The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and author of the new book "Be Light," recently stopped by TheBlaze's New York City newsroom to discuss Christianity, Donald Trump and the 2016 political season.
Rodriguez candidly attributed Trump's rise to become the presumptive GOP presidential nominee as a mass reaction to the cultural dynamic that has been at play over the past eight years — one that has been characterized by what he described as a "hesitant angst building up."
"The consequence of the earthquake is Donald Trump," he said, noting that societal reverberations have resulted from frustration over big government, impediments to religious liberty and political correctness "on steroids." "It's an interesting thing, because it's Christian populism."
Rodriguez continued, further describing the cultural changes that have unfolded, "In a matter of 7 and a half years, America has been redefined culturally, morally — in so many ways even economically [with] this thing called Obamacare."
Listen to Rodriguez at the 57:00-minute mark below:
But Rodriguez didn't let his fellow Americans — and Christians, specifically — off of the hook either when it comes to accountability for the cultural changes that have unfolded.
"It's us. We are what we tolerate. And even people who have a Judeo-Christian sort of ethos — we tolerated this, because we were afraid to be called names," he said "Because we have a narcissistic, selfie view of Christianity and we have this idea that it's all about being liked ... 'I want people to like me' ... we cared more about the likes and the people that follow us rather than obeying the one we follow."
Either way, Rodriguez said that Trump is resonating due to the fact that he appears "real," and that there's a sense of both transparency and authenticity to his candidacy when compared to others who are running in the 2016 race.
"He may be really wrong, but he's real," he said of Trump.
Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump speaks to supporters and the media at Trump Tower in Manhattan following his victory in the Indiana primary on May 03, 2016 in New York, New York. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Rodriguez believes, though, that the Republican "blew it with the Latino community" considering the rhetoric that he has uttered involving immigrants and illegal immigration more broadly.
The pastor, who has been vocal on immigration issues in recent years, said that Latinos do not support amnesty and aren't in favor of open borders. Rodriguez added that he wants to see a halt to illegal immigration — an issue he discussed with TheBlaze extensively back in 2014.
Stay tuned for part two of The Church Boys interview with Rodriguez later on this week, and find out more about his new book "Be Light: Shining God's Beauty, Truth, and Hope into a Darkened World."
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