Janelle Wong is an Associate Professor of American Studies and the Director of Asian American Studies at University of Maryland in College Park, MD. Her research focuses on race, immigration, and political mobilization. Dr. Wong is the author of Democracy’s Promise: Immigrants and American Civic Institutions (2006, University of Michigan Press) and co-author of two books on Asian American politics. She is currently working on a book about the impact Asian American and Latino evangelical Christians will have on the traditional conservative Christian movement and immigrant political participation. Recently, PRRI had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Wong in depth about some of the 2014 American Values Survey’s findings on Asian Americans.
In my latest column for Figuring Faith, my blog at the Washington Post, I explore the obstacles currently facing an organized progressive religious movement.
The recent release of the PRRI/Brookings Economic Values Survey has triggered a lively discussion about a potential shift of power between religious conservatives and progressives in the American religious landscape. Most of the debate has centered around the future significance of current patterns—most prominently, the nearly linear correlation between religious conservatism and age, with religious progressives (and the nonreligious) holding an advantage over religious conservatives among the Millennial generation.
But there has been little attention paid to another set of factors crucial for evaluating the future impact of any progressive religious movement. Compared to their conservative counterparts, religious progressives face considerably higher obstacles to successful organizing. The PRRI/Brookings survey reveals six significant challenges facing any leader who may attempt to transform the one-in-five (19%) Americans who are religious progressives from a scattered constituency into an organized movement.
To read more about these six challenges, which include issues of identity, diversity, dispersion, diffusion, institutional connection and separation of church and state concerns, check out my full column at The Washington Post.