Missing from mid-August news stories about Texas politicians who allege an international conspiracy of “terror babies” is their faith affiliation.
Yep. You guessed it. They are Southern Baptists.
These Southern Baptists contend that foreign, pregnant women come to the United States as tourists. They give birth here, making their children American citizens based on the 14th Amendment. Then, these women take their infants back to their native countries. The mothers indoctrinate them, train their children in acts of terrorism and dispatch them in 20 years back to U.S. soil as terrorists.
State Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball) told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the source of her information is former FBI officials.
“This is something that’s being talked about by various members of Congress. This is being looked into. This is an issue with not only folks coming across our southern border with what is called ‘anchor babies’ and coming over for the entitlement programs…But I think this is a lot more sinister issue,” said Riddle.
“This is a critical, critical issue for all the American public,” she said, pointing out that these women were coming from either south of the border or Middle Eastern countries.
Riddle identifies herself as a preschool Sunday school teacher at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston and past president of the Texas Tea Party of Republican Women.
The other fear monger is U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas), who identifies himself as a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler and a graduate of Baylor’s law school.
Both Champion Forest Baptist Church and Green Acres Baptist Church are affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Gohmert first announced on June 24 the terror baby plot on the floor of the House of Representatives.
“There are people coming into this country who want to destroy our way of life,” said Gohmert in defense of Arizona’s anti-immigration law.
“I talked to a retired FBI agent who said that one of the things they were looking at were terrorist cells overseas who had figured out how to game our system. And it appeared they would have young women, who became pregnant, would get them into the United States to have a baby. They wouldn’t even have to pay anything for the baby. And then they would turn back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists,” he said.
The congressman said, “And then one day, twenty, thirty years down the road, they can be sent in to help destroy our way of life. ‘Cause they figured out how stupid we are being in this country to allow our enemies to game our system, hurt our economy, get set up in a position to destroy our way of life.”
Gohmert later told Fox News that his source was a terrorist grandmother in the Middle East.
In August on CNN’s Anderson Cooper, an unhinged Gohmert turned up the volume, played the victim card and offered no evidence for his conspiracy theory.
Gohmert and Riddle are examples of conservative Christians who have the spirit of fear. Their ideology allows them to imagine the most absurd conspiracies, bundling a prejudicial stereotype that “Mexicans” and Muslims have the same agenda to take over “white Christian America.”
Not all conservative Christians have such fringe conspiratorial views, making decisions based on fear instead of facts, reaching conclusions based on ideology instead of solid information. But far too many do. Look at the number of Americans who think Obama is a Muslim without an American birth certificate. Consider the lack of discernment about the diversity and complexity within the Muslim world.
Even those Christian conservatives who try to address the immigration issue do so with a spirit of fear.
When Riddle’s pastor, David Fleming, preached a sermon on immigration, his language and behavior disclosed fearfulness.
After he participated in a July press conference with other Houston-area clergy announcing the “Pastors’ Declaration on Border Security and Immigration Reform,” Fleming spoke about immigration in his pulpit. He criticized the coverage of the press conference, made fun of the government, ducked behind and peaked over two poster boards.
In a sermon based on Romans 13 and Leviticus 19, Fleming said that the pastors’ declaration had three points and assured his congregants that he was not advocating for amnesty.
“Secure our national borders first,” he said. “We should welcome those who come through the gate, not a hole in the fence.”
Second was reformation of the immigration system. And third was the implementation of a justice process “to legal status for specified, not all, illegal immigrants.”
Fleming’s approach is illustrative of the fearfulness on the immigration issue, a dynamic that makes one wonder why the likes of Gohmert and Riddle feel the need to fuel the fear with a completely unfounded narrative.
Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.