By Alex Gonzalez
For someone who claims to be a ‘Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican last, ” there is little evidence to suggest that Dan Patrick upholds true to traditional Christian values. In fact, there is more evidence now suggesting that Dan Patrick is giving all “Christians”– both Protestant and Catholics– in Texas a bad name. When Dan Patrick refers to himself as a “Christian first” in his campaign for Lt. Governor, yet espouses demagoguery of his fellow Christian brothers who helped him build his business, and whom he now vilifies as criminals and “invaders,” Patrick turns Christian preaching in Texas into a religion of systematic deception and greed. He is the true sense of someone who has built his success on the backs of others and now seeks to break those same backs.
The news on Wednesday that Dan Patrick at one time hired undocumented workers to work in his restaurant because he believed these were good hardworking people was not a surprise but a disappointment. He additionally helped these same people obtain their immigration status at one time, yet Patrick now refers to these people as criminal and invaders. In other words, Dan Patrick is now vilifying a group of people that he used to believe were essential to his business, and maybe to his moral Christian religious consciousness (perhaps this is why he offered to help with them with their immigration status by offering them jobs.) What used to be the good hardworking Mexicans immigrants for the creation of his wealth, Dan Patrick now portraits as criminals and invaders. This psychological moral shift can only suggest one, thing: he has abandoned his religious Christian values for pure political ambitions.
In a state that is proud of its religion and its Christian culture – Evangelical, Southern Baptist, Lutherans, and traditional Catholic churches that trace their roots back to Spanish settlements – residents of Texas should be wary of a political leader who is using “Christian values” to promote as deceitful political agenda.
As a nation, we believe that we are Godly people and “rational” human beings and we presume that our national charter is the desire of God to have our Shining City on The Hill. We also believe that in aligning with our Godly Constitution, we are rational beings who live in an orderly “civic society.” The Laws of nature are a precept, or general rule, based on God’s cause of “liberty and necessity”. These “Laws of nature” clearly entitles men certain rights and “Obligations” (respect for one another) and cannot be taken away by the sovereign—government. So these Godly obligations , or Laws of Nature, towards our fellow Christians dictates that no self-described “Christian first” can have the authority to speak ill of their fellow Christian brother and sisters, or rather speaking against the value of another’s life, is not Christian in the humane sense.
When Dan Patrick talks about invaders, he is talking about family members, co-workers, fellow church members in the pews, and bretheren Texans. As Russell D. Moore, an evangelical theologian, ethicist, preacher, and President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Puts it in and op-ed in the WSJ:
The immigration debate has become personalized,” he says. “In the Midwest and South and Southwest, our churches now have large immigrant populations. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ.” The people in the pews “understand we’re not going to deport 11 million people without a big government police state”—something his coreligionists do not want. ..The Scriptures call us, in imitation of God Himself, to show compassion and justice for the sojourner and alien among us.
Under this Christian creed we are all Christian brothers and sisters in Christ, the opposite of what Dan Patrick preaches these days.
And this is why for the last two years, hundreds of evangelicals and evangelical leaders from across the country have converged in Washington, D.C., with a unified message: We need immigration reform now, and we are praying for our members of Congress to follow through. There is nothing un-American in being compassionate to a fellow human.
In addition, as reverend Sam Rodriguez states: “The Bible speaks clearly and repeatedly to our obligation to uphold the rule of law and expect the government to enforce the law. But we also are called to care for “the least of these among us,” to act justly and mercifully toward the “stranger.” God judges nations based on how they treat the strangers in their midst. At this extraordinary moment, our government has the opportunity to align our rule of law with our biblical obligation to welcome and care for the stranger…we need an immigration reform that will honor our American values, our biblical values and our God.”
Thus, Christian values are values that presuppose that these immigrant workers “are our brothers and sisters in Christ.” As a result, nothing that Dan Patrick is espousing in this campaign as “Christian first” about immigration embodies the Holy Scriptures or the teaching of God himself, as exemplified by Reverend Rodriguez or Evangelical leader Dr. Russell Moore.
Dan Patrick likes to pretend that he is a good Christian businessman who is successful because of his hard work, and perhaps some of this is true, but he has lost some of the Protestant Moral Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism in his quest for political ambition.
Max Webber, in his book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism argued that Protestantism is important because it is a fervent positive religious ideal, “a calling”, and it was the catalyst to the development of western-style capitalism. Weber further states that the psychological conditions that made the development of capitalist societies possible were found in Protestantism because labor organizations were “rational.” Rationalism is a system that is not based on tradition but on a deliberate systematic adjustment of economics meant attain the objective of economic profit. Weber believed that for Protestants, the “calling” is not a condition in which an individual is born, but an strenuous and existing enterprise to be chosen by himself. Business, therefore, considered a vice for many, takes sanctity in Calvinist theology, and “Labour (work) is not merely an economic means: it is a spiritual end.” These religious views are essential to spread a rational organizational labor.
Patrick used to believe in these Christian protestant values mentioned in Webber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism because Patrick used to encourage these hardworking Mexican immigrants to maximize their potential. As under the Christian Protestant values, the “calling” is not a condition in which an individual is born, but a strenuous and existing enterprise to be chosen by himself, in this case those immigrants hired by Patrick.
But Patrick no longer believes in this Protestant Value, or Spirit, and he now wants an omnipotent government who will chase these workers out of the country. He has lost his Christian religious moral and capitalist values, and instead, is preaching deceitful political campaign rhetoric that is giving Christians a bad name in a state that is proud of its Christian (Protestant and Catholic) history.
It is hard to discern what changed in Patrick, his moral compass, his political thought, or just his religious understanding. One thing is certain, Patrick is losing his religion in search of the limelight in politics.Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote! He received a Bachelors Degree and a Masters’ Degree, with emphasis in American politics, from San Francisco State University. comments to firstname.lastname@example.org