Did The President Just Score With The Baptist Church?

Austin Hill
|
Posted: Jun 17, 2012 12:01 AM
Did The President Just Score With The Baptist Church?
It allows for “immunity from deportation,” and for “work permits.”

It is not described as amnesty, but rather, as a “deferred action process” that allows for greater “discretion” with spending resources.

Say what you will about President Obama’s new policy on not deporting illegal immigrants – it’s politically motivated, it’s vaguely worded, and so forth. The fact is that this policy shift potentially scores points for the President on both the left and right sides of the political aisle, and most certainly has changed the dynamics of the presidential election.

Let’s start by examining some political realities. And let’s begin with this: the President’s re-election campaign has obviously been faltering over the last several weeks.

Earlier this year feminist groups lamented that the President had not done enough to support “women’s health concerns.” President Obama responded with an executive order that health insurance companies provide abortion and birth control coverage-which enraged conservative religious hierarchy and drew a lawsuit from the Catholic Church against the federal government. And the President’s polling lead over Republican rival Mitt Romney dropped slightly.

Then LGBT activists threatened to withhold campaign donations from the President because he had not done enough to champion the re-defining of marriage. In response, the President declared that his position on marriage had “evolved” and that he now supports “gay marriage.” And the President’s polling numbers dropped a bit further.

Shortly after, Team Obama began a series of attacks on Mitt Romney and the Bain Capital Private Equity firm (a venture capital firm for which Romney once worked). Romney, the Obama campaign suggested, had ruthlessly carried-out Bain’s objectives of firing as many middleclass, blue collar workers as possible as it took over private businesses, all for the sake of greedily squeezing more profits out of these companies.

These allegations from the Obama campaign were so egregious that even CNN Anchors began questioning their validity, and prominent Democrats began distancing themselves. Obama surrogate representative (and the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey) Corey Booker noted on national TV that Bain Capital has done a good job growing American businesses, and described the bashing of venture capital as “nauseating.” Democrat strategist James Carville expressed that he was “worried” about the President’s message on economic issues.

And once again, the President’s polling numbers continued to slide.

So now, having announced policy positions that appease certain left-leaning constituencies but that do not resonate with mainstream America, and with economic headwinds working against him, the President is in a colossal struggle for political survival. And the ethnically diverse youth culture that helped him get elected in 2008 is feeling the brunt of his economic policies, and has been left un-motivated.

It’s easy to see that “immunity from deportation” is, at least in part, what this left-leaning youth culture has been wanting from President Obama. But here’s what is not so obvious: it may very well be that the President has given socially conservative religious groups part of what they’ve been wanting, as well.

Although the dominant media ignores this, the fact is that key religious groups in the United States – many of which lean Republican in their political views – have nonetheless been calling for a “gentler tone” from Republicans on illegal immigration. Chief among these groups is the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest religious denomination.

Do a quick internet search with the name Dr. Richard Land (a leader among the Southern Baptist hierarchy), and you’ll see a pattern. Land has been calling for more permissive policies on illegal immigration for well over five years.

In fact, less than a week ago Land publicly joined forces with noted Evangelical and liberal Democrat Reverend Jim Wallis to announce what they’re calling the “Evangelical Immigration Table,” an agenda that seek s to A) Respect the dignity of every human individual; B) Protect the unity of the “immediate family;” and C) Respects the rule of law. Arguably, President Obama’s directive may be viewed as undermining the rule of law, as immigration law currently exists. Yet it is difficult to imagine that the President’s announcement is not embraced as very good news among the “immigration table” enthusiasts.

And it’s not just Baptists who may be quite pleased here. Mitt Romney’s own faith community, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Church), has become increasingly vocal and active with what can best be described as a relatively “moderate” stance on illegal immigration policy.

In fact, State Senator Russell Pearce, a Mormon and one of the author’s of the now-famous (and controversial) Arizona illegal immigration law “SB 1070” (the law that is now before the United States Supreme Court) increasingly found himself at odds with his own church in the aftermath of the law’s passage. The disconnect between the Senator and his church became so tremendous that Pearce was removed from office in his heavily Mormon district in Mesa, AZ, during a recall election last November, and replaced with the more moderate (and Mormon) Senator Jerry Lewis.

As media pundits ponder President Obama’s overture to the left (some call it outreach, others call it “pandering”), most are ignoring the cry for immigration moderation among social conservatives. And the President may have just gained some political ground that Republicans seemingly have been ignoring.