Religion and Social Justice for Immigrants

Religion and Social Justice for Immigrants

Religion and Social Justice for Immigrants

Religion and Social Justice for Immigrants

Synopsis

Religion has jumped into the sphere of global and domestic politics in ways that few would have imagined a century ago. Some expected that religion would die as modernity flourished. Instead, it now stares at us almost daily from the front pages of newspapers and television broadcasts. Although it is usually stories about the Christian Right or conservative Islam that grab headlines, there are many religious activists of other political persuasions that are working quietly for social justice. This book examines how religious immigrants and religious activists are working for equitable treatment for immigrants in the United States.

The essays in this book analyze the different ways in which organized religion provides immigrants with an arena for mobilization, civic participation, and solidarity. Contributors explore topics including how non-Western religious groups such as the Vietnamese Caodai are striving for community recognition and addressing problems such as racism, economic issues, and the politics of diaspora; how interfaith groups organize religious people into immigrant civil rights activists at the U.S.-Mexican border; and how Catholic groups advocate governmental legislation and policies on behalf of refugees.

Excerpt

Religion has jumped into the public sphere of global and domestic politics in ways that no social theorist could have imagined fifty or a hundred years ago. Religion, after all, was supposed to die as modernity flourished. Instead, it now stares at us almost daily from the newspaper, but it is usually the extremist fundamentalisms of the Christian right or conservative political Islam that grabs the headlines. Meanwhile, religious activists of other political persuasions remain active outside of the pews and prayer halls, working quietly in numerous social justice campaigns in the United States and elsewhere around the world. This book examines a segment of this group, namely those working for immigrant social justice in the United States.

The late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries are proving to be an age of global migration. The world is on the move, with nearly 200 million people worldwide now living in countries other than those where they were born; about 34 million of them are in the United States. And as anyone who has not been living under a rock knows, immigrants and refugees have met with a deeply ambivalent and often mean-spirited public reception in the United States. We see this in institutions across society, in the media, in workplaces, in the legislature, and in the campaign platforms of politicians at election time. It is an era marked by xenophobia, racialized nativism, the perception that immigrants are draining social welfare coffers, and by a new nationalism that conflates immigrants with terrorists and national security threats. To be sure, the United States is still celebrated as a nation of immigrants, and it is widely perceived as the land of opportunity for new immigrants. There is much to recommend this view, particularly with regards to economic mobility. Yet one suspects that when historians of the future reflect on it, the current period will not be seen as a felicitous one for immigrant communities.

Immigrant newcomers in the United States hail predominantly from Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, and religion is salient in their lives both . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.