Tag Archives: Judaism

Jewish Americans and the Democratic Party

ImageA common stereotype involving Jewish Americans is that they are single-issue voters whose support goes to the candidate with the most hawkish views on Israel. Furthermore, it is widely accepted that the Republican Party is generally the more pro-Israel party. So how many times in the last 100 years have Republican Presidential candidates won the Jewish vote? Once. In 1920, James Cox lost the Jewish vote as well as the Presidency to Warren G. Harding. Since then, Democrats have claimed the majority of the Jewish vote in 23 straight Presidential elections.

Leading up to the 2012 Presidential Election, media reports (Like this one titled “Does Obama have a Jewish Voter Problem?”) began to question if Barack Obama was losing the Jewish vote. This thought process originated following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s staunch rebuke of President Obama’s proposal for Israel to accept 1967 borders with Palestine. The media speculation intensified when a Republican won the special election for New York’s 9th congressional district, which encompasses large Jewish communities, for the first time in almost 90 years. Ultimately, though, it was all for naught as Obama still won 69% of the Jewish vote. And although this was the lowest percentage since 1988, it was still a commanding victory for Democrats.

So why do Jewish Americans continually vote for the Democratic Party? Continue reading

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The Growing Diversity of African-American Faith

As a class, since we began reading The Color of Christ by Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey, we have spent a good amount of time talking about African-American faith. Typically, when talking about this subject most of the information we read covers African-American Christianity from slavery on, but a recent article from The Huffington Post and a follow up interview from NPR hosted by Mitchel Martin show that more African-Americans than ever are now choosing the create their own paths and explore the many faiths that are practiced in America. Many African-Americans, even those that were raised Christian, are now seeking new religions experiences for numerous different reasons. The article above touches on the diverse group of religions African-Americans now practice, but it does not and could not possibly on every different faith that is now practiced by the entire population of black Americans.

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In the Huffington Post article, the author states, “Considerable attention has already been given to the role of Christianity and Islam as religious influences, but the diversity of religious traditions practiced within the African-American community extends beyond those two traditions.” The author then backs up this statement by giving us nine examples of African-Americans that practice different religions. Hearing from African-Americans that are Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Baha’i, Atheist, Hindu, Christian, and Pagan allows us to believe that the the effects from the christianizing of Blacks that occurred in during the times of slavery in America may have begun to wear off. One example provided is the story behind Black, Jewish, and Homosexual rapper Yitz Jordan (above). In his life, Jordan faced discrimination for sexual preference, skin color, and religious background, but despite the negativity, the Jewish community accepted Jordan into their religion in 2004. Jordan, like fellow black, Jewish rapper Drake, embraces everything that he is and is as proud to a part of the Black community as he is to be part of the LGBT community and the Jewish community. Jordan can be seen talking about his religion, his rapping, and his life below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_ITmHdTgOQ

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African American Religious Association

The vast diversity of African-American faith is highlighted by the story of Timothy Conley who practices Baha’i religion. Growing up, Conley, just like a large amount of African-American children was a Christian that worshipped at an all black church. The way he grew up ultimately led Conley to seek a more diverse place to worship, “That’s what’s great about the Baha’i tradition, the promotion of this diversity. And being a part of a religion that promotes humanity and not such a focus on race, it is refreshing.” (Huffington Post). As you can see in the chart to the left, African-Americans truly are branching out when it comes to religious preference. Yes, Christianity is still the preference for most, but it is no longer the preference of an overwhelmingly large amount of African-Americans like it once was. As time goes on America is becoming more and more diverse. This growing diversity can be seen through: the acceptance of other races, the acceptance of the LBGT community, and now the acceptance of countless religions.

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