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Homies and HermanosGod and Gangs in Central America$
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Robert Brenneman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199753840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753840.001.0001

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Samaritans and Crusaders

Samaritans and Crusaders

(p.189) 6 Samaritans and Crusaders
Homies and Hermanos

Robert Brenneman

Oxford University Press

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

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