A new Pew survey on the changing faith of the Hispanic and Latino community in America finds that there are far fewer who are Catholic and many more who are religiously unaffiliated.
The numbers are quite striking.
The portion of Hispanic and Latino Catholics in 2022 is 43%.
That’s a large drop from 2010 when it was 67%.
And while the percentage of them who are Protestant has remained somewhat stable at 21%, the number of religiously unaffiliated jumped to 30%, up from 10% in 2010.
No disrespect to Pew, but the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, says the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Rodriguez, based in Sacramento, California, is senior pastor at New Season Church.
Says Rodriquez, “I’m not denying that Pew tried their best to come out of a survey that captures the Latino religious demographic. But I do believe there’s an incredible amount of information embedded in more data.”
The NHCLC is the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, overseeing about 42,000 churches.
Rodriguez has advised Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump.
He also consults with members of Congress on immigration and criminal justice.
On an episode of “Lighthouse Faith” podcast, Rodriguez talked emotionally about the faith of the Hispanic and Latino community, which is the largest minority group in the nation, surpassing African Americans a few years ago.
Hispanics now make up close to one fifth of the U.S. population.
Rodriguez says Hispanics for the most part are pro-faith and pro-family.
“So we are a passionate Holy Spirit community, loving Jesus, either Catholic or evangelical or holding onto faith. And we don’t like the term ‘affiliation.’ There it is.”
By “affiliation,” he means that while mainstream media define “religiously unaffiliated” or the “nones” as being un-religious, it does not have that same application for Hispanics.
Rodriguez says, “In the Latino community, unaffiliated or Latino people of faith, be it Protestant and Catholic, they really kind of repudiate notions of items, denominational sort of enclaves. For example, in the evangelical world, the largest constituency are non-denominational affiliated.”
There’s also another thing the surveys misses, says Rodriquez: Hispanics and Latinos are far more conservative than most people believe.
The election of Texas Republican Mayra Flores hints at conservative leanings, but a far more accurate example is the election of Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida.
In last November’s election, according to an NBC exit poll, 58% of Latinos voted for him.
On “Lighthouse Faith,” Rodriguez also talks about how Hispanics view abortion and gender ideology.
He also sums up what he believes is the solution to the crisis at the southern border, as the number of undocumented immigrants pouring across are at historically high levels.
Rodriguez fills in the blanks left open by many a survey about the Hispanic faith community in America.