U.S. citizens’ duty to vote is similar to Christians’ duty to love their neighbors, Hispanic evangelicals heard from the pulpit Sunday at a bilingual Miami-area church.
The preacher: Tim Kaine.
Hillary Clinton’s running mate visited Pneuma Church in West Kendall to get in a Sunday service and ask Latinos to vote — in Spanish.
“Buenos días a todos,” he told a couple hundred congregants after getting the microphone from the Rev. Christian Garcia, according to video of the service the church posted online. It was the first time that a candidate on a presidential ticket addressed a church entirely in Spanish, according to the Clinton campaign.
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Kaine went beyond his usual anecdote about being a Jesuit missionary in Honduras and promised not to talk about Clinton’s campaign platform: “We’re in a church,” he said. “But we have a duty to participate and vote according to our values.”
“When I lived in Honduras it was during a military government — a dictatorship — and no one could vote during that time,” he said, plugging Florida’s vote-registration deadline coming up Tuesday. “I’m thankful that this church is working to get people registered.”
Kaine said he and Clinton are people of faith. Then he launched into a retelling of Luke 10:25-37, better known as the parable of the Good Samaritan, in which a Samaritan is the only person to stop and help a beaten man lying on a road.
“Hillary and I think our administration, God willing, is going to be an administration where every day we’ll work to make a difference in people’s lives,” Kaine said. “It’s important for us to help and offer people compassion — and that’s an important reason to participate in elections.”
Kaine concluded by saying he hoped to return to the church someday with his wife.
“While I was here, I felt your prayers,” he said.
The Rev. Garcia then asked church members to join him on stage. As they placed their hands on him and prayed, Kaine bowed his head and closed his eyes. Afterward, he touched his heart and hugged the pastor.
Garcia had introduced Kaine by acknowledging differences that his flock might have with Clinton, particularly on same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
“We’re not here to reject people because they don’t think like us,” Garcia said.
Kaine later stopped by The Faith Center, a largely African-American megachurch in Sunrise. The Democratic VP nominee attends a majority-black Catholic church in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Fellow speakers Sunday included Broward Mayor Marty Kiar, who is also Catholic, and Sheriff Scott Israel, who is Jewish.
“Hillary and I are soulmates. Hillary also has a deep, deep faith background,” Kaine told the crowd of 1,300 to 1,500 before repeating the Good Samaritan parable.
Kaine’s two-day South Florida trip wrapped up at TooJay’s Gourmet, a Jewish deli in Plantation, where he ordered a bagel and stopped to talk to ideologically friendly diners about the election.
“It can’t get any weirder, right?” Kaine quipped.