Zócalo Public Square recently featured this great interview with Los Angeles photographer, writer and filmmaker Rick Nahmias, author of Golden States of Grace: Prayers of the Disinherited. The book documents marginalized communities in California practicing their faith, among them Buddhists in San Quentin, a Mormon congregation for the deaf, and Latina sex workers who pray to Santa Muerte, the skeletal sacred figure whose cult originated in Mexico.
In the interview, Nahmias talks about how California's history as a landing place for migrants - including 1930s Dust Bowl Okies, who brought over Baptist and Pentecostal traditions - has made it such a rich place for religious diversity.
This diversity doesn't necessarily beget religious harmony, unfortunately, but it's another testament to California's role as the great melting pot of the 21st century.
Illegal immigrant women face risks, study says - CNN Hardships faced by female agricultural workers are documented in a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Virginia Law Reduced Illegal Immigrants, Study Says - New York Times A study has found that an Arizona-style law has reduced the number of undocumented immigrants in Prince William County, but that its effect on violent crime was inconclusive.
Dalia Mogahed: Eid al Adha: Striving for Second Chances - Huffington Post On completing the rites of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The DREAM’s Alive! Obama, Dems Plan Lame-Duck Immigration Vote - ColorLines New York Rep. Nydia Velasquez has announced that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is tentatively planning a DREAM Act vote for Nov. 29.
Undocumented Youth Risk Arrest Asking McCain for Opportunity to Serve — United States Student Association Undocumented military hopefuls are lobbying the D.C. office of Senator John McCain for his support on the DREAM Act.
Photo by Lotus_7/Flickr (Creative Commons)
The dome under construction at the La Luz Del Mundo church in Phoenix, October 2010
This latest story out of the Grand Canyon State involves not undocumented immigrants, but Christians erroneously believed to be Muslims.
KPHO, a Phoenix CBS affiliate, reports that "concerned neighbors" have been phoning leaders of the local La Luz del Mundo (The Light of the World) church over a new church building under construction that has a large dome, and which the concerned townsfolk have mistaken for an Islamic mosque. Church members have been forced to put up a banner on the dome, pointing out that it is a Christian house of worship they are building.
The story is yet another example of raging anti-Muslim fervor, the craze that is sweeping the nation, from Temecula (where residents have protested the building of an actual mosque) to New York City (no need to explain) to Oklahoma, where voters overwhelmingly approved a state initiative banning Islamic law, though there is no known instance of it ever having been cited in Oklahoma courts.
Illustration by Jared Rodriguez, Truthout.org/Flickr (Creative Commons)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Do Latinos lack national leadership? Yes, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report released yesterday. In terms of an identifiable national "leader" for the nation's vast and disparate Latino population, there isn't one.
When asked to name the person they considered "the most important Latino leader in the country today," nearly two-thirds of the 1,375 respondents in a national survey of Latino adults conducted by Pew said they did not know. An additional 10 percent answered "no one."
From the report:
The most frequently named individual was Sonia Sotomayor, appointed last year to the U.S. Supreme Court. Some 7% of respondents said she is the most important Latino leader in the country. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) of Chicago is next at 5%. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa draws 3%, and Jorge Ramos, an anchor on Noticiero Univision, the national evening news program on the Spanish-language television network Univision, drew 2%.