Non-Religious Latinos Are Growing In Numbers

Non-Religious Latinos Are Growing In Numbers

Jackie Mejia of mitú reports that research shows many Latinos, especially young adults, are moving away from religious affiliations. –

“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.

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.”

 

Latino Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients

Latino Congressional Medal of Honor Receivers

Reynaldo Leanos, Jr.

. Daniel Fernandez, 21, a Military Specialist 4th Course got on a mission in Vietnam when he as well as others were trying to conserve an injured soldier. When they came under opponent fire, Fernandez leapt over an injured sergeant as well as onto a grenade to protect others, sacrificing his own life to conserve them.

Fernandez is one of around 60 Latinos that have been granted the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest possible award offered to an individual serving in the Armed Solutions for valor in action versus an opponent pressure.

Fernandez and five other Latino receivers of the Congressional Medal of Honor that have connections to New Mexico are being honored at a display called “New Mexico Hometown Heroes: Hispanic Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients” at the National Hispanic Cultural Facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The exhibition, which opened up Thursday, commemorates their lives and also solution in the Armed Forces.

Daniel Fernandez, a 21-year-old Specialist Fourth Class in the Vietnam War.
Daniel Fernandez, a 21-year-old Professional 4th Course in the Vietnam Battle

. National Hispanic Cultural Facility The exhibit honors World Battle II professionals Personal Joseph Martínez, Exclusive José Valdez as well as Master Sgt. Alejandro Ruíz. It likewise celebrates Vietnam Battle veterans Fernandez and Louis Rocco, as well as Leroy Petry of Operation Enduring Freedom.

All the receivers are deceased other than Petry, who lost his hand when he grabbed a live grenade to ensure it wouldn’t take off and hurt or eliminate his fellow Rangers,

according to his citation.”SACRIFICED EVERY LITTLE THING”

Fernandez’s sibling, Peter Fernandez that served airborne Force for 4 years, went to the opening function. He stated he’s constantly admired his older bro, who was five years older than him, especially for his commitment to the armed force.

Many of Fernandez’s memories of his older bro entailed their childhood years because he was just 16 when his sibling was killed abroad, yet he remembers his as a daring person and somebody that loved pets.

Throughout Daniel’s remain, Fernandez remembers a discussion he had with him regarding his time during the war, a discussion that amazed him.

“He told me that he can not fire till he had actually been shot at,” said Fernandez. He remembered thinking he had a bro “that was so devoted to protecting our nation,” yet every person in your home appeared so opposed to the entire conflict.

“For him ahead home as well as tell me that’s what he was experiencing, that he could not fire till he was shot, in my mind, I practically felt as well, why are we over there?” said Fernandez.

The need to maintain these stories alive and also get a much better understanding of that these receivers were is one of things Fernandez hopes people take away from the display.

The Medal of Honor rests on a flag.
The Medal of Honor hinges on a flag.

Handout/ Getty Images”Like all various other professionals, these are people that compromised every little thing in defense of our country,” claimed Fernandez. “Currently in our lives, we require to find out to stand with each other a lot more, and also if these Legislative Medal of Honor receivers, that were around fighting for our nation, were below, I do not know what they would certainly be thinking of the state of our country and also just how split it is.”

Anna V. Uremovich, an archivist at the National Hispanic Cultural Facility, claimed it was essential for her team, which included Patrick Trujillo that helped co-curate the display, to stand for the social as well as familial facet of these take on men’s lives.

“Latinos and also Hispanic Americans have a lengthy valued practice of armed forces solution, whether they are USA born or they come from another nation,” said Uremovich.

The exhibit will get on display until mid-January.”