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 one segment of this group-those working for equitable treatment for immigrants in the United States. Bringing together thirteen essays by social scientists and one theologian, this book analyzes 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 large Catholic groups advocate governmental legislation and policies on behalf of refugees. In an era marked by xenophobia and a new sense of nationalism that equates foreigners with terrorists, non-governmental advocates like those described here are especially crucial in fighting for the well-being of newcomers to this country. This book provides a compelling new look at this new social function of contemporary religion.
Subjects: Religion, Sociology
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