb. Behold, the Lamb of God.” Rev. Rodriguez’s rhetoric, placing Christianity above political parties, appeals to the thousands of evangelical Latinos and African-Americans who make up his Sacramento congregation.
Rodriguez’s dismissal of both parties, frequent self-comparisons to Martin Luther King, Jr., and backing of immigration reform gives him the semblance of a nonpartisan persona and wins over progressive supporters. But PRA Senior Fellow Frederick Clarkson points out in the NPR broadcast that “in terms of his actual political behavior, he’s actually a pretty solid Republican.” The veneer of moderatism cannot disguise Rodriguez’s staunch anti-LGBTQ and antichoice politics.
Clarkson explains in his recent Public Eye article that Rodriguez has been propagating his views under the guise of social justice and Latino pride for years, warning liberals to be aware that his true allegiance leans solidly Christian Right. The NPR broadcast complements this advice by identifying less right-wing alternatives for anyone–and especially media–looking for the perspective of Latino evangelicals, such as Rev. Gabriel Salguero of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition.