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Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II$
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Anne M. Blankenship

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469629209

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469629209.001.0001

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The End of Japanese Ethnic Churches?

The End of Japanese Ethnic Churches?

(p.170) 5 The End of Japanese Ethnic Churches?
Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II

Anne M. Blankenship

University of North Carolina Press

As Japanese Christians left the camps, white church leaders instructed them to join established churches and prevented them from re-forming their prewar ethnic congregations. This final chapter analyzes attempts to mend the nation’s racial divisions by ending the segregation of white and Japanese Protestant worship. Efforts to drastically restructure the racial divisions within American Protestantism incited extensive debate about the role of racial minorities within the church. Like the decision to form ecumenical churches, leaders thought the long term benefits of fewer divisions in the church outweighed the temporary challenges to the subjects of their experiment. Most Japanese Americans formed ethnic fellowship groups or left the church rather than join predominantly white churches. The results of this experiment revealed the limited extent to which American Christians were interested in, capable of, and willing to reform definitions of race in order to unite the Christian church.

Keywords:   Ethnic churches, racial segregation, racial integration, Asian American theology, American Christianity, race and religion

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