Rev. Samuel Rodriguez: Not So Moderate

About Frederick Clarkson

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez joined members of national trade, faith, and labor organizations to speak at the “Reform Immigration For America” Campaign Summit at the National Press Club in 2009. – Photo by David Sachs / SEIU

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, executive director of the Sacramento-based National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) is regularly tapped by national media outlets like CNN and The New York Times as the leading voice of Latino evangelicals and has been treated accordingly by both major political parties.1 From 2007 to 2009, he was a columnist for the Washington Post’s On Faith section online, and he frequently appears on NPR’s “Tell Me More.” He is a member of the boards of some of the leading organizations of evangelicalism–Christianity Today magazine, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and the National Association of Evangelicals.

But he is not nearly the evangelical moderate that he is presented as being.

The 42-year-old Puerto Rican evangelist often describes himself as a cross between Billy Graham and Martin Luther King, Jr. “with a little salsa tossed in.” He describes Latino evangelicals the same way, with the same joke, and has for years.2 The humor takes the edge off of the grandiosity, but leaves little doubt about his sense of destiny for himself and the people he seeks to lead towards a distinctly conservative Christian America. He is, in fact, a leader of the Christian Right who says he is not. He is a partisan Republican who claims not to be. And he is conservative on just about everything but immigration policy.

Yet when the Democrats and the Obama White House woo him, for instance to back the Supreme Court candidacy of Sonia Sotomayor or serve on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, they elevate his influence, his power to oppose LGBT marriage, and even Obama’s own reelection.3

Who is Samuel Rodriguez?

The Silence of the Lamb

This article appears in the Fall 2012 Public Eye.

“This is a justice movement,” he is fond of saying. “This is what makes us different. We’ve never seen this before. We’ve never seen a movement that is black, white, brown, yellow, committed to both the vertical and the horizontal, that can reconcile Dr. Billy Graham with Martin Luther King, Jr., that is committed to both righteousness and justice.”4 But justice, by any standard definition, can be hard to find in the world according to Rodriguez.

He calls this intersection between Graham and King “the agenda of the Lamb.” Using the metaphor of the Cross, Graham represents the “vertical agenda” of holiness and faith values while King represents the “horizontal agenda” of social justice. The Lamb’s agenda, he says, requires both. This bold invocation of historic figures and the bars of the Cross is part of what makes Rodriguez a compelling figure and why he is viewed as a bridge builder. But on closer examination there seems to be little of the social justice advocacy of Dr. King in this man’s activities, political and otherwise. Indeed, when we set aside the parsing of the metaphors, we see that he is deeply involved in the promotion of a Christian Right worldview, and is engaged in Republican voter mobilization, the results of which inevitably leave even immigration reform behind.

His group, NHCLC, purports to represent more than 34,000 churches comprising some 16 million people. Founded in 2001 by Latino leaders in the Pentecostal denomination Assemblies of God, the name echoes the Southern Christian Leadership Conference once headed by Dr. King. The organization’s evangelical constituency and leadership are interdenominational, and Pentecostal/charismatic, but the group also seeks to engage charismatic Catholics. Like Rodriguez himself, the organization claims to seek to address a broader agenda than the usual Christian Right fare.5

The organization is, however, small and low budget.6 While it has many prominent partners and well publicized efforts to promote comprehensive immigration reform, it has few organizational activities. NHCLC’s reach, too, may be exaggerated. Journalist Sarah Posner points out the NHCLC’s numbers may be grossly inflated since only 6.5 million Latinos in the United States, about 13 percent of the country’s Latinos population, identify as evangelical, according to data collected by the Pew Hispanic Center.7

But it is also true that the NHCLC’s core constituency is growing. A 2007 Pew study (pdf) found that Pentecostal/charismatic renewalism is three times more prevalent among Latinos than it is among non-Latinos. What’s more, a majority of Latino Catholics describe themselves as charismatics.8 This makes Rodriguez’s claim to be the spokesman for this growing constituency all the more deserving of greater scrutiny.

Rodriguez’s main claim to fame is his work with two presidents towards greater fairness in U.S. immigration policy. He has gone so far as to publicly denounce nativism, xenophobiam and mean spiritedness among elements of the conservative movement and of the Republican Party.9 However, in addition to conventional Christian and human rights reasons for a more just policy towards immigration policy and immigrants, Rodriguez also has controversial motives. He sees, for example, the immigration of evangelical Christian Latinos as part of the salvation and replenishment of Christian America and as a bulwark against Islam.10 Perhaps most revealing is how, for Rodriguez, immigration is nevertheless a decidedly secondary concern. Shortly after the inauguration of President Obama in early 2009, for example, Rodriguez participated in the creation and release of a highly publicized document, Come Let Us Reason Together: A Fresh Look at Shared Cultural Values Between Evangelicals and Progressives. The several signatories announced they had crafted a “Governing Agenda” proposal for the new Democratic president and Congress, including “creating secure and comprehensive immigration reform.”11 But only a few months later Rodriguez told Charisma magazine that he believed NHCLC had “misplaced its priorities by emphasizing immigration over the sanctity of life and traditional marriage.”

“Immigration is one of God’s values,” Rodriguez said. “But when we have to prioritize, if we are faithful to life and marriage, God’s going to be faithful to making sure we get comprehensive immigration reform.” Rodriguez’s comment came on the occasion of his joining Democratic State Senator Reuben Diaz (who is also a Pentecostal minister) in rallying Hispanic Christians against marriage equality in New York.12

Prioritize: Vote Vertical

“This is not an issue of equality,” Rodriguez said regarding marriage equality on a radio show in May 2012. “There is an attempt to silence the voice of Christianity, there is an attempt to silence the voice of truth, of righteousness and Biblical justice.13

Although the Lamb’s Agenda is supposed to require both bars of the Cross, Rodriguez said, “We must vote vertical. We must look at our legislators and those that represent us on Capitol Hill and say, “religious liberty, the family, biblical marriage and life, must stand protected.”14

As off message as it sounds for those who view him as a bridge builder, his real views should come as no surprise. Rodriguez is a frequent headliner at Christian Right political conferences. He was featured, for example, at regional election year conferences hosted by veteran Christian Right televangelist James Robison in the summer of 2012. At the Dallas conference, which drew some 7,000 participants, Rodriguez declared, “The 21st century stands poised to experience the greatest transformative Christian movement in our history.” He denounced such demonic spirits as Jezebel, which he says push people into “sexual perversion” and the spirit of Herod, which he says is responsible for abortion. “This movement will affirm biblical orthodoxy,” he declared. “It will reform the culture. It will transform our political discourse. I am convinced God is not done with America and America is not done with God.”15

This September, Rodriguez was a featured speaker at a capstone political event called “America for Jesus” that was broadcast and live-streamed nationally from Philadelphia outside Independence Hall.16 Ostensibly a prayer rally, it is part of a 30-year tradition of similar election season events. Another featured speaker is Lou Engle of The Call, who came to mainstream attention in the documentary Jesus Camp and played a catalytic role in passing the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 in California. At a pre-election stadium rally he hosted in San Diego, Engle and others called for Christian martyrs to stop marriage equality and abortion.17

Philadelphia’s America for Jesus event is the latest in a series beginning in the 1980s, which brought hundreds of thousands to the Mall for the event “Washington for Jesus” in the run-up to the 1980 and 1988 elections.18 Televangelist Pat Robertson recalled in a promotional segment for America for Jesus on his Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) that the late Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ believed that Ronald Reagan was elected president because of Washington for Jesus in 1980.19

Although Rodriguez tries not to flaunt it, he cannot hide the fact that he is a leader in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), a movement that is transforming historic Pentecostalism and is playing an outsized role in American politics by building networks that span across denominations and churches. For example, many NAR leaders, including Rodriguez, helped organize and attended a prayer rally to help launch Texas Governor Rick Perry’s unsuccessful campaign for president in 2011 which drew 30,000 people.20

NAR’s political roots go back to the era when Pat Robertson led historically apolitical Pentecostals and charismatics off the political sidelines and into the mainstream of the Republican Party. The relationship with the America for Jesus events epitomizes this long term trend.

Rodriguez’s efforts to downplay his involvement in NAR not withstanding, he is a frequent headliner at events organized by fellow NAR leaders. His NAR apostolic overseer Bishop Steve Perea, who leads a megachurch in Manteca, California, has been public about his role.21 Rodriguez, in turn, is the overseer of an international network of indeterminate size and scope, called the Third Day Believers Network.
The NAR is seeking to transform traditional Christian denominations into a more powerful social and political force. The leaders of the NAR, who call themselves apostles and prophets, claim authority in and over the Church beyond denominations and offer what they say are fresh revelations from God to inform what the Church should be doing. NAR leaders see themselves as transcending the traditional doctrines and elected leadership of both mainline and evangelical Protestantism.22

C. Peter Wagner, a longtime professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, is the leading figure in the movement. Christians, he declares, are called to take dominion in all areas of life. One expression of this totalist vision is the “seven mountains mandate” in which Christians are to take control of seven areas of life: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.
Researcher Bruce Wilson points out that Wagner stated at a conference that year, “Dominion has to do with control. Dominion has to do with rulership. Dominion has to do with authority and subduing and it relates to society. In other words, what the values are in Heaven need to be made manifest here on earth. Dominion means being the head and not the tail. Dominion means ruling as kings.”23

Since NAR is a movement without a formal doctrine or structure, and comprising many independent networks, it is fair to say that not all may share Wagner’s theocratic fervor, but in fact, many do.

Islamophobia in Sharp Relief

Last year, Rodriguez’s duplicity on several matters was revealed in a remarkable series of events beginning with growing concern about his involvement in and leadership of the NAR-led, South Carolina-based political project called The Oak Initiative. The Initiative is a religio-political organization with a mandate to save America from a Marxist/Leftist/Homosexual/Islamic enemy. Rodriquez co-founded the group in 2009 and served as its Vice President until his resignation in 2011.

Rodriguez represented the Initiative on conference calls in preparation for Lou Engle’s The Call, Detroit in 2011. The event was billed as a rally to help cleanse the city from the demon of Islam by engaging in “spiritual warfare.” The website of the event’s sponsor stated, “Transformation Michigan is in partnership with The Oak Initiative. We have established groups in Michigan who, with one united purpose, are taking the Seven Mountains in Michigan. Join us in this warfare.”

As the details of Rodriguez’s true views and organizational commitments began to catch up with him in 2011, he sought to minimize his involvement in NAR and the Oak Initiative in a published interview with journalist Greg Metzger.24 However, a series of articles by Rachel Tabachnick proved Rodriguez’s deep involvement.25 Rodriguez was compelled to not only resign but to publicly state, “I repudiate all vestiges of Islamophobia or any other platform that engages in fear-mongering…”26 While this statement was issued, it was not publicized, and he has no other obvious public record of opposing the continuing Islamophobia among his religious and political associates.27

Similarly, Rodriguez has also sought to simultaneously oppose both homosexuality and homophobia. In the wake of President Obama’s announcement that he supports marriage equality, African-American Christian Right activist (and fellow NAR leader) Bishop Harry Jackson hosted an event in Washington, D.C. called the Defense of Marriage Summit (which he has since taken on the road).28 The duo then announced a “Black/Brown coalition to defend biblical marriage.” Rodriguez said, “The partnership aims to engage Hispanics and African American clergy and laypeople in prophetic activism that repudiates homophobia while simultaneously preserving the biblical definition of marriage.”29

Rodriguez’s contradictory role extends into right-wing economics. He has been an avatar of the evangelical version of environmentalism (also called “creation care,” according to the National Association of Evangelicals, where Rodriguez is an executive board member) but he is also a global warming skeptic and has served as a front man, along Harry Jackson, for an industry-financed group called the Affordable Power Alliance. Rodriguez signed a statement of the NAE’s Evangelical Environmental Network called “An Evangelical Call to Stop Mercury Poisoning of the Unborn,” but he is also a director of the American Power Alliance which opposes this regulation.30

Nonpartisan, But Somehow Strangely Republican

His nonpartisan image notwithstanding, Rodriguez emerged in July 2012 as a key “Hispanic outreach” adviser for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.31 David Brody of CBN reported that Romney had been “regularly meeting” with Rodriguez (in addition to a larger group of some 70 top Christian Right leaders) since he clinched the nomination. Brody also reported that as a result, the candidate had “made a 180-degree turn and is headed to a significant Hispanic outreach.”32

These conversations do not appear to have been about Romney’s views on immigration. Indeed, anti-immigrant lawyer Kris Kobach still serves as the GOP candidate’s adviser on immigration. Kobach helped draft Arizona’s draconian SB1070 law, and promotes similar policies across the country.33 Rodriguez’s advice is more likely about how to find Latinos who will vote for Romney despite his anti-immigrant views.

Indeed, Rodriguez is part of historic efforts by the Christian Right and the Republican Party to peel off some Latino and African-American voters, and to inoculate other recent immigrants against their traditional affinity for the Democratic Party. Aaron Manaigo, a political operative working for Harry Jackson, told a breakout session at the 2012 Values Voters Summit, sponsored by Christian Right groups like the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. in September, that they were seeking “some demographic advantage.” To this end, they have staged events in swing states and those with marriage initiatives on the ballot. One notable event in New Mexico featured Rodriguez, Republican Lt. Governor John Sanchez and Fr. Frank Pavone, head of the militant anti-abortion organization Priests for Life. Jackson and Manaigo’s session at Values Voters was titled: “Vertical Vote Campaign for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberties.”34

Despite Rodriguez’s apparent embrace of Mitt Romney’s candidacy, his intentions have been complicated and contradictory over the years. For example, in 2008 he described Mark Gonzales, a Texas pastor and NHCLC’s longtime Vice President for Government Affairs as “a die hard Republican operative” who “represents a walking billboard for the Hispanic versions of Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Council on National Policy and Christian Coalition.” He claimed that Gonzales was disappointed with the GOP’s approach to immigration issues and that therefore his main objective was to register voters in states with high concentrations of Latino voters, regardless of party affiliation “as long they vote and demonstrate that Latino Christians represent a deliverable constituency.”35 This might sound sensibly nonpartisan under the circumstances–except at the time Gonzales was serving as chairman of the Hispanic advisory council for John McCain’s presidential campaign.36

Unsurprisingly perhaps, Rodriguez’s Republican stock soared when he gave the benediction to close the first day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August 2012. His prayer immediately followed a speech by Ann Romney and the keynote address by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. But, since then, he has maintained a nuanced critical distance. “For Republicans, the bridge to the Hispanic promised land is the Hispanic faith voter, and that bridge is now broken,” Rodriguez declared in September. “Republicans look and talk like us, but we’re not sure they want us.”37

Rodriguez and Fresh Faith Voters

But the Christian Right does want the Latino vote, and its targeted approach to mobilize a specific subset of religiously informed Latino voters is aimed for the long run. An expanding conservative evangelical electorate, including a growing Latino demographic, could be decisive in some parts of the country. Rodriguez and the NHCLC are at the center of that outreach through a partnership with the conservative Champion the Vote which aims to build the Christian Right’s capacity to win a theocratic power bloc in the American electorate.

As Rodriguez told Pat Robertson in an interview on CBN, “The Hispanic electorate may be the salvation of the conservative movement and the Christian Church in America.”38 Champion the Vote is a project of United in Purpose (UIP), an organization of conservative Christian Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that the Los Angeles Times reports is spending millions of dollars, and using advanced data mining techniques to identify unregistered conservative Roman Catholics and conservative evangelicals. They aim to widen the Christian Right electorate this year by registering and turning out five million new voters, primarily in states where, in the 2008 presidential contest, the margin of difference was less than the number of unregistered conservative Christians. To get there, they are seeking to recruit 100,000 “champions” to follow-up once UIP has identified the right kind of unregistered Christians.

NHCLC and UIP have closely collaborated for a number of years. UIP’s 2010 tax return, for example, shows that it provided $112,500 for “voter registration Fuerza 2010.” (NHCLC was the organization’s only grantee.) Rodriguez claims the Fuerza project registered 268,000 new voters by focusing on evangelical Latino churches in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas.39 As part of that effort, UIP issued a video in English and Spanish which stated that “friends have turned into foes”–and then showed pictures of President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then-Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, all Democrats (The top issues featured in the video were abortion and marriage).40

NHCLC is, at this writing, one of some six-dozen Christian Right, anti-abortion, GOP, and Tea Party organizations, and religious broadcasters partnering in Champion the Vote.41 These include The Manhattan Declaration, the premier alliance of conservative evangelicals and conservative Roman Catholics, and Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition. Champion the Vote’s three foci are anti-abortionism, anti-marriage equality, and “religious freedom”–and its stated mission is “… to get unregistered Christians registered to vote, educated in the Biblical worldview, and voting accordingly on Election Day.”

This year, Rodriguez appeared in the organization’s voter mobilization DVD, “One Nation Under God”–along with Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Christian nationalist author David Barton, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich–but with no Democrats. The ostensibly nonpartisan DVD is intended for use in churches and house parties.42

NHCLC and Champion the Vote’s approach updates the mobilization efforts by conservative activist Ralph Reed who led Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition in the 1990s.43 The Coalition and others successfully expanded and mobilized the conservative Christian electorate at the time in ways that transformed American politics.44 Reed describes his current organization, the Faith & Freedom Coalition, as a “21st century Christian Coalition on steroids.”

Reed claims that his new organization’s experiments in mobilizing conservative Christian voters have been so successful that they may explain why pre-election polls underestimated the winning margin of the conservative Republican candidates by eight to nine points in both the 2009 governor’s race in Virginia and the 2012 recall election in Wisconsin, as journalist Adele Stan has reported.45 Reed’s associate, Gary Marx, explained at the 2012 Values Voters Summit that they were seeking to find two million unregistered conservative Christian voters and to identify and turn out some eight million more registered voters who did not vote in the last presidential election. Whether they met their voter registration goal, Marx did not say. But he did say that the Virginia and Wisconsin models worked so well that they are now being applied in swing states and nationally.

It is worth noting that in the 1990s, Reed routinely inflated the membership figures of the Christian Coalition to a unquestioning and credulous national press corps. Church & State magazine eventually proved that the Coalition could not have 1.7 million members as claimed, since the official circulation of its membership magazine, according to U.S. Post Office records, was only about 350,000.46 But Reed’s hyperbole notwithstanding, the Christian Coalition’s methods proved to be catalytic in crafting the Christian Right political movement as we know it today.

“The first strategy and in many ways the most important strategy for evangelicals is secrecy,” Reed once famously declared. “Sun Tzu says that’s what you have to do to be effective at war and that’s essentially what we are involved in… It’s not a war fought with bullets, it’s a war fought with ballots.”47

UIP claims to have compiled a database of some 120 million people and is running it against purchased subscription lists, among other data, to identify anti-abortion and anti-marriage equality Christians who are not registered to vote. This year, they are looking for five million, but over the next few election cycles, they are seeking to ID and register forty out of the sixty million they believe to be eligible.48 The Faith & Freedom Coalition uses the same numbers and the same general methods, which suggest a high degree of common purpose and coordination.

Grandiose visions, of course, like anything else, do not always turn out as planned. However, if UIP, NHCLC, and the many other partner organizations find even a few million ideologically oriented new voters who can be engaged in the wider movement we broadly call the Christian Right, it could be, as Rodriguez suggests, a transformational moment in American history.

Where Do Latinos Stand?

Media’s deference to Samuel Rodriguez and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) as the voice of the Latinos belies recent findings that the Latino community–in all its diversity–is more likely to be open to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals than the rest of the populace.49 Two 2012 studies, one conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center of the Pew Research Center, “When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity,” the other by Social Science Research Solutions, “LGBT Acceptance and Support: The Hispanic Perspective,” show this–as do recent organizing partnerships.

In July 2012, twenty-one national Latino organizations launched Familia es Familia, a public education campaign to build support for the LGBT community, which aims to “build support among Latino communities for acceptance of gay and lesbian family members, including supporting them to marry–eventually leading to support for broader societal and political inclusion.”50 The campaign has already coalesced into mutually beneficial organizing partnerships in Maryland. This November, Maryland has ballot initiatives affecting both communities: one legalizing same-sex marriage, another making undocumented immigrants eligible for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. Casa de Maryland, Equality Maryland, and Latino GLBT History Project identify both struggles, gay rights and comprehensive immigration reform, as civil rights issues.

But, according to the Washington Post, Rodriguez said he doubted that center-right and religious Americans who support the Dream Act for immigration reform would also support same-sex marriage: “They will not sacrifice biblical truth on the altar of political expediency.”51

Polling casts skepticism on Rodriguez’s claims–somewhat. The Pew Research Center found that 59 percent of Latinos say homosexuality should be accepted by society.52 Protestant Latinos (who Rodriguez purports to represent) were found to be less open than Latino Catholics (who are a larger part of the community) to LGBT rights.

This article appears in the Fall 2012 issue of The Public Eye (pdf).

1. Dan Gilgoff, “Five Faithy Players to Watch at the Republican National Convention,” CNN, August 28, 2012; Trip Gabriel, “Evangelical Groups Call for a New Stance on Illegal Immigration,” New York Times, June 13, 2012.

2. Krissah Thompson “Latino religious leader Rodriguez courts the left, right for immigration reform,” The Washington Post, March 21, 2010.

3. Peter Baker and Jeff Zeleny, “Obama Hails Judge as Inspiring,” New York Times, May 27, 2009.

4. Bruce Wilson, “2010: NHCLC President Samuel Rodriguez Plugs The Oak Initiative,” Talk to Action, September 23, 2011.

5. Gastón Espinosa, “‘Today We Act, Tomorrow We Vote’: Latino Religions, Politics, and Activism in U.S. Civil Society,” The Annals of American Academy of Political & Social Science, July 2007, 151-171.

6. 990s for 2011 reveal the NHCLC’s budget below $1 million, a quarter of which goes to Rodriguez.

7. Sarah Posner,  “An Immoderate Proposal: Sam Rodriguez, “Centrist” Evangelical, to Give Benediction at RNC,” Religion Dispatches, August 26, 2012.

8. Pew Hispanic Center, “Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion,” Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 2007.

9. See, for example, Posner,  “An Immoderate Proposal: Sam Rodriguez, “Centrist” Evangelical, to Give Benediction at RNC.”

10. Rachel Tabachnick, “Oak Initiative Confirms Resignation of Co-Founder and Vice President Samuel Rodriguez,”  Talk to Action, September 21, 2011; Greg Metzger, “The Muslim Community’s Samuel Rodriguez Problem,” Talk to Action, November 7, 2011.

11. See Frederick Clarkson, “Anti-abortion Strategy in the Age of Obama,” The Public Eye, Winter 2009/Spring 2010.  See also Frederick Clarkson, “Where Did the Abortion Reduction Agenda Come From?” RH Reality Check, February 16, 2009.

12. Adrienne S. Gaines, “Hispanic Christians Rally Against Gay Marriage in New York,” Charisma, May 13, 2009.

13. Peter Montgomery, “Samuel Rodriguez: Marriage Equality an Assault on Religious Freedom,” Right Wing Watch, May 29, 2012.  Fox News Latino. Samuel Rodriguez: support of biblical marriage is a matter of faith, not politics.

14. Peter Montgomery, “Samuel Rodriguez: Marriage Equality an Assault on Religious Freedom,” Right Wing Watch, May 29, 2012

15. Samuel Rodriguez, “The Lamb’s Agenda,” July 2012.

16. America for Jesus.

17. Bruce Wilson, “Anti-Gay Marriage Pro-Prop 8 Leader Called For Antiabortion Martyrs,” Talk to Action, June 2, 2009

18. One Nation Under God, Inc., Who We Are.  See Frederick Clarkson, Eternal Hostility:  The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy, Common Courage Press, 1997, 107-109.

19. Pat Robertson, Interview with Anne Giminez, “700 Club”, Christian Broadcasting Network, 2012.

20. Forrest Wilder, “Rick Perry’s Army of God:  A little-known movement of radical Christians and self-proclaimed prophets wants to infiltrate government, and Rick Perry might be their man,” The Texas Observer, August 3, 2011.

21. Rachel Tabachnick, “Samuel Rodriguez, the New Apostolic Reformation, and Apostolic Government of the Church,” Talk to Action, September 24, 2011.

22. Tabachnick, “Samuel Rodriguez, the New Apostolic Reformation, and Apostolic Government of the Church.”

23. Bruce Wilson, “Wagner & Rushdoony,” Talk to Action, May 13, 2012.

24. Greg Metzger, “Samuel Rodriguez, Extremism, and the Oak Initiative,” Patheos, September 13, 2011.

25.  Tabachnick, “Samuel Rodriguez, the New Apostolic Reformation, and Apostolic Government of the Church.”

26. Metzger, “Samuel Rodriguez, Extremism, and the Oak Initiative;” Tabachnick, “Oak Initiative Confirms Resignation of Co-Founder and Vice President Samuel Rodriguez;” Metzger, “The Muslim Community’s Samuel Rodriguez Problem.”

27. Metzger, “The Muslim Community’s Samuel Rodriguez Problem.”

28. The High Impact Leadership Coalition has video recordings of the Defense of Marriage Summit. See also Peter Montgomery, “Harry Jackson Fundraises for Anti-Obama Campaign,” Religion Dispatches, September 17, 2012.

29. Samuel Rodriguez, “Hispanic Evangelicals’ Biblical Definition of Marriage Is a Matter of Faith Not Politics,” NHCLC, May 2012.

30. Rachel Tabachnick, “Affordable Power Alliance’s Harry Jackson Attacks Evangelical Environmental Network and EPA,” Talk to Action, October 7, 2011. The APA is a project of CORE, the Congress on Racial Equality, headed by Niger Inness.

31. Bill Berkowitz, “Rev. Rodriguez’s Unenviable Task: Selling Romney to Hispanics,”, July 17, 2012.

32. David Brody, “Romney’s Behind the Scenes Outreach to the Evangelical Community,” The Brody File, Christian Broadcasting Network, July 2, 2012.

33. Romney praised the former counsel for the legal arm of John Tanton’s Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) earlier this year: “I’m so proud to earn Kris’s support,” Romney said this January. “Kris has been a true leader on securing our borders and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into this country. We need more conservative leaders like Kris willing to stand up for the rule of law. With Kris on the team, I look forward to working with him to take forceful steps to curtail illegal immigration and to support states like South Carolina and Arizona that are stepping forward to address this problem.” See: Evan McMorris-Santoro, “Mitt Romney’s Long Embrace of Kris Kobach,” Talking Points Memo, January 18, 2012.

34. Harry Jackson and Aaron Manaigo, “Vertical Vote Campaign for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberties,” Values Voters Summit,” September, 15, 2012.

35. Samuel Rodriguez, “The End of the Republican Barrio,” NHCLC, March 4, 2008.

36. Carolyn Petri, “The Power of the Advisory Council, The Latino vote has already swung; McCain and Obama’s Latino advisory boards could explain why,” The American Prospect, November 4, 2008; Bruce Wilson, “NAR Apostle Cindy Jacobs Leads Hispanic Groups in Anti-Catholic Prayer Initiative,” Talk to Action, September 28, 2011.

37. Neil King, Jr., “Lost in Translation: GOP Struggles with Hispanics,” Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2012.

38. Samuel Rodiguez, Interview with Pat

Robertson, 700 Club, November 09, 2011

39. Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger, “Silicon Valley gives conservative Christians a boost: A group of venture capitalists is backing United in Purpose, an ambitious project that seeks to affect the 2012 election by registering 5 million new conservative Christians to vote,” Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2011.  Although the project appears to be formidable in some places, National Public Radio reported that as of February, the system still was still buggy in Florida.  Barbara Bradley Hagerty, To Get Out The Vote, Evangelicals Try Data Mining, “All Things Considered,” National Public Radio, February 27, 2012.

40. United in Purpose, Unleashing the Patriot, video. 2010


42. Kyle Mantyla, “Rodriguez: Christians Must Mobilize To Vote And Save America,” Right Wing Watch, November 8, 2011; Bill Dallas, One Nation Under God, DVD, United in Purpose, 2011, retrieved at Transformation Michigan, July 30, 2012.  Also appearing are former Rep. Bob McEwen (R-OH), anti-abortion activist Lila Rose, Dr. Timothy Johnson, president of the Frederick Douglas Foundation, and John Stemberger, President Florida Family Policy Council.

43.  For more on Reed’s involvement in the 2012 presidential election, see Jo Becker, “An Evangelical Is Back From Exile, Lifting Romney,” New York Times, September 22, 2012.

44.  Frederick Clarkson, Eternal Hostility:  The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy, Common Courage Press, 1997, 67.

45. Adele M. Stan, “Religious Right’s Ralph Reed Field-Tests Plan for Beating Obama,” AlterNet, July 10, 2012

46. Clarkson, Eternal Hostility, 28-29

47. Frederick Clarkson, Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy, Common Courage Press, 1997, 24.

48. Kyle Mantyla, “Understanding The Methods And Agenda of Champion The Vote,” Right Wing Watch, September 29, 2011
49. “LGBT Acceptance and Support: The Hispanic Perspective,” Social Science Research Solutions, 2012.

50. “Groundbreaking Latino and LGBT Campaign “Familia es Familia” Launches at NCLR Annual Conference,” Freedom to Marry, July 8, 2012; Familia es Familia.

51. Tara Bahrampour, “Gay, Latino activists form coalition to promote Maryland ballot measures,” Washington Post, August 28, 2012.

52. Paul Taylor, Mark Hugo Lopez, Jessica Hamar Martínez and Gabriel Velasco, “When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity,” Pew Hispanic Center,  April 4, 2012

Frederick Clarkson, a Senior Research Analyst at Political Research Associates, has written about politics and religion for more than three decades. He is the author of Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy and editor of Dispatches from the Religious Left: The Future of Faith and Politics in America. Follow him on Twitter at @FredClarkson.