Title of Abstract

Faith and Immigration: How Evangelical Protestantism Shapes the Views of Its Adherents

Session Title

Controversial Topics in Society : Past and Present

Faculty Mentor

Jennifer Leigh Disney, Ph.D.; Hye-Sung Kim, Ph. D.; Brandon Ranallo-Benavidez, Ph.D.; disneyj@winthrop.edu; benavidezb@winthrop.edu; kimh@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Political Science

Faculty Mentor

Jennifer Disney, Ph.D. and Brandon Ranallo-Benavidez, Ph.D.

Abstract

In my paper, I investigate the role that the religio-cultural tools of evangelical Protestantism play in shaping attitudes regarding immigration and immigration policy. Using Michael Emerson’s Divided by Faith to identify three cultural tools which are typically associated with evangelical Protestantism, accountable freewill individualism, relationism, and antistructuralism, this study analyzes the relationship between these tools and individual’s views on immigration policy. I will conduct interviews with students at Winthrop University who self-identify as evangelical Christians and conduct a content analysis of their responses. I hypothesize that in using these three cultural tools to form their beliefs, individuals who identify as evangelical Protestants tend to be against immigration reform that would aid those immigrating to the United States, despite holding the belief that their nation is a nation of immigrants. I also hypothesize that in considering their religion as a cultural group as opposed to an ethnic group, evangelical Protestants use their cultural tools in order to form their beliefs regarding immigration policy, causing them to reject policies that would aid those who have immigrated to the United States. In order to highlight how this phenomenon is unique to evangelical Protestantism, I will make comparisons between the evangelical Protestant approach and that of the Catholic faith. I conclude my work by noting how this culture of faith is integral to contemporary American society, setting the United States apart from the more secular modern societies that are common to Europe.

Course Assignment

PLSC 490 - Ranallo-Benavidez & Disney PLSC530 - Kim

Start Date

16-4-2021 1:00 PM

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Apr 16th, 1:00 PM

Faith and Immigration: How Evangelical Protestantism Shapes the Views of Its Adherents

In my paper, I investigate the role that the religio-cultural tools of evangelical Protestantism play in shaping attitudes regarding immigration and immigration policy. Using Michael Emerson’s Divided by Faith to identify three cultural tools which are typically associated with evangelical Protestantism, accountable freewill individualism, relationism, and antistructuralism, this study analyzes the relationship between these tools and individual’s views on immigration policy. I will conduct interviews with students at Winthrop University who self-identify as evangelical Christians and conduct a content analysis of their responses. I hypothesize that in using these three cultural tools to form their beliefs, individuals who identify as evangelical Protestants tend to be against immigration reform that would aid those immigrating to the United States, despite holding the belief that their nation is a nation of immigrants. I also hypothesize that in considering their religion as a cultural group as opposed to an ethnic group, evangelical Protestants use their cultural tools in order to form their beliefs regarding immigration policy, causing them to reject policies that would aid those who have immigrated to the United States. In order to highlight how this phenomenon is unique to evangelical Protestantism, I will make comparisons between the evangelical Protestant approach and that of the Catholic faith. I conclude my work by noting how this culture of faith is integral to contemporary American society, setting the United States apart from the more secular modern societies that are common to Europe.