January 10, 2006


US: A Wave of Spirituallity: How Hispanics' Faith is Transforming America (Richard Hoffmann, Hispanic Magazine)

It’s about 9:15 on a Sunday morning, and the emotionfilled early Spanish Mass has, as usual, run over its allotted hour-long time slot at the Roman Catholic Church in downtown Anaheim, California. The parking lot after the service is slow to clear out, crowded with Hispanic parishioners eager to meet and greet their friends, to see and be seen by the community. Not so the arriving non-Hispanics, anxious to get parked in time for the 9:30 English-language mass. A traffic snarl develops and tempers flare, but peace is quickly restored—perhaps because everyone remembers they are in a church parking lot, after all.

The scene following the low-key English mass is different. The Anglos race out and jump in their cars, eager to get out and do other things. There’s plenty of time for incoming faithful attending the eleven o’clock English mass to get a parking spot; and after that, for the parishioners who attend the 12:30 Spanish mass. It’s a scene that Jaime Soto, auxillary bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, sees every Sunday. “The parking lot is crowded, and that’s a good problem to have,” he says. Bishop Soto’s anecdote highlights Hispanic Americans’ blended sense of intense religiosity, culture and community—and how it sometimes clashes with the social status quo inside and outside of church.

Besides bringing their own culture to America, Hispanics have brought their religion—overwhelmingly Christian, largely Catholic. That effect is increasingly being felt in America’s churches, which is where most Latino immigrants first connect after arriving.

One example is the Hispanic congregation at Lakewood Church in Houston. Lakewood has about 35,000 members overall, including about 7,000 Hispanics. When the outreach to the Hispanic community began less than three years ago with Pastor Marcos Witt, there were less than 4,000.

“For the immigrants, it is a religious exodus to come to America and seek what God will provide for them and their families,” says Dr. Juan Hernández of Garland, Texas, founder of the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of Texas and an advisor to Mexican President Vicente Fox. “The first place they seek is the church for the first word of encouragement, the first embrace, and a place to continue seeking God.”

Which is why the Christian conservatism of the GOP can't be reconciled with nativism. Those who oppose Latino immigration will ultimately cluster on the Left.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 10, 2006 7:57 AM

Tancredo will eventually wrap around the left-right circle on the far side, like Pat Bunchanan.

Posted by: Gideon at January 10, 2006 8:11 AM

Still want that "Minority-Majority" Tovarischii?

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 10, 2006 9:02 AM

Christians are the majority, but increasing our majority is always a good idea.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 10:08 AM

Newbies, put soccer on Sunday at noon and watch what happens.

They're not going to turn us, we'll turn their grandkids.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 10, 2006 11:04 AM

OJ: Just so we're clear here, you really don't make a distinction between "legal immigration" and "immigration," right? That's just something nativists do?

Posted by: John Resnick at January 10, 2006 11:08 AM


Sure, we should legalize immigrants and process them so we can keep out undesirables, but none of my family ever obtained permission to come here.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 11:46 AM

So an article in 'Hispanic Magazine' quoting an agent of the Mexican government and dual citizen has glowingly positive things to say about immigration from Mexico? Wow, what a surprise.

Is the pro-immigration argument so feeble you can't find a source that isn't the paid propaganda of Vicente Fox and his corrupt government?

Here are some quotes from Dr. Juan:

"[Mexican immigrants ]are going to keep one foot in Mexico...are not going to assimilate, in the sense of dissolving into not being Mexican."

""There are 20 million people that have one foot here and one foot there."

"We are betting that the Mexican American population in the United States....will think Mexico first."

"We have recognized that the Mexican population is 100 million in Mexico and the 23 million who live in the United States. ... We [Mexicans] are a united nation.

Posted by: Carter at January 10, 2006 3:13 PM

If Mexicans were sure they were welcome, they would behave like all the other waves of immigrants. They'd assimilate and be Americans just like the rest of us.

Posted by: erp at January 10, 2006 3:23 PM

"We are betting that the Mexican American population in the United States....will think Mexico first."

Regardless of how true that turns out to be, it's clearly not true of Mexican-descent children raised in America.
Those kids may be proud of an Hispanic heritage, but they don't think of Mexico as "home", nor do they support Mexican interests over those of the U.S.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at January 10, 2006 7:57 PM

Exactly. Where was the INS when we really needed it?

Posted by: joe shropshire at January 10, 2006 8:03 PM
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