Skip to main content Accessibility help

Immigrant-Conscious Congregations: Race, Ethnicity, and the Rejection of Anti-Immigrant Frames

  • R. Khari Brown (a1), Angela Kaiser (a2), Lara Rusch (a3) and Ronald E. Brown (a1)


Using data collected between 2004 and 2008 from the National Politics Studies, this study explores the impact of race on the likelihood of attending worship settings that provide supportive services for and preach sermons about immigrants. It also considers the degree to which attending such worship settings associate with the perceptions that Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics hold of immigrants. We find that while Hispanics are more likely than Whites and Blacks to attend such “immigrant-conscious” congregations, attending such congregations more strongly correlates with Whites rejecting anti-immigrant frames and accepting positive frames than is the case for Blacks and Hispanics.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: R. Khari Brown, Department of Sociology, Wayne State University, 5510 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202. E-mail:; or to: Angela Kaiser, Department of Social Work, Oakland University, 2200 N. Squirrel Road, Rochester, MI 48309. E-mail:; or to: Lara Rusch, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Department of Political Science, 4901 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128. E-mail:; or to: Ronald E. Brown, Department of, Political Science, Wayne State University, 656 West Kirby, E-mail:


Hide All
British Broadcast Corporation. 2016. “‘Drug Dealers, Criminals, Rapists’: What Trump Thinks of Mexicans.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Brown, R. Khari, and Brown, Ronald E.. 2017. “Race, Religion & Immigration Policy Attitudes.” Race and Social Problems 9:418.
Brown, Ronald E., Brown, R. Khari, Phoenix, Davin, and Jackson, James S.. 2016. “Race, Religion & Anti-Poverty Policy Attitudes.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 55:308323
Brown, R. Khari, and Brown, Ronald E.. 2015. “Race/Ethnicity, Religion and Partisan Leanings.” Review of Religious Research 57:469505.
Brown, R. Khari, Kaiser, Angela, and Jackson, James S.. 2014. “Worship Discourse and White Race-Based Policy Attitudes.” Review of Religious Research 56:291312.
Brown, Ronald E., Brown, R. Khari, and Blase, Aaron. 2013. “Religion and Military Policy Attitudes in America.” Review of Religious Research 55:573595.
Brown, R. Khari. 2010. “Religion, Economic Concerns, and African American Immigration Attitudes.” Review for Religious Research 52:146158.
Brown, R. Khari, Kaiser, Angela, and Daniels, Anthony. 2010. “Religion and the Interracial/Ethnic Common Good.” Journal of Religion & Society 12:112.
Campbell, David E., and Monson, J. Quin. 2003. “Following the Leader? Mormon Voting on Ballot Propositions.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 42:605619.
Chavez, Leo R. 2013. “The Immigrant Marches of 2006 and the Struggle for Inclusion.” In The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Chomsky, Aviva. 2014. Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Cloud, Dana L. 2004. “‘To Veil the Threat of Terror’: Afghan Women and the Clash of Civilizations in the Imagery of the U.S. War on Terrorism.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 90:285306.
Coleman, James S. 1988. “Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital.” American Journal of Sociology 94:95120.
Democracy Now. 2006. “Over 1.5 Million March for Immigrant Rights in One of Largest Days of Protest in U.S. History.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Now, Democracy. 2015. “Undocumented Father Finds Sanctuary in Denver Church to Fight Deportation to Mexico.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Djupe, P. A., and Gilbert, C. P.. 2008. The Political Influence of Churches. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dudley, Carl S., and Roozen, David A.. 2001. “FAITH Communities TODAY: A Report on Religion in the United States Today.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Durkheim, Emile, and Swain, Joseph Ward. 2008. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.
Entman, Robert M. 2007. “Framing Bias: Media in the Distribution of Power.” Journal of Communication 57:163173.
Gallup Poll. 2016. “Religion.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Gay, Claudine. 2006. “Seeing Difference: The Effect of Economic Disparity on Black Attitudes toward Latinos.” American Journal of Political Science 50:982997.
Geertz, Clifford. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Gonzalez-Barrera, Ana, and Krogstad, Jens Manuel. 2014. “US Deportations of Immigrants Reach Record High in 2013.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Gitlin, Todd. 1980. The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making & Unmaking of the New Left. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Gramsci, A., and Buttigieg, J. A.. 1992. Prison Notebooks. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Gross, Kimberly, and D'Ambrosio, Lisa. 2004. “Framing Emotional Response.” Political Psychology 25:129.
Hadden, J. K. 1969. The Gathering Storm in the Churches. New York, NY: Doubleday Publishing.
Huntington, Samuel P. 2004. Who are We?: The Challenges to America's National Identity. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Huntington, Samuel P. 2011. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Jackson, J. S., Hutchings, V. L., Brown, R., and Wong, C.. 2009. “National Politics Study, 2004 [Computer file]. ICPSR24483-v1.” Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor]; doi:10.3886/ICPSR24483.v1.
Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1997. American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Lopez, I. H. 2015. Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Nepstad, S. E. 2004. Convictions of the Soul: Religion, Culture, and Agency in the Central America Solidarity Movement. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Oliver, Ranko Shiraki. 2007. “In the Twelve Years of NAFTA, the Treaty Gave to Me… What, Exactly: An Assessment of Economic, Social, and Political Developments in Mexico since 1994 and Their Impact on Mexican Immigration into the United States.” Harvard Latino Law Review 10:53133.
Nteta, T. M., and Wallsten, K. J.. 2012. “Preaching to the Choir? Religious Leaders and American Opinion on Immigration Reform.” Social Science Quarterly 93:891910.
Pew Research Center. 2003. “Different Faiths, Different Messages: Americans Hearing About Iraq from the Pulpit, but Religious Faith not Defining Opinions.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Pew Research Center. 2010. “Few Say Religion Shapes Immigration, Environment Views.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Pew Research Center. 2015. “Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065: Views of Immigration's Impact on U.S. Society Mixed.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Politico Staff. 2016. “Donald Trump's Speech on Fighting Terrorism.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Public Religion Research Institute. 2008. “Faith and American Politics/Pre-election American Values Survey.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Putnam, Robert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Ryan, Camille. 2013. “Language Use in the United States: 2011.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Sherwood, Harriet. 2016. “Hundreds of Churches Offer Sanctuary to Undocumented Migrants after Election.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Slessarev-Jamir, H. 2011. Prophetic Activism: Progressive Religious Justice Movements in Contemporary America. New York, NY: New York University Press.
Smith, Christian. 2010. Resisting Reagan: The US Central America Peace Movement. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Suchan, Trudy A. 2007. Census Atlas of the United States. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau.
Wald, K. D., Owen, D. E., and Hill, S. S.. 1988. “Churches as Political Communities.” American Political Science Review 82:531548.
Warikoo, Niraj. 2016. “Michigan Groups Vow to Fight Crackdown on Immigrants, Minorities.” (Accessed on July 22, 2017).
Zamora, Sylvia, and Osuji, Chinyere. 2014. “Mobilizing African Americans For Immigrant Rights: Framing Strategies in Two Multi-Racial Coalitions. Latino Studies 12:424448.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed