Why Latino Evangelicals Vote Beyond Immigration
Published November 7, 2018
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    Elections often call attention to white evangelicals whose votes and voices play a significant role in national elections. But their attitudes and values don’t necessarily represent those of evangelicals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Case in point: Latino evangelicals. According to data from the Billy Graham Center Institute at Wheaton College and LifeWay Research, 41 percent of Hispanics with evangelical beliefs voted for Trump in 2016. What were the issues that most influenced their vote? According to the same survey, 19 percent said improving the economy, 14 percent said helping those in need, and 14 percent said a candidate’s position on immigration. “Most Latinos will tend to be socially conservative on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage but will tend to be social liberals on issues like education and immigration, so we’ve tended to be divided on how we spread the vote,” said Juan Martínez, who currently serves as professor of Hispanic studies and pastoral leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. “This isn’t new; it just stands out more because we’re a larger percentage of the voting block. Those of us who have voted have struggled with this for years because the Democrat/Republican way that this is broken out doesn’t fit us well.” Martínez joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the history of Latino evangelicals and what unifies and divides the community.
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