Book: The Stranger Among You - How the Faith-Based Refugee Resettlement Movement Is Shattering Our Red and Blue Silos by Kate Ricecategories: Book, Migrants, Unity, Contemporary Politics, Bipartisan, Faith, Activism, Social Justice, Liberals, Conservatives, American Principles, Refugees
Kate Riceabout this book: Flying under the radar of the national media is a refugee resettlement movement that sees Trump voters and Clinton voters, pro-lifers and pro-choices, the secular and the religious, working together to help refugees. It turns out that an issue that looks so polarizing in the headlines is actually unifying Americans of all political stripes and beliefs on the ground.
"The Stranger Among You" shows chinks in the fabled Trump base because people who look like Trump voters and people who actually voted for Trump are working to help the very people the Trump administration seeks to bar.
Sometimes a literal reading of the Bible makes someone who fits the stereotype of a religious conservative act in a way that fits the stereotype of a secular liberal. This is an important point. Stereotypes can be accurate but are almost always incomplete. That's why refugee resettlement produces such unexpected partnerships.
"The Stranger Among You" examines nine states, seven of them in the Bible Belt and other red states, that have robust refugee resettlement movements. These are stories of churches looking beyond their church doors for partners in resettlement. And there are stories about the secular looking to churches for their leadership and social justice structure. Church-going, contrary to what many people think, has a moderating effect on people's beliefs. Conservatives who go to church frequently are more open to people different from themselves and are more likely to support immigration, according to the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, a research collaborative.
The book features passionate pastors, a podcasting mom, an Iraq War veteran, a low-body-fat techie, retirees, college professors, realtors, former missionaries, church workers, college students, bankers, even a pro-refugee Republican governor (Yes! His Instagram feed welcomes refugees!) It talks about the ups and downs of refugee resettlement—the joys of seeing refugees buy their first homes, the frustrating battle with the streets for the hearts of young refugees.
And there are funny stories too—like what do you do when a kid accidentally kicks a soccer ball through your church's hundred -year-old stained glass window? Answer: Patch it with duct tape and keep on going.
Those who work in refugee resettlement are taking the Bible literally and treating the foreigner as their neighbor, and that neighbor as their brother or sister. These are people seeking to live the words of the Bible in Matthew, John, and Leviticus.
"The Stranger Among You" tells a surprising story of unity in our supposedly polarized nation — and is also a how-to for anyone, regardless of religion or politics, who wants to find out how to help refugees, immigrants, migrants and anyone in need.
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