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A. 1. 2. 3. 4. American Jews The Jews – 2% of population; monotheistic with the Torah (OT) as their sacred text. Central religious figure = Moses. Political Characteristics of Jews Demographically well-off Disproportionately influential/represented in culture: in law, business, politics, journalism, and entertainment. High voting rates, concentrated in heavily populated states. Politically liberal – liberalism is often seen as the essence of Judaism itself, though this view is controversial given the conservatism of orthodox Jews. Most scholars see liberalism (and attachment to the Democratic party) as not necessarily theologically driven, but a byproduct of history (minority status and target of bigotry; i.e., anti-Semitism). Jews sought protection from pro-minority rights groups, not social services directed to the poor (not many Jews represented here). Strong alliance in the 1950s and 60s between blacks and Jews (Jewish CR workers massively overrepresented in the movement). Voting results – 2008 election 74% Obama 4. Jewish Liberalism has been threatened by (1) Estrangement between blacks and Jews when blacks moved to urban centers and favored “community control” challenging Jewish statuses (got violent in NYC) and AffirmativeAction became a national issue not always favored by Jews. (2) The proIsrael position became associated with the GOP. (3) the Neoconservative movement and culture war. The Neoconservatives (group of former liberals turned conservative on many issues) in their publications Commentary and Public Interest (Irving Kristol, Normon Podhertz, and today Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, David Horowitz) urged Jews to leave political liberalism because Dems were weak on Israel and soft on communism, pushing Aff-Action, creating cyclically dependent impoverished groups, and pushing values that were inconsistent with the Torah. Further, Jesse Jackson did not help when he referred to Jews as ‘Hymies’ and NYC as ‘Hymietown’; also Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam described Judaism as a ‘dirty’ religion. Both men were seen befriending PLO leader Yasir Arafat and supporting a Palestinian state (fed perceived rebirth of black anti-Semitism). BUT, short-lived after Carter failed to get a majority. Gap between Dem support between Jews and non-Jews rose from 20% in 1984 to over 40% today (perhaps more afraid of evangelical Republicans like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell than black Dems like Jesse Jackson). 5. B. C. 1. 2. • • • D. 1. Why the fear of EP Republicans? Historical discrimination by “Christian government” against Jews. The Christian Right seemed to be antidemocratic and anti-pluralistic to Jews. But…Dispensationalism? 3 groupings: Reform (39%); Conservative (33%); Orthodox (21%; most traditional). Religious Characteristics Synagogue attendance very low (less than 25% once a month). Label is increasingly an ethnic identity more than indicating a religious practice Increasingly secular in worldview Losing culturally distinctive identity (especially among young) Intermarriage growing (50% today) and birthrates lower than necessary to replace population Political ideology and Judaism Theological liberalism dominates Judaism today (3/4s either Reform or Conservative). Theology of “deeds not creeds” such that Atheism or Agnosticism is theoretically and practically tenable in much of Jewish thought. Reform Judaism more or less approximates the secular enlightenment philosophy. 1. E. 1. 2. 3. • History of persecution – fostered concern for religious minorities and other disadvantaged groups. Orthodox are the most Politically Conservative Ultraconservative Jews (like Hasidic Jews) hold politically conservative views on cultural and social issues. However, this group often practices withdrawal much like the fundamentalist Protestants in years past, so the GOP benefits of Orthodox Judaism is waning if it ever existed due to secularization of Jews today 29% of young non-o Jews rate Israel high on their priority list compared to 60 of older non-o Jews). Seems younger Jews care far less about Israel today because they care far less about Judaism today (increasingly being reduced to an ethnic label, not a traditional religious commitment). Was and is prominent among the “NeoConservatives” (Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Bill Kristol, and David Horowitz; Weekly Standard). American Jews and Israel – has connected Jews to American conservatism quite frequently. U.S. is a strong ally of Israel and the GOP is consistently seen as Israel’s strongest supporters • Dispensational Theology among Protestants – according to DT, Christians (really everyone) are commanded to be especially kind towards and protective of the Jews as God’s chosen people. Pastor John Hagee and the “Christian Zionist” movement calls for the U.S. and Christ’s church, as instruments of God’s prophetic fulfillment of land promises to Israel found in the OT, to tenaciously defend and fight against Israel’s enemies and protect her as the place where Christ will one day occupy the throne of David in Jerusalem to re-establish his earthly kingdom. But despite many cases of affinity between evangelical leaders and grateful Jewish ones, the specter of necessary conversion still haunts this relationship. Quick side: Christian theologians have disagreed on what to make of Jews in the New Covenant age (after Christ’s death and resurrection). Is there still a divine plan targeting Jewish people and Israel or is there now only one people of God with no particular ongoing divine interest Jews? At the extremes are so called ‘dual covenant’ (two people; two salvific plans) and ‘replacement’ theologies (the church simply replaced Israel when Christ came; ethnic Israel/Judaism is no longer a meaningful category in God’s mind). • The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee is among the top five most powerful lobbies in D.C. From the Jerusalem Post (orthodox Jewish newspaper): “There are fewer and fewer [evangelical leaders who subscribe to replacement theology] as time goes along. They are seeing, finally, the error of replacement theology. The vast majority of evangelicals do not believe in replacement theology. Evangelicals believe that Israel has a Bible mandate to the land, a divine covenant for the land of Israel, forever. That the Jewish people are chosen of God and are the apple of God’s eye. That Christians have a Bible mandate to be supportive of Israel and the Jewish people, to demonstrate to the Jewish people what they have not experienced from Christianity for 2,000 years… the love of God.” - Source: Evangelicals seeing the error of replacement theology, The Jerusalem Post, Israel, Mar. 20, 2006 One other little thing, the vast majority also believe that Jews must repent and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. Still a ‘problem’ for the alliance. Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjMRgT5o-Ig I. A. B. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormons) LDS Church Who? 3% (4-6million); nearly all white; much higher levels of church attendance/activity than others; fastest growing religious group; heavily concentrated geographically in Utah (70%) and a few other Mountain West states (Idaho 27%) History: established in 1830 by Joseph Smith, who claimed to have received revelation from the angel Moroni and discovered “golden plates” buried near his NY home, the information of which translated into the Book of Mormon (book of beliefs and historical claims; teaches that ancient Israelite prophets – ancestors of Native Americans – sailed to the Americas from Jerusalem in 600bc foretelling the coming of the Messiah; Christ came to them and gave them a “second testimony” after His resurrection and ascension; one of 4 inspired books in Mormon theology; Bible, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants). Mormons taught the concept of ‘unified just communities”; and set these up as they migrated to Utah in the 19th century, Smith, killed 1844, replaced by B. Young. C. Basic Beliefs – God is a physical man who achieved deity through righteous living (model for man). He and his wife produced spirit offspring who later came to earth in human form in order to be more like God (imitation). Their inability to do so perfectly prompted God to send Jesus Christ, our eldest brother, to suffer for their sins; world rejected his gospel and church fell away from truth shortly after his ascension; his church was “restored” in 1830; full salvation is achieved through faith, repentance, obedience to God, baptism, receipt of the Holy Ghost; all spirit children will return to God (‘Heavenly Father’) at judgment with varying degrees of reward/punishment. Zion is the New Jerusalem, a future place in America (Independence, MO), where Christ will return and rule in person as the former tribes of Israel reunite; prophets and apostles still hear from God within the context of the LDS leadership (President); very slow small minority trend today is towards inclusivism and even universal salvation; less dogmatic on sacred text than before. Most controversial historically: polygamy (officially discontinued in 1890); baptism of the dead; limiting priesthood to white men only (ended in 1978) Most appealing to non-Mormons – sealing of families/marriages ‘for time and eternity’ or the physical reuniting/reconstitution of families together in the afterlife as now. D. Political History – Mormons were treated with suspicion by many Americans. Their communalism, separatism (People’s Political Party), alleged heresy, bloc voting, support for polygamy and consequent growth, and early provocative political-militant language by Prophets (also Mountain Meadows Massacre) led many to take a extreme political action against them (Sup Ct actually upheld a law legally dissolving the organization). Assimilative actions by the church (abandon polygamy, dissolve Party, encourage traditional political behavior including two-party state etc.) resulted in recognition of Utah as a state in 1896. E. Mormons and Politics today – extremely politically cohesive religious group (85% vote GOP; more supportive of GOP than evangelicals; second only to blacks as the most loyal partisan coalition); dominate business, news media, and politics in Utah where 80% state legislators are Mormon; claim 16 congressional seats plus other key political figures like Sen. Orrin Hatch, Senate majority leader Harry Ried, 2008 GOP primary contender Mitt Romney and Glen Beck. “Strict church” (i.e., highly active & demanding religious life tithing, hours per week in church meetings, volunteerism, large families, dietary restrictions, extensive church regulation/discipline – ‘temple permits’ and excommunication are significant carrots and sticks; these coupled with necessary obedience to the head of the LDS church (President) produces great cohesion, political cohesion too, and potential for member mobilization on anything (from natural disasters to political referenda – like gay marriage votes). Wilson calls this “dry-kindling” capacity unlike other groups (evangelicals and Catholics). BUT LDS leaders rarely use it (kind of a reserved right). LDS tend to be culturally conservative on cultural issues (more conservative on gender roles, abortion, gay marriage than evangelicals), but a bit less than evangelicals on ‘non-morality’ issues). Though members are heavily GOP in behavior, the church is FAR LESS explicitly political or attached to political entities like parties (unlike the Christian Right and evangelicals and Catholics in general, who hear more political messages at church than Mormons). Recently, the LDS church voted to support anti-discrimination policies in Utah protecting gays. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=2796 070n&tag=related;photovideo http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=3784 251n&tag=related;photovideo Case in point – 2000 primary election, LDS Church leaders decided to make two announcements to their members concerning the initiative to ban gay marriage or Prop 22 (1. letter explaining LDS position; 2. letter encouraging Mormons to become active with time and money). Results, tremendous immediate mobilized and organized anti-gay marriage movement in CA. F. Constraints on Mormon political influence – same as before regarding theology (seen as a ‘cult’ by many Christians); plus they are geographically constrained. Will evangelicals support Romney? G. Political irony between LDS and Evangelicals/Catholics – the LDS is rigidly hierarchical in church government like Catholics (Pope – Prophet; Teaching Magisterium – General Authorities; Dioceses – Stakes; Churches – Wards). The RC is politically neutral (at the top) as well. BUT, the RC does not create the political grassroots activity and consistent cohesion that the LDS church does (probably due to lack of voluntarism, strict church, and church activity which gives rise to political activism). On the other hand, the Christian Right and evangelical leaders expend great efforts to mobilize voters, but it is far less able to do so (in as dependable, sustained, reliable, cohesive manner) as LDS leaders do because it lacks the single centralized authority structure (there is not evangelical ‘church’). (Story of LDS pres Sith speaking with Truman about getting food/supplies on the ground in post-WWII Europe. Truly an unmatched Relief Society – doctrine to store up one year’s worth of food for end times.) American Muslims and Islam I. American Muslims – (1% roughly; 3 million people; rapidly outpacing Jews in number; 1,500 mosques up from 1 in 1930; nearly all 1st or 2nd generation immigrants with 65% foreign born) A. Very diverse (American Islam is second only to Mecca in diversity). Of Muslim immigrants, 24% come from Arab region, 26% come from Pakistan, Iran, and other South Asia, rest come from throughout the world). Of native-born (35% of total Muslim pop), 20% are African-American and 15% are other; also of Native-born, 21% are converts compared to 14% born Muslim. B. Demographics and attitudes – middle class (socioeconomically) and mainstream. Here we see the difference in American Muslims compared to those around the world (sometimes a distinction is drawn between ‘Islamists’ and ‘Muslims’). A much higher percent of Muslims here give responses closer to the mainstream opinion of other Americans compared to Muslims in Europe and Middle-East (they are wealthier, only a minority think of themselves as “Muslims first,” larger majorities consider life to be good here for women, and larger shares, though a bare majority, are concerned about and condemning of Islamic extremism.” Only 1% American Muslims say suicide bombings against civilians are justified for sake of Islam (80% say never), higher percentages say they are justified in Europe. Very little favor of Al Qaeda (5%) compared to European Muslims. However,, 26% of Muslims under 30 say that suicide bombings to defend Islam are possibly justifiable. C. Political views: 1. 9/11 impact: 53% Muslims say life is harder since 9/11, though only 25% report discrimination. 2. War on Terror: There is strong opposition to the War in Iraq, half disagree with war in Afghanistan, and over half do not consider the War on Terror a ‘sincere effort’ among Muslims compared to the general population (split on Iraq, strong majorities on Afghan and Terror wars). 3. Though 47% of American Muslims say they are Muslim first before American, 60% of young Muslims say so (42% of Christians say they are Christian first). Of high commitment Muslims, 70% say Muslim first (59% for Christian counterparts). 4. Only 11% favor the GOP compared to 51% favoring the Dems (71% voted for Kerry, but 89% voting for Obama). 5. About as many (49%) of American Muslims want Mosques to stay apolitical compared to 43% who say they should not (for Christians, this number is almost exactly flipped). 6. Interestingly, by a large margin more foreign and native born Muslims than African-American Muslims say that immigrant Muslims should try to assimilate (47% of AAs say don’t). II. A. Islam (brief history and beliefs) History – Mohammed, the central figure in Islam, lived in the late 6th and early 7th century in and near Mecca; claimed to have received revelation from Allah (via the angel Gabriel) throughout his life; his sermons and teachings are set down in the Quran (Islamic sacred text); won enough converts through preaching and conquest of nearby cities to eventually make all the Arabian peninsula Islamic B. Theology – One God; many prophets (Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed); God created angels (some good some evil); The Qur’an is the final revelation of God (the Hadith is another holy book but of lesser authority); Judgment is coming (heaven and hell) and is based on unquestioned obedience to Allah and his prophet Mohammed. To be a Muslim (or remain so), one must confess “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger”; pray five times a day; fast through the ninth lunar month of Ramadan; give alms to the needy (1/40 of income); Make trip to Mecca in one’s lifetime. Some include a 6th “pillar” of Jihad (various interpretations) C. Two broad divisions: Shi’ite (Shia) and Sunni are divided originally over who the appropriate successor to Mohammed is. 1. Shia believe that the leader of Islam (Imam) should be appointed by God through each descendent of Mohammed (first was Ali, a cousin and then son-in-law of Mohammed). Iran (90%) as well as Hezbollah (a militant hardcore Islamic party/paramilitary group in Lebanon calling for the extermination of Israel); 2003 Iraqi elections/constitution favored by Shia. 2. Sunni, larger of the two, recognize the first four Caliphs and the means of selecting them as appropriate (election). Sunni are a slight minority but was most dominate force in Iraq (Hussein was Sunni); Al Queda is Sunni too; Taliban & most of Afghanistan are Sunni (80%). C. Islam in American Society/Politics – 40% Black Muslim (historically separatist); 25% South Asian (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh); 12% Arab 1. Fear among many in the West (much less so here) is that Muslims will engage politics with the purpose of establishing Sharia Law or a Caliphate (Islamic law/gov’t regulating everything from religious practice to crime control to foreign affairs to daily dress). Clearly advocated by sizable Islamic groups in Europe, but not as much here. Kenneth Wald notes the difference in America between ‘Muslims’ and ‘Islamists’ (Islamists are the minority favoring immediate enforcement of Sharia law). 2. Key political groups – Islamic Society of North America – concerned with civil liberties protections for Muslims, especially after 9/11. 3. 9/11 and its aftermath has caused many Muslims to unite in order to refute and fight against mischaracterizations of American Muslims. 3. Conservative on Social Affairs, but liberal on welfare state – since they are typically socially conservative, many thought that Muslims may become an ally of the GOP (majority voted for Bush in 2000). But 9/11 and the War on Terror changed all that (90% backed Obama in 2008) 4. Prospects for an effective Muslim political movement are ambiguous. Must deal with ethnic differences brought from abroad; modernity or secular appeal of modernity in America as well as the distinct Black Muslim movement in America; relations to Jews, view of women, etc. May have been united around the War, but no clear common political agenda outside it. III. Nation of Islam: Rise and Decline A. Islam in America has been around as long as there have been slaves in America (15-20% of African slaves were probably Muslim). Most of these converted to something else (for many reasons). B. Resurgence in the 20th century: The Honorable Elijah Muhammed and the Nation of Islam (1930s). 1. Set up as a separatist alternative to Christianity (“white man’s religion”), which was blamed as a tool for white racism. 2. Nationalistic, typically calling for a separate society for black people where the principles of Islam would govern. 3. Rose in influence during the Black Nationalist, Black Power, movements in the 1960s and featured Malcolm X. 4. Controversy put the movement on the back burner when internal corruption charges surfaced concerning Elijah Muhammed, and when Malcolm X returned from a pilgrim trip to Mecca and argued that the Nation of Islam was a departure from orthodox Islam, especially concerning racial separatism. 5. When Elijah Muhammed died, N of I split into two factions (most following his son who was more mainstream and less separatist – called American Society of Muslims). But another group/person has been the most visible/vocal face of the Nation of Islam. 6. Louis Farrakhan – continued the nationalistic and separatist vision of Muhammed. Appeals to urban males; calls a separate community with alternative values; in his public speeches, often uses traditional Christian phrases or stories, children’s songs, Bible passages, sayings of Jesus, to illustrate his points and connect with Black protestants. 7. Distinct doctrines – God manifested himself in human form to a black Muslim in the 1930s; E. Muhammed was another prophet of Allah; from the original black man, all races were created; several thousand years ago, Yakub (mad scientist) developed an experiment ultimately created a ‘race of devils’ (whites and Jews); whites are not worthy of evangelism and are not permitted as members to the NOI. Secularists, AntiFundamentalists, The New Atheists I. Seculars – as there are different types of worldviews among theists, there are different kinds of worldviews among secularists as well…but generally… A. Basic beliefs 1. Ultimate reality – all we “know” is that the material world exists, so we must function as such. 2. Truth – combination of science or reason and personal judgment gives us our sense of truth; typically some form of evidentialism (faith is belief in the absence of evidence OR no one should believe anything without empirical evidence). 3. Ethics – Self-referential or subjectively determined; morality is relative to person, time, place, culture 4. Destiny – either a meaningless future of non-existence (nihilism) or a triumphant age of human progress/victory over war, disease, poverty (humanism). 5. Man’s basic problem – cultural institutions that impede the progress/freedom of the individual (could be capitalism, marriage, social norms, government, but certainly religion). John Lennon - Imagine B. Defined perhaps more by what they are not (Read Reich p. 19 in Hunter Baker’s book) C. Historical origins – fullest articulation came during the secular Enlightenment (17th and 18th centuries) and late 19th Darwinian philosophies about how the world works. D. Profile of American seculars – 14% of pop, up from 10 50 years ago, though number of “unaffiliated” has doubled from 8 to 16% today; 48% of seculars under 35; a bit more with college education (15%); income same as other groups, except above $150k) II. Rise of the Secular Left or Antifundamentalists in American politics A. History – culturally, there has been a public outspoken anti-fundamentalist sentiment going back to the early 1900s when secular Darwinian thinkers gained control of cultural institutions, like newspapers and popularized an image of a Christian fundamentalist as half-wits, ignoramuses, menaces to Western civilization, backwoods, trash. Some social scientists also began to publicize the view that fundamentalists were threats to democratic society. B. Before 1980s, despite these strong views and conflicts in the culture, fundamentalist and antifundamentalist views & disagreements WERE NOT yet contextualized in politically meaningful ways (i.e., no partisan animus; similar to what was happening in the Christian church prior to the 1970s). It would take a religious realignment (rise of Christian Right) before “a negative cultural referent became a full-blown political referent to secularists and other anti-fundamentalists”). Until then, both parties were dominated by those accepting a basic JudeoChristian ethic regarding authority, sexuality, and the family. III. Culture War between the Parties? A. Growing Secular prominence in the Democratic Party – 1992 first time white delegates to Dem convention twice as likely to identify as irreligious as GOP counterparts. B. 1992 convention, GOP delegates reserved their “coolest” attitudes towards feminists, environmentalists, and pro-choicers (over unionists, liberals, Democrats, blacks, Hispanics, etc.). By contrast, Dems reserved their coolest attitudes towards one group, Christian fundamentalists (more than half Dem delegates gave them a 0 out of hundred). IV. A. Culture War in the Electorate? Electorate divided into three groups: Traditionalists (19%), Seculars (12%), and religious moderates (69%). 1. Traditional – regular prayer/church attendance, accepted Bible as divine and authoritative, religion = important guide for them. 2. Secular – no scriptural authority, no prayer/church attendance, no religious guidance in life, no affiliation. Survey data shows the following profile of Seculars: morality = relativistic, more than half self-identify as liberal, just as powerful a determinant of attitudes on social issues as religion is for traditionalists, far less willing to stress the importance of traditional family forms, sexual mores, and far more pro-choice; far more hostile to acceptance of public role for religion in public square, antipathy towards Catholic Church and especially evangelicals or fundamentalists. Key point: Just as evangelicals have grown in prominence among Republicans (both among voters and in the party itself; much is made of this); the same is true concerning seculars and anti-fundamentalists among Dems. In fact, antagonism towards Christian fundamentalists is a strong predictor of vote choice in every election cycle since 1992. For instance, 43% of Kerry’s white voters came from anti-fundamentalists while 2/3s of Bush’s voters came from those expressing positive views of both the Catholic Church and Christian fundamentalists.