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Latino Religions and Civic Activism in the United States

Edited by Gaston Espinosa, Virgilio Elizondo, and Jesse Miranda

Publication Date - 11 August 2005

ISBN: 9780195162288

368 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

How does religion impact political and civic engagement in the Latino community?


The Latino community in the United States is commonly stereotyped as Roman Catholic and politically passive. Latino Religions and Civic Activism in the United States challenges and revises these stereotypes by demonstrating the critical influence of Latino Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Mainline Protestants, and others on political, civic, and social engagement in the United States and Puerto Rico. It also revises the ostensibly secular narrative of Latino history and politics. The authors analyze the critical role that institutional, popular, and civil religion have played in Latino activism. This timely book offers readers a new framework by which to understand and to interpret the central importance of religious symbols, rhetoric, ideology, world-views, and leaders to Latino religions and politics over the past 150 years.

About the Author(s)

Gastón Espinosa is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College and past project manager of the Hispanic Churches in American Public Life research project. Virgilio Elizondo is Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Notre Dame, co-principal investigator of the Hispanic Churches in American Public Life research project, and co-founder of the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas. Jesse Miranda is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Studies and Ethnic Leadership at Vanguard University, co-principal investigator of the Hispanic Churches in American Public Life research project, and founder and president of the Alianza de Ministerios Evangélicos Nacionales (AMEN).


"This book is a must read for anyone interested in the relationship between Latino religions and the struggle for justice in U.S. society. College, university and seminary professors and students as well as community activists, pastors and lay leaders will find this text useful in deepening their understanding of the role of faith in sustained political action." --James H. Cone, Briggs Distinguished Professor of Theology, Union Theological Seminary, New York

"Finally! A collection of timely, high-quality, variegated, and very readable essays that examine the impact of U.S. Latino/a religions on social and political participation over the past 150 years. A must-read that is predestined to become a classic in its field." --Otto Maduro, Professor of World Christianity and Latin American Christianity, Drew University

"I warmly recommend this book as an original scholarly examination of the pervasive influence of religion--personal, institutional, and cultural--on the political and civic actions of Hispanics in the U.S." --David Leege, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

"This excellent book provides the most comprehensive portrait to date of U.S. Latino religions and politics. It challenges previous stereotypes, advances our understanding of the connection between religion and civic activism, and maps out this diverse community and its changing styles of political and civic engagement. Highly recommended!" --Wade Clark Roof, Director, Capps Center for the Study of Religion and Public Life, University of California, Santa Barbara

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