01 December 2014

Latina/os in the United States

Updated: December 1, 2014
News articles reports, analysis, and other statistical/demographic resources on Latina/os in the U.S.:

Santa Muerte (Al-Jazeera News)

She’s often depicted as the patron saint of murderers and narco-traffickers, and the Catholic Church condemns devotion to her as blasphemy. But Santa Muerte, or Saint Death, is a Mexican folk saint with a growing following across North America, particularly among the marginalized – transsexuals, immigrants, the poor. A community of Santa Muerte devotees in Queens, New York, shows the life inherent in the worship of Saint Death as they prepare for their annual fiesta in her honor.

Christians of Asia (ABC Radio National Encounter)

Christians of Asia (ABC Radio National Encounter, 29 November 2014)

When people talk about “The Asian Century”, they’re usually referring to the expected economic and political dominance of Asia over the next hundred years. But if the growth of Christianity in the region continues, then the 21st century could also turn out to be the Asian Christian Century. Already, there are more practicing Protestants in China than in the UK, and according to some estimates, Communist China could become the world’s largest Christian nation by 2030. In addition, ethnic Asian churches continue to grow and prosper in countries like Australia and the U.S., despite the continuing overall decline of Christianity in the west. Does the rise of Asian economic might coinciding with the rise of Christianity have the potential to alter the religious profile of our region?

Religion in Latin America (Pew Research)

Latin America is home to more than 425 million Catholics – nearly 40% of the world’s total Catholic population – and the Roman Catholic Church now has a Latin American pope for the first time in its history. Yet identification with Catholicism has declined throughout the region, according to a major new Pew Research Center survey that examines religious affiliations, beliefs and practices in 18 countries and one U.S. territory (Puerto Rico) across Latin America and the Caribbean.

05 November 2014

When the West wanted Islam to curb Christian extremism

When the West wanted Islam to curb Christian extremism (Washington Post, 16 October 2014)

In any case, Islam and those who practice it were not always perceived to be such a cultural threat. Just a few decades ago, the U.S. and its allies in the West had no qualms about abetting Islamist militants in their battles with the Soviets in Afghanistan. Look even further, and there was a time when a vocal constituency in the West saw the community of Islam as a direct, ideological counter to a mutual enemy.

Turn back to the 1830s. An influential group of officials in Britain -- then the most powerful empire in the West, with a professed belief in liberal values and free trade -- was growing increasingly concerned about the expanding might of Russia. From Central Asia to the Black Sea, Russia's newly won domains were casting a shadow over British colonial interests in India and the Middle East. The potential Russian capture of Istanbul, capital of the weakening Ottoman Empire, would mean Russia's navy would have free access to the Mediterranean Sea--an almost unthinkable prospect for Britain and other European powers.

CTU Professor Carmen Nanko-Fernández explains the ofrenda (altar) in the Dia de los Muertos

Dramatic Religious Shift in Brazil as Evangelicals Are Rapidly Overtaking Catholics

Brazil is undergoing a religious revolution. In 1970, 92% of the population claimed to be Catholic, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics; in 2010 only 64.4%. “Brazil is unique: It’s the only large country to have seen such a profound change in its religious landscape in so short a time,” said José Eustáquio Alves of the National School of Statistical Science in Rio de Janeiro. The change is due to the growth of the evangelical churches, particularly the Pentecostals and Neo-Pentecostals. (Lutheran, Baptist and Methodist membership is stable.) Evangelicals have gone from 5% to 22% of the population in 40 years. With 23 million believers, Brazil is still the world’s largest Catholic country — but not for long, according to Eustáquio Alves, who calculates evangelicals and Catholics should be neck-and-neck by 2030.

Hatred of the Poor: Sad, Self-Loathing Poison from the Right-Wing Catholic Ghetto

Moving to Canada has afforded me a convenient, but slight, distance from the septic squalor of US political commentary. I trace the headlines with my eyes, but little more than that. I mention this to reenter the fray, and address a recent post at the Candid World Report, by Stephen J. Herreid, entitled “How to Fend Off Freeloaders: What Keeps Left and Right so Far Apart?” The post claims to be about the perils of political partisanship, but what it really amounts to is a personal attack of Artur Rosman, from Cosmos the in Lost.

Related: Blessed are the Freeloaders: On the Face of the Poor, by Artur Rosman (Patheos, 4 November 2014)

Occupy Central, Umbrella Movement & Pro-Democracy Protests in Hong Kong

LAST UPDATED: November 5, 2014
Selected news reports, op eds and analysis on anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong, Occupy Central, and the involvement of Hong Kong Christians


  • Behind the Scenes Look at the Unfurling of the Universal Suffrage Banner on Lion Rock, Hong Kong
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  • Police Brutality and Assault against the Civic Party's Ken Tsang (captured by TVB):
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  • More Police Brutality and Violence against Pro-Democracy Demonstrators:
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  • Protesters singing the Cantopop group, Beyond's 海阔天空 ("Boundless Oceans and Vast Skies"), the unofficial anthem of the Hong Kong Protesters:
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