identities

Atheist And Non-Religious Latinos Are Growing In Numbers

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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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#atheist #atheism #agnostic #secular #religion #god #faith

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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!

Check Out These 9 Trans Activists On Instagram As They Fight For Justice And Equality

identities

Check Out These 9 Trans Activists On Instagram As They Fight For Justice And Equality

laith_ashley / linndaquebrada / Instagram

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is a solemn event that takes place every year in November. People around the world come together in local events held to honor the lives lost to transphobic attacks throughout the year. The life expectancy of a trans woman of color is 35 years old as many face physical violence for living as they are. Here are 9 trans activists who are fighting to make the world and safer and more welcoming place for trans women, men and non-binary people.

1. Bamby Salcedo

Salcedo is the CEO and co-founder of Trans Latin@ Coalition in 2009. The organization operates nationwide in the United States and works closely with trans communities in several states. Organizers in the group work with policymakers to shape laws to help the trans community and offer assistance in receiving medical care and fair housing in a country that allows discrimination based on gender identity in many states.

2. Carmen Carrera

Carrera first made a name for herself as a contestant on Season 3 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” She didn’t win but she did use the fame and recognition to announce her transition shortly after the third season wrapped. Since transitioning, Carrera has worked tirelessly for trans rights and inclusivity within Latin America and within the modeling industry.

3. Shane Ortega

Shane Ortega was the first openly trans person to serve in the U.S. military. He has stood up and spoken out against President Trump’s anti-trans policies attempting to bar trans people from proudly serving in the military.

4. Laith-Ashley de la Cruz

De la Cruz started his modeling career at the same time he began his transition. The model and spokesperson has shared his story of acceptance and transition on news outlets in an attempt to demystify the misconceptions of being trans. He wants for people to realize that trans people are more than their transition.

5. Jennicet Gutierrez

Gutierrez is an organizer for Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement (FTQLM) and is best known for confronting President Obama during a press conference. Gutierrez publicly confronted President Obama about the deportation of trans women to countries that are hostile to them. Gutierrez was born in Mexico and understands the fight many trans women across Latin America are involved in when it comes to their safety. Many countries have no protection for trans women who face violence for being who they are.

6. Manitas Nerviosas

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Manitas Nerviosas is an indie musician in Mexico leaving her mark in the Mexican music scene. In a predominately Catholic and conservative society, Manitas Nerviosas sole existence in the music space is a form of resistance and pushing the boundaries of what gender means in Mexico.

7. Linn Da Quebrada

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ela não eh feia nem bonita

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Da Quebrada is a black Brazilian rapper who calls herself a gender terrorist. She is using her music to call out and fight back against the machista culture in Brazil. The South American country is notoriously known around the world for having shockingly high rates of transphobic and homophobic murders. The election of Jair Bolsonaro as president has sparked more fear among LGBTQ+ Brazilians.

8. Daniela Vega

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Bienvenidos 29 💅🏻

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Vega reached global stardom when “A Fantastic Woman” was released. The Chilean film won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 Academy Awards. The film was praised by critics for casting a trans woman to play a trans woman role as she navigates life, love and work as a trans woman in South America.

9. Sylvia Rivera

Sylvia Rivera is one of two trans women of color who initiated the modern Gay Rights Movement at Stonewall in 1969. Rivera was at the New York City bar when police raided and began harassing patrons. Rivera, along with Marsha P Johnson, fought back and the riot led to days of unrest and the first LGBTQ+ pride march in NYC.


READ: Transgender Honduran Woman Died In ICE Custody, Weeks After Seeking Asylum

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