CLALS | Religious Responses to Violence in Latin America

This page is the home for non-scholarly short pieces, working papers, reviews, current events, news articles, and multimedia produced as a result of and in association with the Center's project "Religious Responses to Violence in Latin America," a two-year research endeavor supported by the Henry Luce Foundation's Initiative on Religion & International Affairs.


The Past
While recognizing the complexity of such categorization, documents in this section address church and religious people's responses to violence when it largely came from state and state-sponsored actors during military dictatorship in the 1960s-1980s.

This time period was shaped by important events and actors: Vatican II and Liberation Theology, the dominance of the Catholic Church, the global Cold War, and the development of an international human rights movement influenced by religious actors.
Transition
Documents and media in this section explore the role of religious institutions and actors in the transition from authoritarian rule to electoral democracy.
The Present
The religious landscape in Latin America has changed considerably in the last few decades. Evangelical Protestantism has expanded rapidly in many countries. Evangelical and Pentecostal churches view their roles differently than do Catholic churches.
Violence has also changed. Though it is true that police and military forces are responsible for violence in poor communities in the present day (in ways that bear comparison to conditions under dictatorship), contemporary democracies are distinguished from their predecessors particularly by the prevalence of non-state violence, often illustrated by the rise of violent transnational criminal networks and gangs. In the current day, "citizen security" is paramount.
How do the religious concepts and practices of the past change in this new context? What are the legacies? What are the new shifts and approaches?