Latino Climate Politics, or Seeing God’s wrath in the hurricanes

This is fascinating and timely given the natural disasters in Mexico and Puerto Rico. But it takes the writer 11 paragraphs to get to the point. Still, it's a good point: "Contrary to popular belief, Latinos and Latinas, not white liberals, care the most about climate change." But, "the idea that God will work it out, or 'religiously sanctioned fatalism of sorts,' may translate to climate inaction."

Hurricane Harvey left fear, uncertainty and ruin in its wake. The Category 4 storm left some people questioning what could come next, to which Mother Nature quickly responded with another hurricane: Irma. This worry and wonder, however, led some of my friends — particularly first- and second-generation Latinos and Latinas — to religious revelation.

I saw many turn to Luke 21:25-26, pointing out that the total solar eclipse occurred Aug. 21 and was followed shortly thereafter by Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall on the Texas coast Aug. 25. By Aug. 26, the state was feeling the climate change-fueled disaster, tornadoes and all. This is what that Bible verse says:

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”

And while this coincidence is eerie, to say the least, it is just that: coincidence. That didn’t stop my friend Bryan Mora, 24, a second-generation Latino, from sharing it on Instagram. He and I went to high school together. Mora is not religious, he says, but the number alignment blew his mind, so he had to share it. He understands that climate change is involved, but he’s also curious of other forces at work — of a divine power or not.

On the other hand, Kelly Barralaga, a 26-year-old mother of two who is a family friend, shared the image on Facebook because it did signal an end of times for her. She believes in science but looks at it through a religious lens. “I think scientific stuff comes from somewhere,” Barralaga says. “It’s just a way to try to explain other things God left here on Earth for us.”

One Twitter user tweeted out with more than 100,000 others retweeting her. Georgia meteorologist Jeff Cox even shared the verse on Facebook. Conflict shouldn’t necessarily exist between science and religion — and it doesn’t for the most part — but something’s fishy when a meteorologist uses religion to explain science.

Benjamín Valentín, a professor who studies Latinx* Christianity at the Yale University Divinity School, has heard Luke 21:25-26 referenced frequently in the past, especially among Latinos and Latinas. A pastor mentioned it during a service Valentín attended in Boston following the eclipse. The congregation just so happened to be predominantly Latino and Latina.


Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

New Mexico Native James Borrego to Become First Latino Full-time NBA Head Coach

Victor Landa May 9, 2018

Spurs assistant coach James Borrego not only landed his first full-time head-coaching job on Tuesday, he made NBA history. The AP is reporting that Charlotte owner Michael Jordan has completed a […]

How One Woman Is Fighting To Get More Latino Movie Roles

Victor Landa

When casting director Carla Hool moved to Los Angeles from Mexico City in 2011, she found stereotypical Latino movie roles written without much depth: “The gardener, the immigrant who crossed the […]

Border congressman among highest funded by group running immigrant detention centers

Victor Landa June 22, 2018

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, has received $32,400 in political contributions from a company that operates immigrant detention centers — the second most of any elected official in the country […]

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED on massive scale to help reunite immigrant children with their families

Victor Landa July 9, 2018

This is an opportunity for experts on Latin America to get involved and lend their expertise. Please also share widely: URGENT HELP NEEDED ASAP!! Center for Human Rights and Constitutional […]

5 Women Who Are Mobilizing The Latino Community For The Midterm Elections

Victor Landa May 24, 2018

The midterm elections this year are a pivotal time for activation, regardless of what side of the aisle you stand on. The Latino vote particularly is being mobilized by some […]

Latinos And Others Find Trump Tweets Not Unusual

Victor Landa April 23, 2018

NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to Pilar Marrero, a writer at the Spanish language daily La Opinion in Los Angeles, about President Trump tweets attacking California’s sanctuary laws. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: This past […]

When Your 12-Year-Old Son Faces Little League Racism

Victor Landa April 30, 2018

As parents, we walk a fine line between solving our children’s problems and letting them struggle on their own, like when they’re faced with little league racism. My 12-year-old plays […]

Will The Latino Vote Tip Elections THIS Year?

Victor Landa May 29, 2018

In more than 20 years of Hispanic marketing, I’ve heard this line over and over: The Latino vote could tip the elections this year. It’s true the Latino vote has […]