US Hispanics undergoing a 'Latino Reformation' [Excerpts]
Hispanics in the United States are becoming evangelicals at a rapid rate Time Magazine reported.
"Latino evangelicals are one of the fastest growing segments of America's churchgoing millions," said Elizabeth Dias, the author of the report.
Time calls the phenomenon "The Latino Reformation."
"They call themselves Evangelicos," Time's managing editor Richard Stengel [said]. "They are Latino Americans who have embraced an evangelical form of Protestantism."
"They have forsaken Catholicism for all kinds of reasons," he said. "They look at a kind of charismatic Protestantism as a way of becoming more American, of assimilating."
The Time article also indicates that Hispanics are turning to evangelicalism because they believe it gives them a more personal relationship with God than Catholicism. There is no priest as a "middleman."
Currently 62 percent of the approximately 52 million Hispanics in the U.S. are Catholic according to a 2012 Pew poll.
Stengel predicted that by 2050 half will be evangelical.
"It is difficult to track the groundswell of these new Protestants," said Dias in a background story. "They often meet in storefronts or living rooms, and language barriers complicate the census process."
The rise of Hispanic evangelicals appears to be influencing the current political debate over immigration.
The common view is that evangelicals oppose granting rights to illegal immigrants. However, ABC News reported this week that evangelical leaders in several states are producing an advertising campaign aimed at changing the minds of conservative Christians on immigration reform.
ABC noted that one of the reasons for the push for immigration reform among evangelical leaders could be the large increase in Hispanics attending their churches.
Another significant influence of the Hispanic evangelical movement is its impact on future elections. Stengel noted that Hispanic evangelicals are "extremely" social conservatives.