‘We Must Pray With Actions’: Latino Church Leaders Offer More Than Prayers After Uvalde Shooting

Por Hamil R. Harris
samuel rodriguez Latino
Pastor Samuel Rodriguez. (Photo via IMDB/Creative Commons)

Pastor Samuel Rodriguez preached at a Boston revival meeting last week — in response to recent mass shootings across the country — under the title “The Plow of Hope,” quoting Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

“We have to keep pushing the plow of hope,” said Rodriguez. “The number one crisis in America is mental illness and young people embracing a virtual world and attempting to bring it into the real world.

“The loss of the most vulnerable speaks to the fact that we live through dark times. There is a collective sense of despair. … This young man (the shooter in Uvalde, Texas) was living in darkness. What defeats darkness is the light.

“We can’t negate the sovereignty of a mighty God,” Rodriguez added. “We must pray with actions. We can’t expect our elected leaders to provide solutions.”

Rodriguez is the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference — the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, with more than 42,000 churches in the U.S. — and his influence can be found throughout Latin America. Rodriguez is a regular guest on CNN, FOX News, Univision and Telemundo. He has also been invited to the White House by the last three presidents because he is considered one of the top 100 Christian leaders in America.

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In the 1960s, the church was the epicenter of the African American community. Today it is more daunting for ministers like Rodriguez, a native of Puerto Rico, to have the same influence over the Latino community in the U.S. — but he is making a difference.

De acuerdo con la U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population reached 62.1 million in 2020, an increase of 23% over the previous decade that outpaced the nation’s 7% overall population growth. According to the Pew Hispanic survey, 83% of Hispanics claim a religious affiliation, and among Latinos, most are Catholic — more than 62%.

These numbers are significant when one looks at the response to the May 24 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, a majority Hispanic community where 19 children and two teachers died. It was the deadliest incident at a U.S. elementary school since December 14, 2012, when a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

“It is heart-wrenching what has occurred,” Rodriguez said in an interview. “The words are so few, but God is still in control. We have to see beyond this incident.”

Rodriguez, an author, filmmaker and advisor to the last three presidents, is the leader of a broad-based Hispanic organization with 46,000 churches; he said now is the time to go beyond prayers and talk.

“This is an awakening for us,” said Rodriguez, calling for three things: “Churches should hire a mental health minister; schools should work toward having a single entrance; and thirdly, the age to obtain a gun should be raised to 21. We believe in the Second Amendment, but we must have prudent and common-sense approaches.”

Heber David Paredes — the pastor of Iglesia Roca de la Eternidad in Landover Hills, Maryland, with more than 1,000 members — is a friend of Rodriguez.

“We have to be attuned to the emotional state of our children,” Paredes said. “We have two to three hundred children in our small group, and our leaders are counseling with them. This is unbelievable. We had another last night in a hospital. There is no security anywhere.”

“I am trying to teach people to live in this environment with the peace of God,” Paredes said. “There will always be something to take the peace.”

Rodriguez paced on the stage of the New Season Church in Sacramento, California, last weekend — flanked by his praise band — but his heart was a world away in Uvalde, Texas.

“The higher you lift Jesus, the lower Dagon has to fall,” Rodriguez boomed. Can we speak to the nation? What happened in Texas, the violence against our children — that Dagon will come down!” Dagon is the name of a deity worshipped in the ancient Middle East, considered a false god by Rodriguez.

“Look at your neighbor and say there is glory inside of me — I am the temple of the Holy Spirit,”  said Rodriguez, who wore a T-shirt that displayed the word “Glory.”

And on the eve of Father’s Day, Rodriguez said, “We need dads to come back into  the lives of young men and double down on what is wrong.”

Paredes agreed: “The young man in Texas was troubled because he had no mother or father in his life. Who listens to these children when they express the anger that they have?”

Esta historia fue publicada originalmente por Religión desconectada.

Hamil R. Harris es profesor adjunto en la Universidad de Maryland College Park y colaborador principal en ReligionUnplugged. También es ministro en la Iglesia de Cristo de Glenarden y capellán de la policía. Harris, reportera desde hace mucho tiempo, colabora con medios como The Washington Post, USA Today, The Christian Chronicle y Washington Informer.



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12 pensamientos sobre “‘We Must Pray With Actions’: Latino Church Leaders Offer More Than Prayers After Uvalde Shooting”

  1. Sí,

    All of this sounds real good .

    The Bible says test the spirits if they are of God

    This preacher partners with most false teachers that lead souls straight to hell

    This man is a regular in the TBN NETWORK which is the head quarters for all the ravenous wolves in SHEEPS clothing

    These profiteers are more interested in their fame , recognition and their pocket books than the missions they promote

    Because off this, this man is ti be avoided rebuked and separated from !

    Good causes do not equate to good men!

    All the false prophets profits of old promoted peace comfort safety and blessing and the people praised them

    All the true prophets were scoffed at hated and martyred John the Baptist Beeing the greatest prophet ever his head served on a silver platter , a man who wore a poor man’s coat and are locusts and honey was not like one of these here that lives in mansions and 7 figure salaries

    Biblically this man is an enemy of the true gospel but uses it to promote his name and his fame!

    1. Marcos Gunderson

      Okay points taken.

      How is your theologically correct church addressing mental health issues and gun violence in your community?

      1. Sylvia Rodriguez

        I do feel some television preachers are to blame for their hypocrisy and divisive speech. The John Hagee’s. On his Facebook page mentioned border problembut never mentioned God control. TBN hired a former governor who has a weekly and his speech is divisive! Yes, some hold onto their positions and acts of kindness to continue receiving their high salaries How many books are some teachers, preachers going to author with recycled topics to make a profit????

      1. Andrés Tomás

        If the brush fits, Jesus perfectly describes (read Matthew 23) the characteristics of how fallen/false preachers/churches will present themselves.

        1. Remember – technology and drug advancements sometimes double every 8-12 months.


          “This is a lecture by D.C.Hammond, originally entitled “Hypnosis in MPD: Ritual Abuse,” but now usually known as the “Greenbaum Speech,” delivered at the Fourth Annual Eastern Regional Conference on Abuse and Multiple Personality, Thursday June 25, 1992, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, Mark Center, Alexandria, Virginia.”

          “Back to risk. I know of no therapist who’s been harmed. But patients inform us that there will come a future time where we could be at risk of being assassinated by patients who’ve been programmed to kill at a certain time anyone that they’ve told and any member of their own family who’s not active. If that would come about is speculative. Who knows for sure? Maybe, but I don’t think it’s entirely without risk. A question in the back?”

  2. Dr. Cynthia Norbeck

    According to the NIH:

    “The development and maturation of the prefrontal cortex occurs primarily during adolescence and is fully accomplished at the age of 25 years. The development of the prefrontal cortex is very important for complex behavioral performance, as this region of the brain helps accomplish executive brain functions.”


    Establishing age-appropriate gun-purchase limits makes perfect sense given this information. Why would anyone want young men handling guns unattended before their brains are fully developed? Further, why would anyone ignore animal cruelty in young people, a sure sign of mental illness?

    Last question: Why do many Christians persist in attacking each other? God is building His church while you waste your time trying to tear it down. Even the gates of Hell itself cannot succeed in stopping His plan.

    1. Andrés Tomás

      “Why would anyone want young men handling guns unattended before their brains are fully developed?”

      Growing up on a farm everyone handled guns from an early age, it was part of our responsibility to the family to be able to provide food (or protection) if something should happen to the dad (or older siblings). You would start with a bb gun at 5 y/o and work your way up .22, 410 shotgun, 12 gauge, finally higher powered rifles, by age 10/12. If you were unable to properly handle the firearm, you were no longer allowed the privilege of using one and everyone in the community was made aware of this fact. We were also driving work trucks, tractors, cars, and other farming equipment by age 8, again for the above reasons. The boys and girls were cross trained in each others responsibilities, girls learned to hunt/farm/butcher, boys learned to cook/sew/take care of the new additions to the family. There was a rotating schedule on responsibilities each month. We also read the Bible every night as a family and prayed as a family.

      The warning signs that are displayed by the people committing these crimes would have been addressed and corrected.

    2. Andrés Tomás

      “Why do many Christians persist in attacking each other?”

      I cannot speak for anyone else, but it is bearing false witness to sit idly by while the church presents itself as something that it is not, no longer holds the 10 Commandments as the standard of our service, a preacher that distorts the scripture for their own gain, and christians that speak their truth, not God’s. I am not perfect and when my words are not based on scripture/my behavior does not match scripture, I would expect a scripture based rebuke, but not an attack (although sometimes the truth comes across as an attack, when it is not).

      Jesus came to divide with truth, not unite with lies. When you attempt to bring light to the darkness, those that love the dark will do everything in their power to stay there. We are not to support the modern Pharisees/hypocrites/those not open to the Word (dust off your shoes and move on Mt 10:13-15, Mk 6:10-11, Lk 9:3-5), but we are not to judge them because for that is God’s place not ours and we will be judged by the same standards.

  3. Pretty amazing journalism for what’s typically a propaganda factory.

    “How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?

    We should know. But we don’t.

    This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” The number is far higher than most other estimates.

    But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government’s Civil Rights Data Collection.”


    We’re being played/manipulated once again by evil entities, but when will Christians wake up to this reality?

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