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Hispanics religious profile changing

The religious profile among Hispanics is shifting, according to a Public Religion Research Institute survey released Sept. 27 at the Religion Newswriters Association conference:

• Today 53 percent identify as Roman Catholic, but 69 percent said they had a Roman Catholic upbringing.

• The biggest area of growth is evangelical Protestantism. Thirteen percent told pollsters they are evangelical.

• The second jump is out of religious identification altogether. While only 5 percent said they grew up with no religion, 12 percent now check “none” for their current religious identification.

• Twelve percent identify as mainline Protestant, and 6 percent identify with a non-Christian religion.

Most Hispanics are delighted with Argentine-born Pope Francis, but they hold slightly less favorable views of the Roman Catholic Church. Hot button issues with conservative Christians — abortion and same-sex marriage — are not as critical to Hispanics. Topping their list of critical issues are jobs and unemployment (72 percent), followed by health-care costs (65 percent) and the quality of public schools (55 percent).

A majority (52 percent) of Hispanics say “abortion should be illegal in all or most cases,” and most (55 percent) favor allowing gay and lesbian Americans to marry.

The survey found “bipartisan and cross-religious support for immigration reform among Hispanics.” Even so, the American dream seems out of reach to many: 72 percent say the “U.S. economic system unfairly favors the wealthy” and 60 percent say “hard work and determination do not guarantee success for most people today.”


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