Polemics & Exchanges

On Christian Aliens

Third World immigration, contrary to the claim of Philip Jenkins?(“A New Christian America,” Views, November 2001), is not making America more Christian.  The Catholicism of Latin America and the Caribbean (the leading source of immigrants), is often nominal—a veneer covering a wide variety of pre-Columbian superstitions, African spirituality (e.g., Santeria), and simple unbelief.  It is not the biblically based faith that historically has characterized the United States.  Can anyone honestly claim that America would be more Christian if her values and spirituality were more like those of Mexico, El Salvador, or Haiti?

Even if we accept religious designations at face value, however, it is clear that current immigration is significantly swelling non-Christian faiths.  In 1978, there were two million Muslims in the United States; today, there are at least four million, and possibly more.  Since 1978, the Hindu population in America has increased from 75,000 to one million, and Buddhists grew from 11,000 to three quarters of a million.  Dr. Jenkins says that we should not worry, because these numbers are a relatively small portion of the total population.  But their past growth and continuing growth, thanks to mass immigration, will make the United States less Christian than it would have been...

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