Gabriel Salguero: Threading the Election 2020 Needle

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The importance of Christian discipleship in election season.

Over the last month, I have done over a dozen press interviews on the Hispanic evangelical vote and election 2020. I imagine that much of the interest is because Latino evangelicals are at the nexus of two major voting constituencies in America. There are close to 60 million Latinos living in the United States and they overwhelmingly vote Democrat. Evangelicals, who are about 25% of the US population, vote overwhelmingly Republican. Latino Evangelicals, members of both communities, are the quintessential swing voters. As the pastor of The Gathering Place, a Latino-led multi-ethnic congregation, I am, like many others, experiencing first-hand the delicate and monumental task of shepherding a political diverse congregation in polarized times. Florida is a historically significant swing state and Hispanic evangelical swing voters may be determinative, so the political commercials and campaign outreaches to our community are considerable. Indubitably, I get the question, “Pastor, how should I vote as an evangelical?” I never tell people who to vote for or how to vote but I do lay out Gospel principals for public engagement. Pastors are shepherds not autocrats.

My initial response is to remind our entire church family that evangelical is NOT a political category. Evangelicalism ought not be defined by partisan ideology but by theological concomitants. David Bebbington’s quadrilateral of conversionism, biblicism, activism and crucicentrism has always been a helpful framework for me. In addition, I point many of our congregants to the useful standard of evangelical identification that NAE/LifeWay Research has developed. That many parishioners, pundits, and politicians have defined evangelicalism in political terms …

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