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Florida Evangelical Latinos Unconvinced by Presidential Choices

Image: Florida Evangelical Latinos Unconvinced by Presidential Choices

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By    |   Wednesday, 02 Nov 2016 11:07 AM

Evangelical Latino voters in Florida are still unconvinced as to who to support for president, according to the head of Ministerio Apostolico Avance Misionero, a Christian church in South Daytona Beach.

A study by the City University of New York says Florida has around 2 million are registered voters and Latinos will cast about 20 percent of the state's votes on Nov. 8, CNN reports.

"We have an obligation to be in tune and to be informed about the politics of our country," said Yoan Hechavarria, the head of the church.

The numbers of evangelical Latinos are rising, according to a Pew Research Center report.

Generally, the Republican Party enjoys the backing of evangelicals, but in Florida, support for Republicans is on the decline. In 2006, 37 percent of Florida Latinos were registered as Republican, and today that number is 26 percent. Democrats encompass 39 percent of Latinos and independent voters, 33 percent.

Hechavarria said his parishioners are confused because of the candidacy of Donald Trump.

"As Christians we are usually more inclined to follow the Republican Party, but Donald Trump doesn't seem to represent our values," Hechavarria said, adding that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton does not align with his values on abortion and same-sex marriage.

An Army veteran who worships at the church, Harry de Jesus, said Trump would be better at handling national security and veterans' care, but he disagrees with his comments about women.

"As the father of girls, I can't condone him," de Jesus said. However, he does not believe Clinton is honest.

Another Ministerio Apostolico attendee, Samuel Peinand, agrees with de Jesus but is willing to support her anyway. "I am inclined to vote for her because of her experience, not her ideas," he said.

One of the church's choir singers, 20-year-old Coraly Rivera, has not found any candidate to support. "I know I have a responsibility as a citizen but none of the candidates match my beliefs," she said.

Not all the parishioners object to Trump. Carmen Santiago said Trump could change. "I believe the Almighty can transform anyone and if Trump confesses before Him, the Lord will change his ways."

One Latino evangelical pastor, Rev. Tony Suarez, announced that he would support the GOP nominee, according to ThinkProgress.  "I'm a Latino for Trump. They say we don't exist," Suarez said at a Trump rally. "I do believe he loves God. I believe he's been born again."

In October, an organization representing more than 6,000 Latino evangelical churches in the United States endorsed Clinton. The group said faith has played a central role in Clinton's career of public service.

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Evangelical Latino voters in Florida are still unconvinced as to who to support for president, according to the head of Ministerio Apostolico Avance Misionero, a Christian church in South Daytona Beach.
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2016-07-02
Wednesday, 02 Nov 2016 11:07 AM
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