August 20, 2013 – After significantly influencing the 2012 presidential election, Hispanics captured the attention of the nation’s leaders and media. Now, as the debate over the future of immigration continues, political liberals and conservatives alike may be surprised to learn about the values and priorities of today’s Hispanics in the U.S.
Research from Barna: Hispanics, in partnership with the American Bible Society, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and OneHope, reveals that the faith and social values of Latinos may be more conservative than many cultural observers realize. As America’s fastest growing demographic segment, Hispanics demonstrate high commitments to the Christian faith and to traditional concepts of family.
In fact, foreign-born Hispanics who currently reside in the U.S. are often more socially, spiritually, and politically conservative than are those Hispanics who are citizens. The implication is that the longer the Hispanic community experiences U.S. cultural norms, the less socially conservative its members become. In the broadest sense, this creates a fascinating paradox for policymakers and politicians: social conservatives stand to gain more allies by pushing for aggressive immigration reform, while liberals who advocate for reform are likely to find fewer allies on social and moral issues among foreign-born Hispanics who are given a path to citizenship.
How Conservative are Hispanics?
Given their relationship-driven culture, it is perhaps not surprising that Hispanics in the U.S. place high value on the traditional family. Three-quarters of all Latinos in the U.S. say that the traditional family is the main building block of a healthy community (78%). Seven out of 10 believe it is best for children to be raised by parents who are married to each other (69%). In addition, Latinos remain markedly committed to preserving the traditional family structure. Half say they are “very concerned” about the breakdown of Hispanic families.
When it comes to typically hot-button social issues, homosexuality and abortion, most Hispanics embrace conservative points of view. On the issue of same-sex marriage, considered an important voting issue to many evangelical Christians, two-thirds of Hispanics say marriage should be defined as a relationship between one man and one woman (66%). And the majority of Hispanics in the U.S. (73%) believe that adoption or parenting are better choices than abortion for a woman who is not ready to be a mom.
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