Hispanic Evangelicals Push Back on Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric in Health Care Debate, Label Exclusion as 'Xenophobic Health Care Reform'
SACRAMENTO, Sept. 21, 2009 /Christian Newswire/ -- America's largest Hispanic Christian Organization, The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), The Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals, expressed disappointment and warned of continued polarization as a result of the recent incorporation of anti-immigrant rhetoric within the current Health Care debate.
"The Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals believes our nation needs Health Care Reform that reconciles affordability and accessibility with the protection of life, conscience, personal and religious liberties. We encourage all members of Congress to debate this issue with integrity, humility, and respect. Health Care reform is a matter of Social Justice driven by a moral imperative that is undeniable. The fact that millions of Americans lack health care coverage is unacceptable", declared Dr. Gilbert Velez, NHCLC Chairman and President of the Hispanic Mega Church Association.
Hispanic Evangelicals are reacting to rhetoric recently incorporated by both parties declaring that a proof of citizenship requirement will be included in Heath Care Reform proposals prohibiting undocumented families’ access to coverage.
"Correspondingly, we find it to be both morally and politically disadvantageous not to include coverage for all those currently residing in our nation. To require immigrants to prove citizenship in order to purchase Health Care coverage stands as a defacto endorsement of racial profiling and continues to exacerbate the anti-immigrant sentiment currently embedded within the immigration reform debate", explained Rev. Nick Garza, Conference Chief Operating Officer.
"To exclude the opportunity for working families to purchase coverage will place over 12 million homes in a precarious situation. This is deportation via attrition or better yet, some may label the scheme as Xenophobic Health Care Reform. We call upon all the White House, Congress and faith advocates to respectfully address this matter from the platform of Leviticus 19 as we are admonished to treat the strangers among us as one of our own", added Garza.
The Conference is hosting town halls in Hispanic populated regions in order to discuss the impact of the proposed legislation.
Rev. Eve Nunez, Conference Vice President for Networking added "In order to pass viable Health Care Reform, America needs all stakeholders fully engaged including the Hispanic and Faith communities. Let us work together to find common ground that will insure both our physical and moral health".
The NHCLC serves approximately 16 million Hispanic Evangelical and Charismatic Christians via 25,434 churches by providing leadership to the 7 Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.