The Strangers in Our Midst: American Evangelicals and Immigration from the Cold War to the Twenty-First Century

ISBN : 9780197515884

Ulrike Elisabeth Stockhausen
304 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
May 2021
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Evangelical Christians in the United States today are known for their hard-line, restrictive approach to immigration and refugees insofar that means welcoming immigrants and refugees into the country. This book shows that this has not always been the case and is, in fact, a relatively new position. The history of evangelical involvement with refugees and immigrants has been overlooked in the current debate. Since the early 1960s, evangelical Christians have been integral players in US immigration and refugee policy. Motivated by Biblical teachings to "welcome the stranger," they have helped tens of thousands of newcomers by acting as refugee sponsors or providing legalization assistance to undocumented immigrants. Until the 1990s, many evangelicals did not distinguish between documented and undocumented newcomers - all were to be loved and welcomed. In the last decade of the twentieth century, however, a growing anti-immigrant consensus in American society grew alongside evangelicals' political alignment with the Republican Party, leading to a rethinking of their theology. Following the GOP's lead, evangelicals increasingly emphasized the need to obey American law, which many argued undocumented immigrants failed to do. Today, the evangelical movement is more divided than ever about immigration policy. While conservative evangelicals are often immigration hard-liners, many progressive and Latinx evangelicals hope to convince their fellow evangelicals to take a more welcoming approach. The Strangers in Our Midst argues that the key to understanding evangelicals' divided approaches to immigration is to look at both their theology and their politics. Both of which have shaped how-and especially to whom-they extend their Biblical values of hospitality.


List of Abbreviations
List of Archives
1. Sponsoring Castro's Refugees
2. Finding Angels for the Boat People
3. Addressing Illegal Immigration
4. An Evangelical Theology of Hospitality
5. Icy Walls Appear: The Evangelical Backlash against Undocumented Immigration
6. Breaking Down the Walls: Reframing the Evangelical Immigration Debate

About the author: 

Ulrike Elisabeth Stockhausen received her PhD from the University of Munster, Germany. She works as the Digital Science Communication Officer at the Max Weber Stiftung - Foundation German Institutes in the Humanities Abroad in Bonn, Germany.

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