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Report explores how religion shapes Latinos' political, civic involvement

Author: Arts and Letters


Religion plays a significant role in shaping Latinos’ political behavior and civic engagement, according to a report recently released by the Center for the Study of Latino Religion (CSLR) in the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS).

Titled “Faith and Values in Action: Religion, Politics and Social Attitudes Among U.S. Latinos/as,” the report analyzes the Pew Hispanic Center’s 2004 National Survey of Latinos. It finds that Latinos’ religious affiliation and church attendance influence their political party preference, degree of support for the war in Iraq and positions on the moral issues that shaped the 2004 presidential election.

“While registered Latinos overall are more likely to identify as Democrats, non-Catholic Latinos particularly those who are politically active are more likely to choose the Republican Party,” said Edwin I. Hernndez, co-author of the report and CSLR research fellow. “On social issues, including abortion, same-sex marriage and divorce, Latino Protestants significantly are more likely to hold conservative views than Catholic Latinos.”

The report also indicates that religiously active Latinos volunteer at higher rates in educational and community venues than less-religiously active Latinos. Thus, religiously active Latinos account for more than half of the non-church-based volunteering capital in the Latino community.

The CSLR serves as a national center and clearinghouse for ecumenically focused social-scientific study of the U.S. Latino church, its leadership and the interaction between religion and community. Highlighting the ways in which religion strengthens and improves the quality of public life, the center examines the impact of religious beliefs, leaders, churches and faith-based organizations on Latino urban communities.

Founded in 1999, the ILS promotes understanding and appreciation of the social, cultural and religious life of U.S. Latinos by advancing research, expanding knowledge and strengthening community.

Contact: Edwin I. Hernndez, 616-643-4737,

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on March 06, 2008.