"That was Harry Reid," says Samuel Rodriguez, folding his flip phone as he leaves a strip-mall chain restaurant. It is an April day, and Congress is warring over immigration. "They are really courting us. You should have heard the way Nancy Pelosi was talking."

Rodriguez is a young 36 with longish hair and a neat black goatee. Fast-talking, articulate, utterly bilingual, he exudes confidence. Rodriguez is a "brilliant thinker and an authentic man of God," according to National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) president Ted Haggard. "He is the Karl Rove of Hispanic-Anglo evangelical strategy."

Consulting with the Senate minority leader, however, is new territory. With immigration topping the news, Rodriguez has become a go-to guy. He started the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) six years ago to be a voice for Hispanic evangelicals. Suddenly, everybody in Washington—media and politicians—wants to talk to him.

Rodriguez should be happy with his new prominence, but he doesn't look entirely happy. "Immigration puts us at odds with our white evangelical brothers," he says. He has spent years building alliances, and now he is unsure whether they will last. Rodriguez knows what happened with civil rights. To this day, many African American Christians distrust white evangelicals even though they share views on school prayer, abortion, and gay marriage. Hispanic evangelicals might similarly resist alliances with those they perceive as blind to their core concerns. That is the last thing Samuel Rodriguez wants.

At a Washington press conference in April, Rodriguez and a coalition of Christian leaders issued a statement in favor of "comprehensive ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
Despair Not Subscriber Access Only
There is something worse than misery and death.
Current IssueWhat to Make of Donald Trump’s Soul
What to Make of Donald Trump’s Soul Subscriber Access Only
And how that might shape our response to his presidency.
RecommendedWhat You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’
What You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’ Subscriber Access Only
A more biblically accurate understanding of Jesus' words in Matthew 25.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickThe Greatest Threat to the Church Isn’t Islam—It’s Us
The Greatest Threat to the Church Isn’t Islam—It’s Us
A leading Nigerian theologian believes the real danger to Christianity in Africa is in the church.
Christianity Today
The Call of Samuel
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.