RELIGION: Protestants no longer the majority

Fascinating findings by the Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life that Protestants no longer make up a majority of the United States.

Many folks are religious but unaffiliated with any denomination.

As it turns out, I’m in the midst of a story about many Oaxacan Indians, from a Catholicism in their native towns that resembles something from 16th Century Spain, who have converted to various Protestant denominations here in the United States.

This is something I also found in the parts of Baja California where many Oaxacans also migrated. The Valley of San Quintin, where thousands of Oaxacans have come for farmwork, is studded with storefront churches: Pentecostal, Baptist, Jehovah’s Witness and others.

Always seemed to me that converting to Protestant denominations was part of the voyage out of the mountains of Oaxaca, Chiapas and other similarly distant places — a lifting of the blinders, in a sense. Not everyone goes through this, and a lot find other ways to come out of the Old World. But a good many bring clarity to their New World through a Protestant lens.

After all, they come from villages where the priest would visit and everyone would have to take off their hats and cast their eyes to the ground. Where people were prohibited from reading the Bible, but virtually required to participate in mass and annual religious festivals, which often involved heavy drinking.

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One Response to RELIGION: Protestants no longer the majority

  1. Looking forward to reading your report. I saw the same thing in San Quintin when I visited while writing my book, Miraculous Air. One of the Oaxacan workers I interviewed mistook me for a missionary. A bit of a comic scene that quickly turned surreal. When he finally understood that I wasn’t trying to convert him or going to give him money, he showed me his chupacabra doll.

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