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An unlikely catalyst for religious unity: Donald Trump

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For those gearing up to teach the social psych chapter in Intro, the news is rife with examples. You could talk about the Rattlers and the Eagles at Robber’s Cave State Park in 1954. Or you could talk about Muslims, Jews, and Christians in 2017.

“Almost every day in New York last week there was an interfaith conference or prayer service – involving Christian groups as well as Muslims and Jews – devoted to the current crisis over predominantly Muslim immigrants and refugees” (Demick, 2017). It seems that U.S. president Donald Trump’s immigration policies have created a superordinate goal.

There also appears to be a shift in ingroup boundaries. Historically, there has been tension between “my” religious group and “your” religious group. But now the ingroup seems to defined as “refugees” – both past and present.

“Formed in 1881 to resettle Jews fleeing pogroms in Europe, [the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] has in recent years devoted itself to helping non-Jewish refugees. In the last year, it helped resettle more than 4,000 in the United States, about half of them Muslim. [Rabbi Jennie] Rosenn said that 270 synagogues and thousands of congregants nationwide have volunteered their time to find housing and furniture for refugees, to teach them English and enroll their children in school” (Demick, 2017).

For those who were Holocaust refugees and their families, the rhetoric and the political action strikes too close to home. The message is simple: We were refugees and you are a refugee; we will take care of you.

Amazon has proposed their own ingroup reframing in this commercial where two religious leaders – and friends – discover they have the same problem.

Video Link : 1936

 

References

Demick, B. (2017, February 5). How Trump's policies and rhetoric are forging alliances between U.S. Jews and Muslims. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-jew-muslim-2017-story.html

About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology in community colleges since 1992, and has been at Highline College in the Seattle area since 2001. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award . She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed.