This Friday, Samuel Rodriguez will become the first Hispanic and Assemblies of God pastor to play a role in a presidential inauguration, in this case, the swearing in of Donald J. Trump.
Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and the pastor of a church in Sacramento, didn’t endorse either candidate during the campaign. He did meet with Trump last summer for “a very healthy discussion” of issues, including religious liberty and immigration. “We also talked about racial unity as it pertains to bringing the country together,” Rodriguez, who also serves on CT’s board, said in a statement.
Despite the controversy that has followed Trump throughout his campaign and Rodriguez’s own disagreements with him on immigration, Rodriguez is committed to engaging with his presidency—a position he would take with almost any politician.
“Are there any politicians I will not work with? Wow. It would require an extreme sort of agenda coming out of a politician, or rhetoric coming out of a politician, that would prompt me somehow to say, ‘I can’t work with this person,’” said Rodriguez, who has previously advised both Democrats and Republicans. “Something that is so derogatory. Something that is anatema to who we are as Christians.”
Rodriguez joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli to discuss why the church should not retreat from culture, what led 60 percent of Latino evangelicals to vote for Trump, and why Christians should register as independent voters.