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April 15, 2007

Sunday Sermonette: Secularism and immigration

Welcome, apostates!

A separate study of 4,000 Hispanics to be released this month by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Hispanic Center found that 8 percent of them said they had “no religion” — similar to the 11 percent in the general public. Of the Hispanics who claimed no religion, two-thirds said they had once been religious. Thirty-nine percent of the Hispanics who said they had no religion were former Catholics.

Hispanics from Cuba were the most secular national group, at 14 percent, followed by Central Americans at 12 percent, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans at 9 percent, and South Americans at 8 percent, the Pew poll found. Mexicans in this country were the least likely to say they had no religion, at 7 percent. [NYT]

Another reason for secularists to champion immigration...

“They come, they adopt the American way, and part of the American way is moving towards no religion,” said Ariela Keysar, associate director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford. [NYT]

I've always been strongly pro-immigration, but I never considered our newest Americans as a source of reinforcements in the culture wars. What a nice dividend.

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Comments

Would like to read more stories published by you. I have changed my views and now support immigration reform whole heartedly.

http://velvethammer.wordpress.com/2007/04/06/flake-gutierrez-comprehensive-immigration-reform-bill/#comment-6100

I've always been strongly pro-immigration, but I never considered our newest Americans as a source of reinforcements in the culture wars. What a nice dividend.

Lindsay, suppose there is a culture war between religious and secular people. 89% of the population is religious and 11% are secular.

Now let's say new people arrive from other countries. 92% of them are religious, and 8% of them are secular--so the net percentage of secular people decreases slightly. It seems curious to describe that net loss as "a source of reinforcements" for the secular.

Note also that the report was apparently about the religious affiliation of Hispanics, but you are using it to draw conclusions about immigrants. Since there are millions of Hispanics who are not immigrants and large number of immigrants who are not Hispanic, it's unclear why you would draw conclusions about one group based on a study of the other one.

Parse, I'm kidding.

Lou Dobbs, on the other hand, is totally serious. (See above.)

I always strongly suspected something like this would happen. I've read things about how all these Catholic immigrants would make this a pro-life country, and other things, but always found it much more likely that their views would start to resemble the rest of the country's. That's just what happens.

Chris O, an overwhelmingly Catholic ethnic group that adopts secularism at the same rate as most Americans is still overwhelmingly Catholic.

While I doubt there will be a "pro-life majority," it's certainly true that the future of America is a more heavily Catholic America. How this will affect American culture, I don't know.

"Parse, I'm kidding."

Oh! So that stuff about "...reinforcements in the culture wars" is just 'tongue in chica'?

I'm sincere about being pro-immigration and pro-secularism.

I was kidding about that New York Times being evidence that immigration is good for secularism.

It is interesting that the rate at which this group of immigrants is secularizing is much higher than in the population at large. According to the study, a significant percentage of people who came here with a religion lost it. I'm guessing that only a fraction of longtime US residents lost their religion in the same period.

As parse points out, if this group of immigrants is even more religious than Americans on average, the fact that new arrivals are secularizing faster than the population at large doesn't necessarily mean that these immigrants are increasing the proportion of secular Americans overall.

Lindsay the story makes it seem like the studies discussed are about the religious affiliation of Hispanic immigrants, and you seem to accept this, commenting "It is interesting that the rate at which this group of immigrants is secularizing is much higher than in the population at large." But as far as I can tell, all the studies referenced are about Hispanics, not Hispanic immigrants.

It is interesting that the rate at which this group of immigrants is secularizing is much higher than in the population at large.

What are you basing this on? The American Religious Identification Survey, which has Hispanics' rate of non-religiosity increased from 6% to 13%, says the American population at large has seen its rate go from 8.4% to 15%. It's barely slower in terms of percentage points, and only somewhat slower in terms of relative percentages.

That is unfortunate. However, I was already opposed to illegal immigration; the strain on my state's social services as well as the multitude of illegal-alien criminals law enforcement has to contend with outweighs cheaper prices at the grocery store and elsewhere.

I sympathize with the plight of many illegal aliens who are seeking a better life, but my sympathy does not extend so far as to allow them to lower the standard of living in my state and elsewhere.

good article, thanks. Will be interested to read more...

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