Latent Function

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Latent Functions

Few people will object to the manifest functions of religion, but some of the latent functions of the churches bring consequences which often surprise even the faithful. At the same time, they may stimulate either approval or opposition from those who do not consider themselves very religious. Churches are a setting for sociability as well as worship. Church youth groups provide an opportunity to practice leadership skills and a setting for courtship and mate selection. Churches decorate the community with buildings that are sometimes beautiful and inspirational; they stimulate art and music; they provide concerts and festivals. (Some would include these as manifest functions of some religions.) Churches help newcomers to become acquainted, help people "social climb." One of their manifest functions is to unite the community in human brotherhood; a latent function is 10 help divide the community by race and class. While preaching that "all people are equal before God," churches
The sociabUity functions of the church provide a setting 'for conspicuous display of wealth by members attired in their Sunday best.