Sunday, April 15, 2007

No Time Even for the 4:30 Saturday

Now what does futbol have to do with religion, well somebody else thinks there's a connection,
from the New York Times:

For Some Hispanics, Coming to U.S. Means Abandoning Religion

RICHMOND, Va. — On Sunday afternoons, when the local Roman Catholic church holds Mass for Spanish-speaking Catholics, Edgar Chilín is playing soccer in a league with hundreds of Hispanic players.

As a child in Guatemala, Mr. Chilín attended Mass every Sunday. But after immigrating to the United States 25 years ago, he and his family lost the churchgoing habit. “We pray to God when we feel the need to,” he said, “but when we come here to America we don’t feel the need.” I guess he was praying for money the whole time and since he struck it rich he is all set.

A wave of research shows that increasing percentages of Hispanics are abandoning church, suggesting to researchers that along with assimilation comes a measure of secularization.


“Migrating to the U.S. means you have the freedom to create your own identity,” said Keo Cavalcanti, a sociologist at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and a co-author of a recent study that found a trend toward secularization among Hispanics in Richmond. “When people get here they realize that maintaining that pro forma display of religiosity is not essential to doing well.” This lends credence to the idea that Hispanic faith is a inch deep and a mile wide.

Ms. Lemus, a first-generation immigrant, said that this year she had kept all of them [New Years resolutions], except going to church — and spends Sunday mornings at the gym. She thinks her faith is important, but said that perhaps she has grown “too materialistic.” Perhaps she has grown to fat eating all that McDonalds hence the need to gym time.

“I need God in my life, but I told the pastor, I get sleepy,” she said. “You have to stay in church from 1:30 to 5. I think if services were shorter, more entertaining.” Perhaps a nice 60 minute Mass at a Roman Catholic Church would be better than useless 5 hour snake shaker sessions at the Pentacostal revival tent.

Jesus Cerritos, a 37-year-old construction worker who immigrated from Mexico 18 years ago, said he spent his weekends running errands, going to Wal-Mart and watching television. His children, ages 11 and 9, tell him that church is boring and that they have no desire to go, but Mr. Cerritos has mixed feelings.

“Here, the people get more materialistic,” Mr. Cerritos said. “The culture here is really barren. There’s no traditions.” That's right and don't be surprised when ultimayely your children have no respect for themselves, their parents, their heritage or for God. God is no necessarily in the American equation.

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