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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Am I "Anti-Latino"?

Over the past sixteen months I have written six different pieces of what I would characterize as serious reporting on Samuel Rodriguez, with a number of other shorter blog posts/ responses. I am glad to see that Timothy Dalrymple has become the first reporter besides me to interview Rodriguez and to ask him for the record some difficult questions about his public statements and organizational commitments. I wish the interview had been done differently (to say the least), but I do appreciate that some key questions were asked and that Rodriguez was invited to give a thoughtful response. Unfortunately, instead of careful responses what Rodriguez has given is inflammatory charges, with not even a shred of evidence quoted or linked to, of anti-Latino and anti-Pentecostal bias on the part of either me or Mark Silk. Given the context of Rodriguez’s smear, it seems quite clear that Rodriguez was referring to me and to my work reporting on him and on broader issues about the New Apostolic Reformation. I am quite disappointed and dismayed that Dalrymple did not ask any follow up questions about these accusations and did not challenge Rodriguez to give documentation. Dalrymple also allows to go unchallenged Rodriguez's claim that I have lost "any sort of legitimacy as a commentator on issues of the public sphere." Tim mentions that he will share his opinions on the interview on Monday, but would it have been to much to ask that he press Rodriguez for any type of substantiation for his charges? I want to respond clearly and concisely to the anti-Pentecostal and anti-Lation charges in the hopes that readers will then turn to my actual reports and see for themselves the content of what I have written. I earlier responded to the charge that I am anti-Pentecostal, now I turn to the charge that I am anti-Latino, again noting that Rodriguez gives absolutely no evidence for this charge and that Dalrymple did not press him for any substantiation. All we have is the assertion that I am “a very discriminating, very bigoted anti-Pentecostal, and in my opinion anti-Latino” writer.

Of course, there is no evidence given because there is no evidence to be found. I could bore you with details of my extensive work with Latino students and families from my time in Southern California, and I could dig up criticism of Rodriguez from Latinos, but this would only serve to dignify Rodriguez’s remarks. My writing about Rodriguez, which is the only writing I have done specifically referring to the Latino community, is no more anti-Latino because it criticizes aspects of his public ministry than it is anti-male because Rodriguez is a male, or anti-American because Rodriguez is an American. My criticism is about specific words and actions that Rodriguez has spoken and done in his public ministry, not about his ethnicity. If criticizing a person who happens to be from an ethnic minority makes someone “anti” an ethnic group, then Rodriguez must be quite the anti-black leader because of his withering criticisms of the Obama administration. But of course that is nonsense—some of Rodriguez’s closest ministry partners are African-American just as some of my closest friends are Latino.

What I would urge everyone to do is to look carefully at the six articles I have written that seek to investigate the public record of Rev. Rodriguez and see for their self if any of the criticism is anyway based on the ethnicity of Rodriguez. The interested reader might also read my essay on Alan Hirsch, or my criticisms of Eric Metaxas---neither of whom are Latino but with whom I take serious, substantive issue with.

For convenience, here are the six essays I have written about Rodriguez:

**This post was updated on November 18.

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