The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez has made it no secret that he believes immigration reform is a necessity -- one that transcends the political arena and, in his view, should be embraced by all evangelicals. In an effort to openly advocate his cause, Rodriguez, a popular preacher who is also the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, is set to begin a 40-day fast.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (Credit: AP)
Starting Monday, Rodriguez will start his quest -- one that he believes will advocate morality, fortitude and justice. And he's hoping other Christians will join him in his efforts.
"In the spirit of Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders who have acted on the moral imperative to do justice, as well as our ultimate example found in Jesus, I likewise sense an urgent conviction to engage in the spiritual exercise that in my faith narrative produces great results," said the faith leader in a press release announcing his effort.
He added, "I will be engaging in a personal fast and call others to join me as we pray for the vital importance of immigration reform now."
Rodriguez is planning to fast for at least 40 days, but he said he's willing to continue doing so until immigration reform is passed.
In speaking with TheBlaze earlier this year, the preacher detailed his belief that the tides are changing in evangelical circles. Rather than avoiding the immigration subject or standing against reform, he believes many Christian leaders are in agreement that the system needs to be amended.
In April, he told TheBlaze that he believes evangelicals' previous stances against reform were rooted in “spiritual, cultural and political myopia.” Rather than a horizontal issue, the faith leader said that conservative evangelicals are now seeing the issue vertically and have awoken to the realities the nation is facing on the immigration front.
Amnesty, he said, has never been a part of Rodriguez's plan. His National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference stands for a three-pronged approach to solving the immigration crisis and ending the influx of illegals into the U.S.
Rodriguez's proposed fixes are as follows: Increasing border protection through additional technologies and patrols, creating a guest-worker program with strict parameters and developing standards for illegal immigrants who do not have criminal records.
The pastor believes that illegals should move to the "back of the citizenship line" and pay a fine. Additionally, he believes anyone who is allowed to become a citizen must learn the language and comprehend civic responsibility before officially becoming an American.
“Ronald Reagan would agree with me on this. He was the one who said that these immigrants really embody the future of America,” he told TheBlaze earlier this year. “True conservatism [means that] if we are to conserve the spirit of entrepreneurship, we want to welcome these immigrants.”
Considering his influence, it's likely that Rodriguez's fast will attract a great deal of attention to the issue.
(H/T: Charisma News)