Campus

Dahlonega

Publication date

2-1-2021

Publisher

Princeton Theological Seminar

Book or Journal Information

Theology Today

Keywords

Hispanic theology, Latin American theology, narcotrafficking, Pope Francis, popular religiosity

Abstract

The manipulation of popular religiosity by drug trafficking at the epicenter of the world drug market represents a challenge for Latin American theology. How might it reflect on popular religiosity in areas replete with cartels? How might it help popular religiosity to become the fruit of true justice without imposing the judgmental worldview of enlightened elites? This article will attempt to answer both questions over the course of four sections. First, it will describe the history of Latin American revaluations of popular religiosity as a theological starting point. Second, it will demonstrate the conceptualization of popular religion by Latin American and Hispanic scholars and theologians in the United States. Third, it will analyze how drug trafficking permeates popular religiosity in Latin America. Finally, it will propose an appropriate pastoral and theological approach to popular religiosity in areas affected by drug trafficking.

Author Biography

Alfredo Ignacio Poggi is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Georgia. He holds a B.A. in Media Studies and an M.A. in Philosophy from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (Venezuela), an M.T.S. in Theology from Boston College, and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University. He has published a book, eighteen articles, and four book reviews, and he has edited an issue of a prestigious academic journal. His research focuses on political ideologies, post-/decolonial theories, and theology. After his undergraduate studies, he worked as a scriptwriter and producer at HBO Latin America for several years. He also worked as a copywriter at J. Walter Thompsons and as a journalist at El Nacional, the largest newspaper in Venezuela. His academic career began with teaching communication theories and conducting research on poverty and development at UCAB for three years. During those years, he was the coordinator of a prestigious social science research project in Venezuela supported by the US Government to strengthen the country ́s democracy. At the same time, as a volunteer, he created a TV show to promote NGOs and people engaged in social justice in the poorest neighborhoods of Caracas. Finally, for many years, he had a rock band called "Unos panas ahí" with several radio hits in Latin America and Spain.

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The Opium of God’s People: Latin American/ Hispanic Theology, Popular Religiosity, and the Challenge of Narcotrafficking

The manipulation of popular religiosity by drug trafficking at the epicenter of the world drug market represents a challenge for Latin American theology. How might it reflect on popular religiosity in areas replete with cartels? How might it help popular religiosity to become the fruit of true justice without imposing the judgmental worldview of enlightened elites? This article will attempt to answer both questions over the course of four sections. First, it will describe the history of Latin American revaluations of popular religiosity as a theological starting point. Second, it will demonstrate the conceptualization of popular religion by Latin American and Hispanic scholars and theologians in the United States. Third, it will analyze how drug trafficking permeates popular religiosity in Latin America. Finally, it will propose an appropriate pastoral and theological approach to popular religiosity in areas affected by drug trafficking.