Culture

Atheist And Non-Religious Latinos Are Growing In Numbers

As a majority of U.S. Latinos, about 77 percent, identify as Christians according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. Of those, 48 percent identifying as Roman Catholic and 19 percent identifying as Evangelical Protestant. It’s easy to see how some Latinos may not believe or approve of those who identify as Latino atheists.

Throughout centuries, Latinos have been linked to Christianity.

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This was mostly through the indoctrination of faith by Spaniards who brought over the Roman Catholic faith to the New World.

A multitude of memes, films and television shows portray Latinos as lighting a saint candle as an ofrenda, praying for El Tri to finally make it to the fifth round in the World Cup, or exclaiming ¡Ay,Dios mío! as a colloquial form of expression, but what about those Latinos who identify as non-religious or atheist? They do in fact exist and are growing larger in numbers.

According to the 2014 Pew’s religious landscape survey, 20 percent of U.S. Latinos identify as unaffiliated with any religion.

Jessica Martinez, an author for the Pew study, told NBC News in 2014 that Latinos between the ages of 18-29 are leaving Catholicism for non-religious affiliation.

Although smaller in number than Roman Catholics, non-religious and atheist Latinos want you to know they have the same strong moral compass as the person next to them who is praying to St. Anthony to help them find a parking spot in downtown traffic.

Here’s what a couple Latino atheists have to say about their lack of faith.

Eddie, 24, of Salvadoran and Mexican descent, grew up attending Catholic school until he headed off to college at a public university. When he was a sophomore in college, a debate with a Christian group on campus solidified the fact he wanted to identify as non-religious.

“After having a conversation with a Christian organization on campus and asking ‘So if a Buddhist monk lives his life along the same values as Christianity, just because he has grown to accept his faith, especially since geographically Christianity might have a smaller presence, is he destined to go to hell?’ When the response was ‘Yes, he would go to hell.’, I knew this wasn’t for me,” he said.

Eddie added after reading holy books and creation stories from other civilizations, he didn’t see Christianity as being “that special or unique to other religions of the past.”

While some Latinos such as Eddie changed their beliefs once they got older, others were raised in a non-religious household and continued their non-religious beliefs into adulthood.

One person wants others to know that religion is not necessary to have good morals.

Born in Argentina, Val, 35, said he was raised in a family that often talked about life, ethics, and history.

“My personal upbringing differed [compared to religious Latinos] because from a very early age, we were never lied to, about anything. My parents did their best to explain the world without creating narratives to simplify the unknown.”

He doesn’t consider himself an atheist, but instead just doesn’t believe in God or in organized religion.

“I just believe in life and the true evolution of earth and human kind,” he said.

While both Eddie and Val said they have family, friends and work colleagues who accepted their non-religious views, some Latinos and other members of religious communities still have misconceptions about non-religious people and atheists.

“I find few Latinos that are atheist or that don’t feel internally sorry for me for being one,” says Matias, 39, who was born and raised in Argentina throughout his childhood.

He said the biggest misconception about atheists is “that without religion one has no morals or values. It’s absolutely ridiculous and insulting.”

“I am an atheist, and while we never know exactly how we evolved, I am convinced of the absence of god and any truth in religious beliefs. Rarely do I get very negative, aggressive responses. But again, very few agree or take it seriously within the Latino community I am with,” he continued.

While views about religion among especially older Latinos is still seen in a traditional way, the misrepresentation and under representation of atheists at large in media and pop culture is bound for a change—a change Eddie is still hopeful for.

“[Atheist and non-religious Latinos] are possibly more underrepresented, but that’s what makes this time so pivotal. In so many areas, including religion, people are able to break the status quo and define what a Latino or atheist can look like,” he said.


READ: 10 Folk Religions You Didn’t Know Existed In Latin America And The Caribbean

What are your thoughts on religion as a Latino? Are you atheist or non-religious? Let us know in the comments below!

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People On Twitter Are Sharing Their Hilarious Moments Of Catholic Guilt

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People On Twitter Are Sharing Their Hilarious Moments Of Catholic Guilt

Latina / Pinterest

Ah. Catholic guilt. It’s the thing that keeps you up at night after missing a phone call with your Abuela and submitting to your mom’s demands that you drag your feet to church with her on any given Sunday. No matter where you are in your life, whatever parts of your faith you’ve cast aside, it sticks with you like eucharist to your tongue.  After all, catholic guilt is like living with your own personal nun who speaks truths and anxieties into your ear for the rest of your life. She asks if it’s real worth it to risk eternal hellfire for that one white lie or speeding in a neighborhood. Here are all of the times, Catholic guilt really got you.

The first time you start to think that sex before marriage might be caca?

And your Catholic school teachings snap your right back in for a few more years. Of course, through ought these years you experiment with a lot of “self-care” which you also feel guilty about. TBH you probably also used your virginity and ceasing to stop flicking the ol’ bean as a bartering chip for waiting to have sex too. 

When it feels so wrong that it feels so good.

“We all know catholic guilt is why we are kinky mfs”. And you KNOW that all of those years of delayed gratification led to a world full of weird kinks and freaks that you might even feel a little guilty for being into now. 

When the weather feels great but global warming.

“I know a lot of people are confused by the commingling emotions of “this weather feels so good,” and “we will pay for this and the earth is for sure dying,” so for those uninitiated I would like to say welcome to Catholic guilt” – @ohJuliatweets. You know global warming is a problem and yet, you can’t help but thank the stars for how warm it’s been this winter season. 

It’s the thing that walks with you in life like that story of Jesus’s feet on the beach.

https://twitter.com/Danyul_manyul/status/1214660728751370249

“Not ever dealing with catholic guilt and shame.”

It haunts you years and years later.

“When I was 22, I pretended the Nsync/Britney Spears cd I was buying at McDonalds drive-thru was for my 4 year old niece in the backseat becuz I was embarrassed. I still feel bad about that. Just in case anyone wonders what Catholic guilt feels like & how long it lasts. FOREVER!!”

And don’t get it twisted, Catholic guilt will be there with you through thick and thin. 

Because it will come for you in the A.M. 

It pops back at you when it’s time to eat.

So you never overindulge without feeling extremely guilty for it. In fact, you probably feel way worse after years of being told about all of the starving kids in Africa.

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A Mexican-American Now Holds One Of The Highest Positions In The US Catholic Church, Could This Be An Anti-Trump Statement?

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A Mexican-American Now Holds One Of The Highest Positions In The US Catholic Church, Could This Be An Anti-Trump Statement?

America The Jesuit Review

The Catholic Church has had a varied position in the political spectrum in contemporary times in the Americas. While in South American countries such as Chile and Argentina it has aligned with conservative governments and those in power, in the United States this centuries-old institution has traditionally been seen as a progressive force that generally innovates when it comes to the inclusion of ethnic minorities (they are, however, still pretty conservative when it comes to gender and sexual diversity, and reproductive rights).

It should not come as a surprise that the conclave of US Catholic bishops just made a pretty big decision by choosing an immigrant archbishop as perhaps the highest ranking priest in the country. He is a defender of migrant rights and can potentially be highly influential with the Latino vote come the 2020 presidential election. 

José Gomez, an immigrant of Mexican heritage was just named the next president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

In vernacular terms, this is a BFD. Archbishop José Gomez leads the Church in Los Angeles, a key jurisdiction when it comes to important affairs such as immigration, bilateral relations with Mexico and progressive agendas that the Church traditionally opposes, such as same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana. Los Angeles is also the largest archdioceses in the country, in part due to the large population of Latinos and Filipinos, who are traditionally born and raised Catholic.

He was elected almost unanimously with 176 votes from his fellow bishops, with just 18 votes going to his opponent, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, who was subsequently voted vice president.

America The Jesuit Review sums up his background: “Archbishop Gomez, who was born in Monterrey, Mexico, was ordained to the priesthood in the Opus Dei prelature in 1978. In 1980, he received a doctorate in sacred theology from the University of Navarra, in Spain. He served as a priest in Texas from 1987 to 2000”. Even though he comes from one of the most conservative congregations in the Church, the Opus Dei, he has made a career by defending the rights of the marginalized.

He is a defender of migrants and a fierce supporter of DACA, so his election could be read as a political statement.

Credit: America The Jesuit Review

Archbishop José Gomez has long defended migrant rights, which has made him popular among the Latino population of Los Angeles, one of the most multicultural metropolis in the world. Even though he had been serving as vice-president and his election followed tradition, some argue that it is also a sort of unofficial positioning of the Catholic Church against the iron-fisted immigration policies of the Trump administration, which have brought immense suffering to Latinos in the greater Los Angeles area, including forced family separations and deportations by the now despised government agency ICE. 

He doesn’t hold his words back when it comes to border affairs and the human crisis at hand.

Credit: The Intercept

As The New York Times reported, the archbishop said after his election: “We have this situation at the border, which is a tragedy. We are constantly talking about immigration, especially encouraging our elected officials to do something, and to come up with immigration reform that is reasonable and possible”. Traditionally the separation of Church and State has been pretty clear in the United States, but as some Christian Evangelical denominations have become quite tight with the Trump White House and validate its tough policies, perhaps the Catholic Church will be a counterbalance when it comes to political lobbying in defence of migrant rights. 

He was born in Mexico and now defends DACA recipients.

Archbishop Gomez, contrary to many men of the cloth, is very direct when it comes to his political position. In the eve of his election he read a message for DACA recipients from the pulpit, just as the Trump administration is fighting to reverse the program and as the president has called some DACA recipients “criminals” on Twitter.

The message read: “In this great country, we should not have our young people living under the threat of deportation, their lives dependent on the outcome of a court case. So, we pray tonight that our president and Congress will come together, set aside their differences, and provide our young brothers and sisters with a path to legalization and citizenship”.

As we said, he doesn’t hold back. This is an elegant way of opposing the POTUS without being confrontational. He also believes that there is a Latino wave in the Church, given that the Pope is Argentinian: “The fact that the pope is a Latino makes us feel a responsibility for the church. He has been a great blessing for me and for the church. For Latinos, it’s easy to understand some of the wonderful things Pope Francis is doing to reach out to people”. 

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