“The U.S. is a country of Christians,” said the 64-year-old refugee, speaking at her apartment a few days before Christmas. “We have to move toward the side of the majority.”
This week, I browsed the Internet to find articles discussing religious pressure from resettlement agencies or documented conversion of Bhutanese refugees in America. It is important to note that the majority of refugee resettlement agencies do not proselytize those that they serve, but I am focusing on those that may be doing so.
In general, I was very surprised by a lot of the material that I found. One article, “As refugees adapt to American life, competing faiths tug for their attention” (O’Brien, Matt) particularly caught my attention because it does a good job of showing how individuals within a family often have different experiences when it comes to religion and to resettlement. In the situation from the article, the grandmother, Binshu Minali, is the one who finds comfort and a sense of community in the Christian church (her quote is above). She feels that Christianity will ensure her family’s survival in the United States. From my informal meetings with the refugees in the Boston suburbs, however, it was often younger people attracted to church, while the elders were clinging on to their Hindu or Buddhist roots. Continue reading