More Latinos join Pentacostal churches

August 25th, 2007 · 14 Comments

I found this article about the growth in Pentacostal churches in Tucson. I can understand why Latinos leave the Catholic church.  Catholicism is mysterious, old, and often quite serious. Then of course, there are the abuses of the Catholic church, but I think that you can find abuses in almost all major faith organizations. I was struck by this particular quote by Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, in that same article, “We Hispanics are emotional people. We are telenovela, Ricky Martin, J Lo, salsa and habañero chiles. We are fireballs, and here is this religion that is fireball. It engages emotions.” Oh dear Jesus, help us. Can you say “stereotype” any louder? Basically, he is equating the faith needs of Latinos with entertainment and emotional drama. Now, I don’t think that Latinos should be bound to any one faith or church. There are Jewish Latinos, Catholic Latinos, Muslim Latinos, Latinos who practice indigenous beliefs, and so on. We are a diverse group, but I’m bothered that Mr. Rodriguez is playing into a stereotype of our people to describe our religous preferences or needs. He certainly doesn’t speak for me or my social group of Latinos that I interact with. I’m sure that if I repeated this quote to any of my friends or family member that they would be offended too.

This quote also raises another issue for me in the broader sense of how we are perceived by the mainstream establishment. If we have our own people describing us as chiles, fireballs, J. Los, and Ricky Martins, how are we ever going to be taken seriously when it comes to public policy issues and the political agenda of this country? I never hear black religious leaders speaking this way about themselves. Could you have imagined Dr. King or even Rev. Jesse Jackson saying such a thing about the black community?

For the record, I believe that J. Lo is still a Catholic, and I have read that Ricky Martin admires Buddhist philosphy.

Tags: Evangelicals · Pentacostal churches

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Latino Pundit // Aug 27, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    , “We Hispanics are emotional people. We are telenovela, Ricky Martin, J Lo, salsa and habañero chiles. We are fireballs, and here is this religion that is fireball. It engages emotions.

    What a crock-of-Sh@*!

  • 2 Regina Rodriguez // Aug 28, 2007 at 6:47 am

    I’m an atheist.

  • 3 MisterR // Aug 28, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Higher education will cure that. To know is everything.

  • 4 Bearguez // Aug 28, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Like we need more sheep in this world. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Seek higher education and learn to lead, not follow.

  • 5 The Kaiser // Aug 28, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Another example of more Third World behavior. Which only prevents us from moving forward, and achieving a measure of political clout? God will not help you if you don’t help yourself first. That’s all Cause and Effect.

  • 6 El Loco // Aug 28, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    I think you’re being a little selective about what you choose to focus on. Here are other quotes from the same article:

    “In Mexico you feel pressure to go to Catholic Church. In the U.S. you don’t have that pressure,” said Tony Loya, 32, a native of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, who has attended New Life’s weekly Spanish services for six months. “I grew up Catholic, but I like the fellowship here. The people are nice. It feels like home, and I’m comfortable.”

    “Why should we have to be orderly and constrained in church? All I found in Catholicism were rituals and tradition,” said Rosie Zayas, 55, who along with her husband, Milo, started a Pentecostal Church — Free Gospel of Life — nearly two years ago. Like New Life, the Zayas’ church is on Tucson’s predominantly Hispanic South Side.

    “In Pentecostalism I found self-expression, fellowship and worship of the true living God. And everyone is so happy,” Rosie Zayas said.

    True, the comment you focused on is stereotypical. But what I got from the article was that these people were choosing to join a Pentecostal Church because it fits better with their religious and spiritual wants and needs. And if it works for them, good!

  • 7 webmaster // Aug 29, 2007 at 2:00 am

    El Loco, I completely agree that Catholicism is limiting for some. No doubt about that. It isn’t for everyone. I am just bothered by Samuel Rodriguez’s statement. He is perpetuating stereotypes.

    I do believe that we Latinos have plenty of spiritual outlets, and if people want to join these churches, they certainly are free to do so. Personally, I think that we need more schools, job training centers, and gyms in our communities than churches. That is my take on things.

  • 8 Michaelr // Aug 30, 2007 at 5:32 am

    Religion is at the core of all the world’s problems. Corporate greed is a close second. And ignorance is right after that. Religion is there to keep you in line, foster guilt, and empty your pockets. Take religion out of the human experience, and you will remove the caste system, racism, the military industrial complex, and most of the mythology that is taught in public schools.

  • 9 » Blog Archive » Latino religous leadership up in arms over same sex marriage // Sep 21, 2007 at 2:05 am

    […] through the news. Some prominent Latino religious leaders, including the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the same doofus who said that we are telenovela, Ricky Martin, J Lo, salsa and habañero chiles, want a constitutional amendment to protect marriage as only a union between a man and a woman.  […]

  • 10 Oscar // Sep 22, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Wow touchy subject! I definately don’t agree with someone perpetuating stereotypes about Latinos. Many of us Latinos perpetuate our own stereotypes and then other groups expand on them. I do believe Latinos in all denominational churches need to be more outspoken and take action on socio-economic issues like immigration, drugs, violence, gangs, discrimination, inequality in education, etc……Our focus should not be trying to change peoples minds of their sexual preference or sexual orientation in regards to same sex marriage. Since biblical times, people have been pursuing same sex everything so it should not be nothing new to people in the churches. Us Latinos need to use our energy more effectively and unite regardless if your atheist or a denominational believer. We have to fight the good fight against all the injustices that we presently face. I do believe education is key to breaking through these chains in our communities. Although we as Latinos continue to be empowered through education and are making a difference in all aspects of our society. I also believe many educated Latinos/as are also the cause of our status quo system. People become complacent and use their education, egocentric views, and economic status power to put others down. I have seen this time and time again! So we also have to break away from these ignorant thinkings and actions from those of us who have been educated. I think people of heart and noble character people like Cesar Chavez and many others in our communities are the true leaders that truly make positive change.

  • 11 Not The Only One // Oct 3, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Rev. Pendejo is off his rocker! I’d like to see who he endorses for President, and how the unlucky fool running for office will think they have the Latino community behind them because they’re endorsed by Rev. Pendejo!

    I practice Santeria, by the way. Though I do consider it to be an interpretation of Catholcism, most mainstream Catholics would assume I eat live babies, drink goat’s blood and have shrunken heads adorned on my nightstand.

  • 12 MUN3KA // Nov 7, 2007 at 6:19 am

    I’m a Pentecostal, and I used to be Catholic because of my family. I think that if you follow what you believe then you will find the truth in yourself and that’s all that matters and we don’t need more gyms than churches, there should be an equal amount of both. To keep the faith alive and to keeps our kids out of the streets and into the books. I hated religion at first because i was confused, my mother is from El Salvador and my father is from Iran. I didn’t know what to choose, so I followed my own path and found happiness.

  • 13 Fidel "Butch" Montoya // May 18, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I find it very saddening to read these comments, but then I realize why “we” can’t get along and “we” are own worst enemy.

    Latinos love to eat their own.

    We love to knock down as many Latino leaders as we can. If we are not the leader, than no one else will be the leader, because after I believe this way or that, and Rev Samuel Rodriguez believes a different way.

    The reality is, and the story was about the changes taking place in our communities, and that more and more Latinos are turning to Pentecostalism as their choice of worship. Believe it or not, it is still true.

    I hate it when we can’t accept other people’s beliefs….afterall, we are so tolerant of other people. We are so open minded about social issues in our community. But let someone who is not like us, and immediately we tend to forget about the lack of tolerance.

    We are tolerant if people believe like us, but the minute we find someone who is in a leadership position who does not believe like we do….who is tolerant now?

    Rev Rodriguez represents some 18 million Evangelicals in our country, That is based on the number of churches and pastors associated with the NHCLC.

    Rev Rodriguez is one of the most sought after leaders in our community by people in government and politics. Like him or not, at least respect his name and title.

    I dislike it very much when people get off calling a respected member of our community “Rev Pendejo.” So tolerant…and open to issues and views in our community!!

    We can disagree, we have our own belief system. We can be an atheist, Catholic, or practice Santeria or be a Pentecostal…of which I am. So what??

    The issues and problems in our communitiy are not going to be solved by which Church we attend. They are going to be solved when we can learn to live one another.

    “The same doofus?” I can see why we just keep pulling each other down.

    If someone in the news media were to ask you a question about Rev Rodriguez…and you respond by saying…”or yeah, the same doofus that said….or you mean “Rev Pendejo…” The reporter would probably think to him/herself….this group has its act together…they can’t even get along with each other….and they are complaining about so and so not supporting them????”

    I don’t care about your personal religious beliefs….but I do care if you support other people who are pushing our agenda forward?

    Like it or not, Rev. Rodriguez is a leader in our country and he deserves the respect due any religious leader…whether you like it not.

  • 14 Do we need a “Hispanic Karl Rove”? // Aug 18, 2009 at 6:22 am

    […] Post, I caught this piece about Reverend Samuel Rodriguez. Yes, he’s the crazy pastor I blogged about nearly two years ago who referred to us like this, “We Hispanics are emotional people. […]

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