The first speaker hosted by Mercer’s new Center for Theology and Public Life will focus on themes related to Hispanic Protestant Christianity and its public engagement in the United States. The Rev. Gabriel Salguero, noted author and thinker on these issues, will deliver several addresses in Atlanta and Macon, Oct. 11-12. The events are co-sponsored by the McAfee School of Theology and are free and open to the public.
An estimated 46 million Hispanics live in the United States, making them the second-largest ethnic group in the nation at 15 percent of the population. While hailing from the predominantly Roman Catholic nations of Latin America, recent estimates suggest as many as one-third of all Hispanics are Protestants, and the vast majority of those are considered evangelicals. Salguero is a leading thinker, organizer and activist within the progressive Hispanic evangelical community.
“Hispanics matter greatly to the future of the United States. This is true at every level: political, cultural, religious and economic, and the two major political parties are contesting for the Hispanic vote quite intensely,” said Dr. David Gushee, director of the Center for Theology and Public Life. “Georgia has a considerable Hispanic population and considerable ferment over immigration policy. Northeast Atlanta, where Mercer’s Atlanta campus is located, has a large Hispanic presence. This is the first time that Mercer University has hosted an event to discuss these important issues for Georgia and the nation, and it is most appropriate that Mercer would be the site for such important discussions.”
Salguero is director of the Hispanic Leadership Program at Princeton Theological Seminary and he and his wife, Jeanette, are the senior pastors of the multicultural congregation The Lamb’s Church in New York City. He has written extensively on immigration reform, public policy, ethics and race, and multicultural and indigenous leadership. Salguero also serves on the boards of the Latino Leadership Circle, Sojourners, the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good and Evangelicals for Social Action. Charisma Magazine named him one of the 20 voices of the new generation of Christians. He serves as a panelist for The Washington Post’s OnFaith blog and was honored by El Diario/La Prensa with the “El Award” as one of the 25 most influential Latinos in New York.
On Oct. 11, he will speak twice on the Atlanta campus in Day Hall Auditorium. The first lecture at 2 p.m. is titled “Brown Rising: The Emergence of Latino Evangelicals” and will address the rise of Hispanics within the evangelical and Hispanic communities. The second lecture, at 3:30 p.m., is titled “Immigration and the Clash of Civilizations: A Latino Response to Huntington,” and will focus on the contemporary political fight over the policies on illegal immigration. Salguero will also deliver his immigration lecture again that day at 8:30 p.m. on Mercer’s Macon campus in the Presidents Dining Room in the University Center. On Oct. 12, Salguero will address the McAfee School of Theology’s weekly chapel service at 10:45 a.m. on the topic, “Global Church: Spirituality and Power,” in Day Hall Auditorium.
“The Center for Theology and Public Life exists to foster theologically informed discussion about issues of great significance arising in American public life,” Dr. Gushee said. “These lectures are the inaugural events for the Center and we believe that they will help to establish the Center, and Mercer, as host of nationally significant conversations on issues that are crucial to the future of our country.”