Samaritans and Crusaders

Robert Brenneman

in Homies and Hermanos

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199753840
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918836 | DOI:
Samaritans and Crusaders

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This chapter examines Catholic and evangelical gang intervention and prevention programs in order to understand the religious and nonreligious motives behind gang ministry as well as the very different approaches to ministry taken by Catholics when compared with evangelicals. Whereas Catholic gang interventionists promote community development and social and political change, evangelical gang ministry workers tend to view the gang problem as a “spiritual problem” best addressed by the church. Although some of the reasons for these differences probably have more to do with differences in levels of education, evangelical pastors and promoters tend to view themselves as “good Samaritans” seeking to help individual gang members while Catholic priests and ministry workers tend to view themselves as “Crusaders” against systemic injustice. The chapter also explores possible explanations for why evangelical growth remains strong in the region—even among males, despite its lifestyle expectations.

Keywords: Catholics; Evangelicals; conversion; gangs; Central America; Honduras; Guatemala; El Salvador

Chapter.  17202 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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