By Alex Gonzalez
It is often presumed by some religious group that Latinos are not of western European stock and with no Judeo-Christian values . This is the message often used by many like Glen Beck to portray Latinos immigrants and their culture as part of non-western “outside” culture that is similar to militant Muslims like Palestinians. And since they are not one of us, it is easier to legitimately create laws that target the “outside” group. This is a tactic used since early days of the Republicans to demonized waves of immigrant Jews, and other non-Protestant groups. The demonizing of Hispanic groups, lately, as not being as western, has often played out well in Conservative Religious organizations that seek to persuade Evangelical Christians to support Israel. More, frequently they used the US-Mexico border as example of how things are in Israel by portraying Latin immigrants similar to the Muslim Militant angry Palestinians and the Israelis as the defenders American values. However, as it is often the case, well –intentioned, ill-informed, religious Christian voters fall into a trap and consciously, or unconsciously, promote the wrong message under the mantel of “good Christian values” to de-legitimate and de-westernize group for political purposes. And this is counter to interests of Israel with Latinos.
Carol Sewell is Jewish/Texas “author” who wrote an essay for the Texas Insider titled Are Illegal Immigrants America’s Palestinians? Where she argued that SB1070 was the right law for Arizona. According to Sewell, democrats“ have no desire to secure our border and stop the flow of illegals swarming across our border…” She continues, “I listened to all the stories regarding this big decision on immigration and I had an epiphany of sorts.” She realized that illegals in this country are very much like the Palestinians in the Middle East. I am not certain where Sewell received her western civilization or conservative religious teachings, but nothing of what she states about Latinos can be empirically factual or, truly American conservative for that matter. For one thing, the issue of illegal immigration is more political than real. Fore example Conservatives like Linda Chavez and Michaels Barone have already written extensively arguing that actual data by CBP and CBO shows that there is no illegal immigrants “swarming across”. Thus, the real the problems this type religious messages is that Evangelical Christian voters often perceive this false message to true, and they become alarmed.
But the most intriguing question here is why some with such good Christian values would try compare “illegal” immigrant Latinos in the US with Palestinians? The answers is that there is an entire movement within ardent religious Conservative groups who want to portray Latino immigrants as though they are outsiders and not Christian. This would make it easier to separate them from western culture and link them to militant Muslim organization to, therefore, promote anti-immigrant laws by scaring good-intention religious folks.
The crux of Mrs. Sewell argument is that illegals are not Christian like us. Therefore, any type of law (SB1070) that is forced to push this separation, even if is un-American, is an accepted method, even if it is the enlargement of big government bureaucracy. In her epiphany, she realizes that Latinos are not Christian—they are also like Palestinians—and they are also toys of the liberal media. Sadly, this is the subtle type of malicious tactics used before by nativist know Nothing movement to de-westernize other groups they perceived as unfit for American-ness and Christianity. For example, Peter Schrag, Historian California Journalist, has written many books about the southwest and Hispanic culture. He noted that the same language used again Jews, Italians and Esters European Slavs is exactly the same anti-immigrant language use currently again Latino immigrants:
The new immigrants, circa 1900, were portrayed prone to crime, covetous of Americans’ jobs, and likely to become public charges…. their children were hard to educate; they would never adopt the ways of good Americans. And those stereotypes a century ago about Italians—as well as Slavs, Greeks, Jews, Armenians, and other southern and eastern Europeans— echoed those about Irish two generations before that.
Schrag noted that the same language used against Jews, Italians and Esters European Slavs is exactly the same anti-immigrant language being used currently against Latino immigrants. If we now read the essay by Carol Sewell, it looks identical to the prejudice used by the WASPish Know Nothing against to de-westernized Jews and other catholic groups:
They very quickly are taught how to reap all the free benefits available when you know how to work the system. They are kept in perpetual poverty and dependence on the government to take care of them. They are nothing more than propaganda (or PSAs) to get us to accept open borders and the idea that if you live here (illegally) you should have all the benefits of citizenship. They fail to mention that their “good intentions” will keep them enslaved to the federal government and impoverished for generations. Not just impoverished but forced to live in crime ridden areas subject to sub-standard housing, education and economic opportunity. Hispanics are the new Palestinians in America and it is shameful. We should be ashamed to be a part of this type of politics. Unfortunately, “shame” is in short supply these days. But it is not just the Hispanics who are being used but the “poor” working class and the welfare classes are also in the same situations.”
In reading this, one could guess that the typical angry characters like Michelle Malkin or Pat Buchanan—who argue that Latinos are not of Western culture—and Tom Tancredo are pretending to be the new WASPish. But this is not the case. Mrs. Sewell is a Jewish/Texan “author,” who argues that “Christians must equip themselves with America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and true history, as well as a working knowledge of Biblical and secular worldviews and our civic responsibilities. “ However, in her innate religious impulse and her attempt to promote her Jewish/Israeli cause in America, she also promotes a cultural of falsehood in which she places Latinos as non westerners and non-Christian. And, instead she places them in a category similar to Palestinians; nnd we know how Christians in Texas feel about Muslims.
Mrs. Sewell does not care that the Latino culture and religion is a local culture in Texas and part of Texas’s history; and culturally, they are the same–legal or Illegal. When Latino immigrants, especially Mexican immigrants, come to Texas, they come to places where earlier groups of Mexican- Americans fought to keep their culture and religion alive. It would be equal to when Jewish Americans traveled to the holy land; what binds Jewish-Americans and Israelis is religious historical myth that has little to do with legal status or citizenship. This cultural connection among Latinos is why most already-established Latino elites in Texas and New Mexico see SB107 as cultural attack that affects all Latinos equally.
Moreover, if anyone wishes to make the argument that Hispanics are not like us—not Christian and more like the Arabs/Muslim Palestinians—it is just utter mal-intentioned deception to demonize Latin culture. But the fact is Hispanic/Latinos are more religiously Christian than many Jewish liberals in the coastal states and more traditionally Catholic many Irish and German catholic in the east coast and Mid-west. In effect, the conservative religious Judeo-Christian values of Ms. Sewell are the same values of those she label “ illegal” immigrants that grew up in American and the religious value of those Latino Illegal immigrants who come to this county and bring more a traditional form of Catholicism to America.
For example, according to Robert Putnam’s book, American Grace: How Religion Divides Us and Unites Us, there is a triangulation between religion, ethnicity, and region because groups like to stay together and attend religious services in churches that are familiar to them. But, one little known fact is that, while there has been a “white flight” in the Catholic Church for the last 3 decades, Latinos have been the new pillar of the Catholic Church for the last 2 decades. According to Putnam, Catholics are about 25% of the US population, a proportion that has remained steady for 3 decades. But, American Catholicism has experienced a dramatic change. Over the last 3 decades, “Anglos”—non Latinos—Catholics have been dropping out and disengaging with the Catholic Church. During the same periods, the numbers of Latino Catholics has grown tremendously transforming the American Catholic Church. Hence Latinos immigrants, both legal and illegal, are the glue that is holding the American Catholicism together.
Furthermore, to suggest that only “illegal” Latinos immigrants can be like Palestinians, while all Latinos citizens and legal resident are Christians is a bizarre approach because all Latinos attend the same school and churches. For example, All Latinos in Texas, 38% of Latinos of Texas, are culturally, religiously, and historically homogenous in Texas. Therefore, it would be impossible to separate the legal from the illegal in school or churches so some can be like “Palestinians.”. So unlike Palestinians and Israeli- Jews who have been fighting over religion for 2000 years, and apart from the fact that one are newly arrived and other are 3rd or 4th generation, all Latinos in Texas and Arizona for that matter, attend the same school, go to the same churches. They belong to the same geno-religious tree with roots in Christian Catholicism and Rome; and that historical tree has roots in the southwest.
As a result, it is genetically and psychologically—historically and religiously—impossible to separate Latinos based on legal or “illegal” status. Moreover, the inflow of these illegal Latino immigrants has strengthened the Christian Catholic Church, and the protestant Evangelical and Pentecostal churches; 15% of Latino’s immigrant self-identify as Protestants. As a result, there is hard data to show that these immigrants are the true pillars of the Catholic church and the reason why America is becoming a more traditional religious nation.
Furthermore, unlike what Mrs. Sewell believes, Latino culture shares a European Sanguine law—linguistic cultural linage—that makes them part of the western European tribes in its core culture. So Latino culture and identity is a Catholic religious western identity. And, Latino culture is part of Texas and other southwestern states. When Latino immigrants, legal or illegal, come to Texas, their religion links them with other native Latino Texans who have been in the state for generation because they share the same Sanguine western culture. And this type of culture acknowledgment is core Judeo-Christian tradition. Mrs. Sewell should know this because she is Jewish. For instance, that it would be impossible for a Russian or American Jewish immigrant to take citizenship in Israel without their religions lineage identity. The only reason why Israel grants Israeli citizenship to immigrants from all over the work is because of the religion Jewish identify while keeping Palestinians as guests.
Therefore, the whole idea that Latinos illegal immigrants in Texas can be like “Palestinians” is misconception, or covert attempt to de-westernize Latino immigrant to a seek legitimization of punitive un-American laws like SB1070. The whole idea that Christian try to de-westernize Latino immigrant culture is denial of Texas Hispanic culture and of states like New Mexico whose constitution is crafted around the protection of Hispanic culture. Therefore, unlike Palestinians and Israelis who have been fighting religious wars for over 2,000 years, Latinos immigrants working the lands here in Texas are as Christian as much as those 3rd, 4thand 5th generation of Mexican-American in Texas; they share the same western religious creed of Roman Catholics in the US who now bear the sole responsibility of keeping the Catholics Church in America alive. So, as any traditional western European Sanguine law, all Latinos belong to the same ethnic and religious group and cannot be separated by citizenship, legal or legal status. Could we suggest that Jews here in the US, are different from Jews in Israel depending on how you enter the country?
Poor Whites Republicanss v. Poor Latinos immigrants Voting Democrats.
The other issue is the is that Latinos are “enslaved” if they vote democrat. But the nation the poor masses is condition unique among Hispanic voting Democrats is false since there about 25 million of whites living under the official federal poverty levels while only 13 million of Latinos in this category. More striking is that those 25 million are mostly concentrated in Southern Republican states that have strong religious mantra. So in this instance, poverty is not predictor of poor people voting democrat because poor whites in the south vote Republican because of their religious tradition. If fact, it is the later generation of Hispanic who become more educated who tend to be less religious.
According the US census in 2010, Blacks experienced the highest poverty rate, at 27 percent, up from 25 percent in 2009, and Hispanics rose to 26 percent from 25 percent. For whites, 9.9 percent lived in poverty, up from 9.4 percent in 2009. Asians were unchanged at 12.1 percent. But since whites are still about 70% (210 million) of the total population in the nation and Latinos are only 16% (50 million) , 10 % poverty among whites translate into about 23 million and only 13 millions of among Latinos. and Since most poverty is in the south, southern states. There are more poor whites in Republican states receiving welfare benefits, yet voting Republicans. Consequently, poverty does not lead to citizens voting democrats and poverty is not exclusive to Latinos immigrants or their US citizens cohorts.
So there about millions of poor “white” in the south on welfare who vote Republicans but nobody accused them of being “slaved”. Too, there are over millions of wealthy and educated “whites” who vote democrats, but nobody accused of being “enslaved”. Moreover, in reality there are more poor “whites” in the south voting Republican than poor Latinos voting for democrats. So why stigmatize Latino as “enslaved”?
I am among the first to recognize the Latino in the US can benefits from learning from the political activism of Jewish-Americans . But , if Jewish-Americans like Mrs. Sewell wishing to recruit Hispanics in the US to help with the Israeli cause, they need to start with arriving generation who are more Conservative.
It is difficult to explain rationally and empirically to why Sewell attempt to portray Latinos as Palestinians being that she is devoted Christian. My guess is that she is influenced by those shows like Glen Peck promoting falsehoods in which Latinos immigrants are depicted muslin militants prone to terrorism, and therefore, we need to create laws s to punish them because they are not one of us. However, for this ardent religious advocators who promote the strengthening the allegiance between the US and Israel–Judeo-Christian values—they need to realized that demonize in and de-westernize Hispanics immigrants is the wrong way to go if they want to persuade Latinos to support the cause of Jewish state. We are only a generation away from the fact California and Texas , the two most important states in the union, will be dominate by Hispanics. And they could easily bloc any legislation, including those aimed supporting Israel.