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Miguel A. De La Torre
De La Torre in 2009
Born (1958-10-06) 6 October 1958 (age 63)[citation needed]
NationalityNaturalized U.S. citizen
Alma materTemple University
Known forWork analyzing social ethics and hispanic religiosity
Awards"Outstanding Hispanic Educator" award by the Michigan Hispanic Legislative Caucus
"2016 Outstanding Faculty Award" by University of Denver/Iliff Joint Doctoral Program
Scientific career
FieldsSocial ethics, theology of liberation, Latinx religiosity, Santería
InstitutionsIliff School of Theology

Miguel A. De La Torre (born 6 October 1958) is a professor of Social Ethics and Latino Studies at Iliff School of Theology, author, and an ordained Southern Baptist minister.[1]


Born in Cuba months before the Castro Revolution, De La Torre and his family migrated to the United States as refugees when he was an infant. For a while the U.S. government considered him and his family as "illegal aliens". On 6 June 1960, De La Torre received an order from Immigration and Naturalization Service to "self-deport." He attended Blessed Sacrament, a Catholic elementary school in Queens, New York, and was baptized and confirmed by the Catholic Church. Simultaneously, his parents were priest/priestess of the religion Santería.[2] He refers to himself as a "Southern Baptist, Roman Catholic child of Ellegúa."[3] He left Queens, moving to Miami, Florida in his teens.

At nineteen years of age he began a real estate company in Miami called Championship Realty, Century 21; becoming at the time the youngest real estate broker in the State of Florida. The office grew to over 100 sales agents. During this time he obtained a Masters in Public Administration from American University in Washington, DC. Eventually he was elected president of the Miami Board of Realtors. He was also active in local politics, becoming the founding president of the West Dade Young Republicans. In 1988 he was a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives, District 115, but lost to Mario Díaz-Balart.

In his early twenties he became a "born-again" Christian, joining University Baptist Church in Coral Gables, Florida. In 1992, De La Torre dissolved the thirteen-year-old real estate company to attend Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in order to obtain a Master of Divinity and enter the ministry. During his seminary training he served as pastor at a rural congregation, Goshen Baptist Church in Glen Dean, Kentucky. While doing pastoral work in rural Kentucky, De La Torre had experiences that caused him to begin exploring the church's power structures and what the dominant European American culture could learn from the Latino margins.[4]


De La Torre continued his theological training and obtained a doctorate from Temple University in social ethics in 1999. According to the books he published, he focuses on ethics within contemporary U.S. thought, specifically how religion affects race, class, and gender oppression. His works 1) applies a social scientific approach to Latino/a religiosity within this country;[5] 2) studies Liberation theologies in the Caribbean and Latin America (specifically in Cuba);[6] and 3) engages in postmodern/postcolonial social theory. De La Torre is considered to be the most published Latino in the field of religious studies with over forty books and hundreds of articles.

In 1999 he was hired to teach Christian Ethics at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. In 2005 he wrote a column for the local newspaper, The Holland Sentinel, titled "When the Bible is Used for Hatred."[7] The article was a satirical piece commenting on Focus on the Family's James Dobson outing of SpongeBob SquarePants. Dobson responded to the article.[8]

A controversy over these articles ensued.[9] A few months afterwards, De La Torre was forced to resign his tenure and took the position of associate professor for social ethics at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.[10] He became a full professor in 2010.

Since obtaining his doctorate in 1999, De La Torre has authored numerous articles and books, including several books that have won national awards, specifically: Reading the Bible from the Margins, (Orbis, 2002);[11] Santería: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004); Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins, (Orbis, 2004); and Encyclopedia on Hispanic American Religious Culture, Volume 1 & 2, (ABC-CLIO, 2009).[12] Within the academy he has served as a director to the Society of Christian Ethics[13] and the American Academy of Religion.[14] Additionally, he has been co-chair of the Ethics Section at the American Academy of Religion.

He is the founder and editor of the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion,[15] and co-founder of the Society of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, which held its first meeting in Chicago in 2013.

De La Torre has been an expert commentator concerning ethical issues (mainly Hispanic religiosity, LGBT civil rights,[16] and immigration rights) on several local, national, and international media outlets. He also writes monthly articles for Ethics Daily and Associated Baptist Press which create controversies within Christian circles.[citation needed]

During the January, 2011 gathering of the Society of Christian Ethics, De La Torre was elected Vice-President of the organization and President-elect for 2012.

In 2016, De La Torre released a documentary for which he wrote the screenplay and coproduced based on his immigration book. The film, Trails of Hope and Terror, has been shown at academic settings and houses of worship.

In 2021, De La Torre won the Excellence in Teaching Award given by the American Academy of Religion.[17]


Co-authored books
Edited books
Encyclopedia editor


  1. ^ "Miguel A. De La Torre— Faculty page". Iliff School of Theology. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Interview with Miguel A. De La Torre, author of Santería". Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. November 2004. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  3. ^ De La Torre, Miguel (2 November 2015). "I'm a Southern Baptist, Roman Catholic Child of Elegguá – Deal with It". Cuba Counterpoints. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  4. ^ De La Torre, Miguel A. (2009). "Pastoral Care from the Latina/o Margins". In Kujawa-Holbrook, Sheryl A.; Montagno, Karen Brown (eds.). Injustice and the Care of Souls: Taking Oppression Seriously in Pastoral Care. Fortress Press. pp. 59–72. ISBN 0800662350. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  5. ^ "A guide to Hispanics and religion in the U.S." ReligionLink. 4 December 2006. Retrieved 26 December 2017. Updated on 19 June 2014.
  6. ^ Ted Henken (2008). Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 535. ISBN 978-1-85109-984-9.
  7. ^ De La Torre, Miguel (2 February 2005). "When the Bible Is Used For Hate". Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  8. ^ Dobson, James (11 February 2005). "Political Bias Distorted Facts". Holland Sentinel. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Controversy on Campus". Holland Sentinel. 2 January 2006. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  10. ^ Jaschik, Scott (28 April 2005). "Did SpongeBob Article Cost Professor a Job?". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Book Receives First-Place Award from Catholic Press Association". Hope College Office of Public Relations. 18 June 2003. Archived from the original on 10 September 2006. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  12. ^ a b "CURRICULUM VITAE". drmigueldelatorre. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Officers of The Society of Christian Ethics". Society of Christian Ethics. Archived from the original on 18 April 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Board of Directors". Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion". Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  16. ^ Gutterman, Dawn Wolfe (23 June 2005). "Miguel De La Torre: The new face of gay-allied activism". Between The Lines News. No. 1325. Pridesource. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Miguel De La Torre Wins Excellence in Teaching Award". Retrieved 2021-01-21.