This past week in class we finished up Case Study presentations as well as starting congregation visit reports. My group and I presented on our book, “God Needs No Passport,” which detailed the experiences of immigrants from four major religious groups living in the United States. I really enjoyed reading this book and learning about the different experiences of each migrant, and how parts of their experience were affiliated with their religiosity but for the most part, experiences and ideologies varied based on individuals, and were not solely tied to one religious group. It was also interesting because a lot of the individuals interviewed said that they associated agency and having the ability to make decisions and take control of one’s life with being American, so the individual experiences of each person were not dictated by their religion, but rather by their new identity as Americans. There were definitely similarities within each religious group, for example many Hindus valued family and cited it as something they struggled with in their new life in America, because they were so far from their roots and their home. There was also a definitive pressure to succeed amongst most immigrants, because they gave up a lot to leave their homes, and “success” had very similar definitions amongst the Muslin and Hindu migrants. Many of them came into the US with degrees, and found jobs fairly quickly whilst pursuing further education and working to gain elements of “Americanness” that they found important, such as a house or American technology.
Overall, this book and the similarities I found within it were fascinating to me, and I’m really glad that my group and I had the opportunity to learn and understand this material and share it with the rest of the class.