Home / News / National / Pentecostal pastor in New York challenging Ocasio-Cortez for House seat

Pentecostal pastor in New York challenging Ocasio-Cortez for House seat

Although the 2020 presidential race dominates the headlines, it’s not the only race being contested next year. Every House seat in the 435 member chamber is being contested.

A Hispanic pastor and city councilman from the Bronx is challenging the polarizing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“My biggest concern is socialism as being the biggest problem that we’re going to face in America,” Fernando Cabrera said in a story reported by Religion News Service.

The self-described centrist, pro-capitalist, Hispanic evangelical preaches at New Life Outreach International Church in the Bronx, where he serves as senior pastor. “Houses of worship are a beacon of hope,” he said. “We need somebody in Congress that gets it.”

Although sometimes described as Pentecostal, Cabrera said he prefers to call his church nondenominational.

“When you say Pentecostal here in New York, especially in our Latino community, it’s somebody who doesn’t wear makeup and doesn’t allow a woman to wear pants,” he said, laughing and noting that he grew up Catholic.

The son of a Dominican father and a Puerto Rican mother, Cabrera had an encounter with God at age 17 that inspired him to become a pastor, a calling he has pursued ever since. He believes his ministerial experience aids him as a lawmaker, keeping him tied to the community.

“When you are a pastor, it keeps you grounded to the real needs — the burdens, the struggles, the challenges — that our communities are facing,” said Cabrera. “It makes me more sensitive to the challenges that religious communities face.”

He cited his involvement in a 2013 fight to allow churches and other religious communities in New York City equal access to gather for worship on public school property when it is not in normal use. “I don’t want to see the rights of religious people being taken away,” he said.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice