The intersection of race and religion in the United States.



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Race relations in America are at a unique point in history, and much has changed in the American racial landscape in the fifty years since Milton Gordon authored his seminal work, Assimilation in American Life: The Role of Race, Religion, and National Origins. Religion is often viewed as having the potential to foster racial and ethnic unity, but religion historically has served as an impediment to race relations in the nation. This study examines the relationship between race and religion in contemporary America and asks two primary questions. First, do contemporary American religions help foster integration and alleviate racial tension or merely perpetuate it? Second, does religion alleviate the burdens placed upon racial and ethnic minorities in the United States or heighten them? Drawing from multiple datasets at both the individual and organizational levels, the three analyses in this dissertation examine the relationships between religion and race relations in the United States. Specifically, this project examines the following: (1) racial and ethnic integration into predominantly white congregations, (2) the relationship between childhood religiosity and participation in interracial romantic relationships across cohorts, and (3) the effects of religiosity on depression/anxiety, delinquency, and alcohol abuse for young Latino Americans utilizing General Strain Theory. The results and implications for each study are discussed as well as their limitations and directions for future research.