ON-Lion Letter

In 1994, David Hernandez, a small-time drug-dealer in Spanish Harlem, got out of the drug business and turned his life over to God.  After he joined Victory Chapel, a vibrant Bronx-based Pentecostal church, he saw his life change in many ways.  Today, he is a member of the New York Police Department, married, the father of three, and still an active member of his church. 

Hernandez is just one of the many individuals whose stories inform the forthcoming book Soul Mates:  Religion, Sex, Love, and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos.  By W. Bradford Wilcox and Nicholas H. Wolfinger, Soul Mates draws on both broad national surveys and in-depth interviews to paint a detailed portrait of the largely positive influence exercised by churches on relationships and marriage among African Americans and Latinos.

Wilcox is a sociology professor at the University of Virginia, director of its National Marriage Project, senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies (IFS), and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports both IFS and AEI projects.

Wolfinger is an adjunct sociology professor at the University of Utah.

Their Soul Mates, from Oxford University Press, shines a much-needed spotlight on the lives of strong and happy minority couples.  They find that both married and unmarried minority couples who attend church together are significantly more likely to enjoy happy relationships than black and Latino couples who do not regularly attend.  Churches serving these communities, they argue, promote a code of decency -- encompassing hard work, temperance, and personal responsibility -- that benefits black and Latino families.

Drawing on a wide range of sources, Wilcox and Wolfinger provide a compelling look at faith and family life among blacks and Latinos.  The book offers a wealth of critical insight into the effect of religion on minority relationships, as well as the unique economic and cultural challenges facing African American and Latino families in 21st Century America.

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