A Powerful Consequence

In the last twelve years, El Salvador has seen unprecedented prosperity: the poverty rate has dropped from 60 percent to 30 percent; infant mortality rates have plummeted; unemployment rates have halved; school and health care availability has increased dramatically. From 1999 to 2004, this reconstruction was overseen by President Francisco Flores. After finishing his term as president, Flores continued his work for freedom by founding the America Libre Institute in Washington, D.C. He spoke with Religion & Liberty in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

"What role do you think religion will play in creating a free and virtuous society in El Salvador?

El Salvador has undergone one of the most dramatic religious reformations that I have seen in any society. It was principally triggered by the war, but the real reason is the fact that people felt that the Catholic Church had become part of the conflict. Catholic priests, led by liberation theologians, really became part of the same team [as] the guerrilla movement. So this left a society that was really vulnerable, and in such need of spiritual comfort, that they decided to look elsewhere. So, El Salvador has become one of the most thriving evangelic Protestant situations in all of Latin America. You know, you find churches of all denominations—Presbyterians and what you will—have become the most important growth in terms of people’s choice. Because that is the consequence of war, a complete loss of all values; and after peace—as in the case of my country—[it] creates a need for values. And you find parents now looking for schools that have a strong ethic or religious bent to them. So I think this is a really important part of El Salvador today."

the entire interview is very interesting.

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