U.S. Christianity growing, changing through immigration

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Non-Western Christian influences are helping to reshape the U.S.’ religious landscape amid an unprecedented increase in the number of immigrants entering the country, a panel of religious experts said Wednesday.

“Immigration has already reshaped America’s religious landscape in ways we’re only beginning to understand,” said Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, a visiting scholar at the Library of Congress’ John W. Kluge Center. “The future of Christianity will be increasingly shaped by non-Western cultures. It’s already underway.”

Mr. Granberg-Michaelson was the keynote speaker for a Kluge Center symposium on how the influx of Christian immigrants from Latin America, East Asian and Africa are swinging the pendulum of religious representation in the U.S.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 43 million residents were foreign born, and of those, about 74 percent were Christian, Mr. Granberg-Michaelson said. The next highest representation was Muslims, at 5 percent.

“If 75 percent of the approximately 42 million immigrants that have entered this country are Christian, that means America has gained some 30 million new Christians in that period simply from immigration,” said Jehu Hanciles, a scholar of Christianity and globalization.

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