Mar 30, 2016

Evangelicals changing on immigration

Americans are generally supportive of immigration. White evangelicals are the exception. 

Evangelicals are the one group, according to a new Public Religion Research Institute survey, where a majority says accepting newcomers into the country "threatens traditional American customs and values."

This does not simply mean white evangelicals are opposed to immigration, though. While 53 percent say immigration is a cultural threat, 54 percent support reform, and like the idea of a path to citizenship.

There's also a big difference between younger evangelicals and older evangelicals. The numbers suggest a major generational shift: younger evangelicals' opinions on immigration are closer to black Protestants than to their elders. Fifty-five percent say immigrants are good for America and opposition drops by 20 points.

It would seem there's a significant change underway within white evangelicalism.

Mar 22, 2016

Easter women

At a Methodist church in Texas in 1943:

This photo was among the more than 8,000 John Vachon took for the United States Farm Security Administration, documenting American life during the Great Depression. Many of these photos are made publicly available by Yale.

Mar 11, 2016

'With respect to the Jews'

In a letter to President Harry S. Truman, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower discusses the Zionism of the Jewish refugees of Europe after World War II:

The letter was written in Sept. 1945.

Truman was a Baptist, and had long supported Jewish immigration to Palestine and the possible formation of a Jewish state. When he became president, this was a contentious issue. Many in his administration, including Secretary of State George Marshall, were opposed to a Jewish state. From Marshall's point of view, supporting Israel was bad foreign policy. It was also not great domestic policy. Not many Americans supported the idea. Even American Jews were generally against it.

According Richard Holbrooke, one of the president's political advisors, Truman was committed to Israel anyway.

Partly this was because of his religious beliefs.

"He was a student and believer in the Bible since his youth," Holbrooke recalled. "From his reading of the Old Testament he felt the Jews derived a legitimate historical right to Palestine, and he sometimes cited such biblical lines as Deuteronomy 1:8: 'Behold, I have given up the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord hath sworn unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.'"

Partly, too, Truman was influenced by those Zionist refugees that Eisenhower wrote about. They, like the faithful saints of Hebrews 11, did "not desire to look upon their present location as any form of permanent home."