Religion under wraps

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From the Chicago Tribune:

On a shelf in the office of Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen, mixed in among the family photos, the Roberto Clemente bobblehead and the Napoleon Dynamite figurine, are four small but intimidating religious icons.

"If you see my saints, you'll be like 'Golly, they're ugly,' " Guillen had said before inviting a visitor to come in. "They've got blood. They've got feathers. You go to the Catholic church, the [saints] have got real nice clothes.

"My religion, you see a lot of different things you never see."

Guillen's religion is Santeria, a largely misunderstood Afro-Cuba spiritual tradition that incorporates the worship of orisha — multidimensional beings who represent the forces of nature — with beliefs of the Yoruba and Bantu people of Africa and elements of Roman Catholicism. And Guillen, born in Venezuela, is one of a growing number of Latin American players, managers and coaches who are followers of the faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture

Posted June 27, 2007 at 8:13 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Larry Morse wrote:

Santeria is a gruesome religion, primitive in the worst sense,covered with blood, t he leftover from religion’s most barbaric days. LM

June 27, 8:26 am | [comment link]
2. Widening Gyre wrote:

With no disrespect intended to Ozzie, I immediately thought of the movie Major League.  “Joboo never helped me hit a curveball…”

June 27, 9:53 am | [comment link]
3. Brad Drell wrote:

You dare to make fun of Joboo!  You stole his cigars and his rum!

June 27, 9:55 am | [comment link]
4. David Keller wrote:

#4 Brad, Then Joboo deserves reparations from TEC.

June 27, 11:27 am | [comment link]
5. Mike Bertaut wrote:

This is really going to get me thinking hard about my 11 year old son’s baseball hero worship.  I’m going to have to enlighten him about our santeria friends, and see how he reacts. 
Funny, I hadn’t read Exodus in a LONG time, and found myself deep into it just last night.  Perhaps for this very occasion.  Pardon me while I quote a bit:

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Pretty cool how God thinks of everything, even 4,000 years in advance of me needing it!

June 27, 11:29 am | [comment link]
6. Deja Vu wrote:

“I’ve been with [Santeria] for a while. I like it. [But] I’m Catholic too. You cannot do anything without God.”

I wonder what other Catholics think about this?

June 27, 2:03 pm | [comment link]
7. NWOhio Anglican wrote:

#7, as I understand it this is not that unusual. Bolivian missionaries tell me that Catholicism is all mixed up with folk religion among the peasants there, and I gather that it’s the same in Haiti or the Dominican Republic.

Unlike the USA, where folk beliefs have NO influence on Christianity. oh oh

Anyhow, the word is that the Catholic authorities in Bolivia are not thrilled by it.

June 27, 3:16 pm | [comment link]
8. Ross wrote:

#7 and 8:

I’m hardly an expert on Santeria, but my understanding is that it originated as a fusion of Catholicism and African religion; so it’s not too surprising that someone would identify as both Catholic and Santeria.

#1:  Here smile

June 27, 3:29 pm | [comment link]
9. Paula Loughlin wrote:

Santeria is messy.  In Miami the courthouse grounds have to be cleaned of offerings made to assure a favorable outcome.  ‘
In Santeria as well as Voudon images of catholic Saints are used to represent the gods.  This is because the non Christian religions were forbidden by the slave owners and the slaves used catholic images to conceal their devotions. 
Santeria is often confused with the death magic branch of the Palo Mayombe cult.  This cult popular amongst Mexican drug dealers, came to the public’s attention when the murder of an Texas college student was uncovered in Matamoros, Mexico.

A good overview of the Afrocuban religions including Santeria can be found at

June 27, 6:58 pm | [comment link]
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