Christianity and the 2016 Election. A Pre-election interview

about-photoMy good friend, Dr. Tony Wang, a fellow historian and progressive Christian Asian American, hosts a really good podcast/radio show called “I’ll Look Into It.” I was privileged to have been interviewed by him TWICE! Last November, before the elections, the two of us (Tony is an economic historian, I am a historian of religion) chatted up our thoughts about Christian (particularly evangelical) engagement in and discourse about the 2016 election. Have a listen and let me know if you think we were on target or way off the mark! Here is the link to the interview: Christianity and the 2016 Election – my interview with Dr. Tony Wang


Also highly recommended

ASIAN AMERICA: THE KEN FONG PODCAST, a weekly show that explores the cultural, artistic, historical and spiritual aspects of the Asian American community. View at this link.

The Changing Face of Evangelicalism (ASCH 2017 Roundtable)

One of the privileges of being in academia that I miss is the opportunity to share my research and, hopefully, encourage a better future for society and the Christian movement. As a contributor to The Future of Evangelicalism in America (edited by Candy Brown and Mark Silk), I was invited to share a short summary and reflection at a roundtable devoted to the book on January 7, 2017 at the American Society of Church History 2017 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. Mark Silk wrote a press release about the roundtable. Here is an overview of the roundtable program:

asch-panel-2017

My remarks about my chapter “The Changing Face of Evangelicalism” (updated Jan. 11, 2016) follow:

When I first joined this research effort, oh so many years ago, writing a chapter on the recent racial-ethnic transformation and influence on evangelicalism seemed an impossible task. But in recent years, more studies about Evangelical People of Color (I’ll call them EPOCs – hopefully never to be confused with Ewoks of Star Wars fame) have been published. So my chapter, hopefully, contributes to this growing awareness of evangelical diversity.

Of course, media attention is still drawn to white Evangelicals – especially during the recent Presidential campaign where 81% of white evangelicals were said to have voted for Donald Trump. Media attention to EPOCs remains spotty. In a Faith and Freedom Coalition post-election survey of 800 people, however, 59% of non-white evangelicals voted for Clinton and 35% for Trump.[1] A LifeWay survey conducted shortly before the elections indicated that only 15% of nonwhite evangelicals said they would vote for Donald Trump; 62% would vote for Hillary Clinton.[2]

pre-election-evangelical-survey

More recent media attention had been given to Latino evangelicals, particularly on the issue of immigration reform. The Evangelical Immigration Table and G92, for example, are recent collaborative efforts to garner evangelical voice around immigration reform and paths to citizenship. When it comes to immigration reform and the election campaign of Mr. Trump, EPOC appear to vary from white evangelicals. On issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, EPOCs are generally aligned with white evangelicals and swimming against the views of most people of color in general, but there are signs of a generational divide among EPOCs, too. For example, Deborah Jian Lee’s book Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women & Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism claims that “believers of color have changed church demographics and church politics. Women are rising in the ranks. LGBT Christians are coming out and issues like global AIDS and the environment have become priorities in many Evangelical congregations. Young people are returning to evangelicalism.”

Well, maybe not – in light of recent decisions by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to request staff who support same-sex marriage to voluntarily resign. In any event, I think my thesis remains salient – namely, that “American evangelicalism, when viewed as a religious ethos rather than as an organized movement, has always been [multiracial] multicultural and multiethnic, and…will become increasingly so in the future.” (174) However, EPOCs and their concerns will continue to be marginal to mainstream white evangelicals unless adjustments in theology and practices that account for racial and cultural differences are made at both high and the grass-roots levels.[3]

Before I address these proposed adjustments that conclude my chapter in the book, I wanted to highlight the changing demography of evangelicalism based on the recent ARIS and Pew surveys. And then I reviewed the history of race and ethnicity in American Christianity.

Briefly, the surveys show that Latino and Asian American Christian affiliation with the evangelical label has increased in the last twenty years.[4]

increasting-racial-diversity-christians-pewFor Latinos this represents a shift away from Roman Catholicism, though I’m not certain if this movement is increasing. The percentage of Asian American Christian affiliation has declined overall, but that is due to the rise of immigrants from South Asia and Islamic countries. But Asian American Christian identification with mainline Protestantism has diminished as most now identify with recognizably evangelical organizations. African Americans have a more established history and remain less inclined to adopt the evangelical label despite sharing its theological and spiritual ethos.

As I alluded to earlier, the impact of the growth of EPOCs upon mainstream evangelicals will most likely be felt how well mainstream evangelicals embrace EPOC’s concerns about racial justice, economic policy, and immigration reform. I also wonder, however, that as mainstream evangelical organizations like the NAE, World Relief, and many Christian colleges begin to engage the concerns of EPOCs, might they alienate rank and file white evangelicals and repeat the white flight from mainline Protestantism in the 1970s.

Perhaps white evangelicals will not repeat history, but I was pessimistic in my chapter. Indeed, I argued that white evangelicals are even less equipped to handle the challenge of racial-ethnic diversity, in part, because of their history of defining themselves against mainline Protestantism. I have no intention of valorizing mainline Protestantism, but there is ample evidence of cross-racial and multicultural relationships in the history of mainline Protestantism. Hispanics began converting to Protestantism in the wake of the post-Mexican War annexations; Asians, after the Gold Rush; Blacks, as part of post-abolition missions to the freedmen; and Native-Americans through Christianizing missions. Thus, in the 19th century, American Protestantism was already becoming ethnically diverse.

And through the nadir of Jim Crow and scientific racism, racial reform resurfaced among mainline Protestants after the mainline-fundamentalist split. Now influenced by the Social Gospel and Niebuhrian realism, mainline churches turned traditional missions into social work and leaned on the social sciences, which led to an explicit engagement with race and the civil rights movement.

But fundamentalists and neo-evangelicals aligned with segregationist social mores and rejected the social sciences as worldly. Instead they focused on soul-winning which led them to ignore racial realities. Where fundamentalists did experience multiculturalism it was primarily through church planting and overseas missions. Ironically, this racial separation gave Hispanics and Asians the freedom to do missions more effectively leading to their rapid growth.

Given this development, one might say that the history of EPOCs is one of realignment from mainline Protestantism to evangelicalism since in the twentieth century. Certainly there were people of color who were engaged with the mainline Protestant ethos. I’d like to refer you to two recent studies tell the stories of how liberal and progressive Asian American Protestants advocated civil rights during the early and middle 20th century. Stephanie Hinnershitz’s Race, Religion, and Civil Rights: Asian Students on the West Coast, 1900-1968 and Anne M. Blankenship, Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II. Despite this, the new wave of immigration from Latin America and Asia was disconnected from mainline Protestants and, instead, fueled the EPOC dominance we witness today. As history Juan Martinez quips, “Mainline churches opted for Latino civil rights; but Latinos opted for Pentecostalism.” (p 185)

So it would appear that the color-blind, but Anglo-normative, individualistic, but American nationalist gospel of white evangelicals succeeded in winning over racial-minorities despite their ignorance and antipathy towards people of color. But will mainstream evangelicalism be able to truly listen to EPOC voices in the future?

Thus my conclusions about adjustments that white evangelicals would have to make in order to fully embrace the changing face of evangelicalism:

  1. Biblical Theology in Context
  2. Recognizing Structural Racism
  3. Grappling with White Privilege and Racial Equity for Intentionally Multicultural Organizations

Mainline Protestant success among EPOCs came as they made these adjustments. But just as they started to experience multicultural success within their denominational structures, they started to experience massive decline at the grass roots – white flight to evangelicalism. Would that be repeated among white evangelicals?

On the other hand, perhaps evangelicalism won’t repeat mainline Protestant history. Jim Wallis of Sojourners believed that the 2012 re-election of Barack Obame might have signaled “a new evangelical agenda for a new evangelical demographic.” If this is the case, then “the promise of American evangelicalism will be fulfilled only when white evangelicals are no longer hesitant to seek a multicultural and multiracial future characterized by racial equity. Although much work remains, there are promising signs that American evangelicals are willing to allocate resources to face, embrace, and shape a racially diverse future. Indeed…that future has arrived. So, too, have new opportunities to build a global and multiracial evangelical future.” (196)

Notes

[1] Todd Beamon, “Faith & Freedom Coalition Poll: 81 Percent of White Evangelicals for Trump” NewsMax (Nov 9, 2016) http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/poll-white-evangelicals-voted/2016/11/09/id/758096/

[2] “2016 Elections Exposes Evangelical Divides” http://lifewayresearch.com/2016/10/14/2016-election-exposes-evangelical-divide/

[3] This is confirmed by the results of the 2016 presidential elections, which may be leading to an even greater gap between white evangelicals and EPOCs. Carol Kuruvilla, “After Trump’s Win, White Evangelical Christians Face A Reckoning: There’s a growing divide in evangelical Christianity and it has a lot to do with race.” Huffington Post (Nov 9, 2016) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/evangelicals-election_us_5820d931e4b0e80b02cbc86e

[4] See also Pew Research Center, “America’s Changing Religious Landscape” (May 12, 2015) http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/

New Books on Race and Racism in East Asia: China, Japan, and Korea

If you want to chew on the topics of Race and Racism in East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea), have a look at these books. A bit pricey, but worth a look. This is cross-posted from an email by Rotem Kowner on H-Asia, an email list of https://networks.h-net.org/

– Tim

  • Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel (editors) Race and Racism in Modern East Asia (vol. II): Interactions, Nationalism, Gender and Lineage (Brill, May 2015)
  • Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel (editors) Race and Racism in Modern East Asia (vol. I): Western and Eastern Constructions (Brill, paperback edition, September 2014)
  • Rotem Kowner From White to Yellow (vol. I): The Japanese in European Racial Thought, 1300-1735 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, December 2014)

Race and Racism in Modern East Asia vol 2 - 59103

Race and Racism in Modern East Asia (vol. II): Interactions, Nationalism, Gender and Lineage (Brill, 2015; 674 pp). ISBN-10: 9004292926; ISBN-13: 978-9004292925

Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel (editors)

In this sequel to the volume, Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions, we examine in depth interactions between Western racial constructions of East Asians and local constructions of race and their outcomes in modern times. Focusing on China, Japan and the two Koreas, we also analyze the close ties between race, racism and nationalism, as well as the links race has had with gender and lineage in the region. Written by some of the field’s leading authorities, our 23-chapter volume offers a sweeping overview and analysis of racial constructions and racism in modern and contemporary East Asia that is seemingly unsurpassed in previous scholarship.

For further details: http://www.brill.com/products/book/race-and-racism-modern-east-asia-0

Table of contents

Preface

1 Introduction: The Synthesis of Foreign and Indigenous Constructions of Race in Modern East Asia and Its Actual Operation
Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel

PART I: ANTECEDENTS
2 East Asians in the Linnaean Taxonomy: Sources and Implications of a Racial Image
Rotem Kowner and Christina Skott
3 Constructing Racial Theories on East Asians as a Transnational “Western” Enterprise, 1750–1850
Walter Demel
4 The ‘Races’ of East Asia in Nineteenth-Century European Encyclopaedias
Georg Lehner
5 The Racial Image of the Japanese in the Western Press Published in Japan, 1861–1881
Olavi K. Fält

PART II: INTERACTIONS
6 The Propagation of Racial Thought in Nineteenth-Century China
Daniel Barth
7 Learning from the South: Japan’s Racial Construction of Southern Chinese, 1895–1941
Huei-Ying Kuo
8 “The Great Question of the World Today”: Britain, the Dominions, East Asian Immigration and the Threat of Race War, 1905–1911
Antony Best
9 “Uplifting the Weak and Degenerated Races of East Asia”: American and Indigenous Views of Sport and Body in Early Twentieth-Century East Asia
Stefan Hübner
10 Racism under Negotiation: The Japanese Race in the Nazi-German Perspective
Gerhard Krebs
11 Discourses of Race and Racism in Modern Korea, 1890s–1945
Vladimir Tikhonov
12 The United States Arrives: Racialization and Racism in Post-1945 South Korea
Nadia Y. Kim
13 A Post-Communist Coexistence in Northeast Asia? Mutual Racial Attitudes among Russians and Indigenous Peoples of Siberia
David C. Lewis

PART III: NATIONALISM
14 Nationalism and Internationalism: Sino-American Racial Perceptions of the Korean War
Lü Xun
15 Gangtai Patriotic Songs and Racialized Chinese Nationalism
Yinghong Cheng
16 Japanese as Both a “Race” and a “Non-Race”: The Politics of Jinshu and Minzoku and the Depoliticization of Japaneseness
Yuko Kawai
17 Ethnic Nationalism in Postwar Japan: Nihonjinron and Its Racial Facets
Rotem Kowner and Harumi Befu
18 Ethnic Nationalism and Internationalism in the North Korean Worldview
Tatiana Gabroussenko

PART IV: GENDER AND LINEAGE
19 In the Name of the Master: Race, Nationalism and Masculinity in Chinese Martial Arts Cinema
Kai-man Chang
20 Sexualized Racism, Gender and Nationalism: The Case of Japan’s Sexual Enslavement of Korean “Comfort Women”
Bang-soon L. Yoon
21 “The Guilt Feeling That You Exist”: War, Racism and Indisch-Japanese Identity Formation
Aya Ezawa
22 ‘The “Amerasian” Knot: Transpacific Crossings of “GI Babies” from Korea to the United States
W. Taejin Hwang

PART V: CONCLUSIONS
23 The Essence and Mechanisms of Race and Racism in Modern East Asia
Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel

Amazon site:
http://www.amazon.com/Race-Racism-Modern-East-Asia/dp/9004292926/


Race and Racism in Modern East Asia vol 1 - 70589Now in paperback edition!
Race and Racism in Modern East Asia (vol. I): Western and Eastern Constructions (Brill, 2014; 618 pp.) ISBN-10: 9004285504; ISBN-13: 978-9004285507
Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel (editors)

In Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions we juxtapose Western racial constructions of East Asians with constructions of race and their outcomes in modern East Asia. It is the first endeavor to explicitly and coherently link constructions of race and racism in both regions. These constructions have not only played a decisive role in shaping the relations between the West and East Asia since the mid nineteenth century, but also exert substantial influence on current relations and mutual images in both the East-West nexus and East Asia. Written by some of the field’s leading authorities, this 21-chapter volume offers an analysis of these constructions, their evolution and their interrelations.

For further details: http://www.brill.com/products/book/race-and-racism-modern-east-asia

“Within the historical research on the topic of racism, East Asia has barely played any role. This volume, the outcome of a multi-year project closes this research lacuna. … Overall, the volume is superbly edited and easy to read and will undoubtedly remain, until further notice, the standard work on the subject of race in East Asia. For those interested in the historical development of the concept of race and wish to go beyond the European framework, this volume is highly recommended.”
Sven Saaler, Historische Zeitschrift (2014)

“A gigantic volume, its real strong point is its variety, with papers probing such interesting and understudied topics … The scholarly summaries are very accomplished and provide a wealth of material for understanding that race is neither a fixed nor an atemporal construct, nor is it one that can be simply transferred from Western contexts into Eastern ones. … The essays represent starting points for a variety of new work as such they are very valuable contributions to the burgeoning field. Highly recommended.”
Michael Keevak, Asian Ethnicity (2014)

“This collection of scholarly works explores racial constructions of East Asians from both external and internal perspectives. … Not only does this book help readers understand how racial constructions of the West and East Asia interacted in shaping their relationships in the past, but also, more importantly, how these constructions still influence their current relationships in the 21st century. Summing up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.”
A.Y. Lee, Choice (2013)

Table of contents

Preface

1 Introduction: Modern East Asia and the Rise of Racial Thought: Possible Links, Unique Features, and Unsettled Issues
Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel

PART I: WESTERN RACE THEORIES, RACIAL IMAGES AND RACISM
2 Early Modern European Divisions of Mankind and East Asians, 1500-1750
Walter Demel and Rotem Kowner
3 How the “Mongoloid Race” Came into Being: Late Eighteenth-Century Constructions of East Asians in Europe
Walter Demel
4 Between Contempt and Fear: Western Racial Constructions of East Asians since 1800
Rotem Kowner
5 “A Very Great Gulf”: Late Victorian British Diplomacy and Race in East Asia
T.G. Otte
6 Pan-Mongolians at Twilight: East Asia and Race in Russian Modernism, 1890-1921
Susanna Soojung Lim
7 National Identity and Race in Post-Revolutionary Russia: Pil’niak’s Travelogues from Japan and China
Alexander Bukh
8 Class, Race, Floating Signifier: American Media Imagine the Chinese, 1870-1900
Lenore Metrick-Chen
9 Racism for Beginners: Constructions of Chinese in Twentieth Century Belgian Comics
Idesbald Goddeeris
10 Race, Imperialism, and Reconstructing Selves: Late Nineteenth Century Korea in European Travel Literature
Huajeong Seok
11 Race, Culture and the Reaction to the Japanese Victory of 1905 in the English-Speaking World
Philip Towle

PART II: EAST ASIAN RACE THEORIES, RACIAL POLICIES AND RACISM
12 A Certain Whiteness of Being: Chinese Perceptions of Self by the Beginning of European Contact
Don J. Wyatt
13 Racial Discourse and Utopian Visions in Nineteenth Century China
Sufen Sophia Lai
14 The Discourse of Race in Twentieth-Century China
Frank Dikötter
15 Racist South Korea? Diverse but not Tolerant of Diversity
Gi-Wook Shin
16 Skin Color Melancholy in Modern Japan: Male Elites’ Racial Experiences Abroad, 1880s-1950s
Ayu Majima
17 Anatomically Speaking: The Kubo Incident and the Paradox of Race in Colonial Korea
Hoi-eun Kim
18 Who Classified Whom, and for What Purpose? The “Japanese” in Northeast China in the Age of Empire
Mariko Asano Tamanoi
19 Race and International Law in Japan’s New Order in East Asia, 1938-1945
Urs Matthias Zachmann
20 East Asia’s “Melting-Pot”: Reevaluating Race Relations in Japan’s Colonial Empire
Yukiko Koshiro
21 Categorical Confusion: President Obama as a Case Study of Racialized Practices in Contemporary Japan
Christine R. Yano

Amazon site:
http://www.amazon.com/Race-Racism-Modern-East-Asia/dp/9004285504/


From White to Yellow - 9780773544550From White to Yellow (vol. I): The Japanese in European Racial Thought, 1300-1735 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014, 706 pp.) ISBN-10: 0773544550; ISBN-13: 978-0773544550

Rotem Kowner (author)

When Europeans first landed in Japan they encountered people they perceived as white-skinned and highly civilized, but these impressions did not endure. Gradually the Europeans’ positive impressions faded away and Japanese were seen as yellow-skinned and relatively inferior. Accounting for this dramatic transformation, I examine of the evolution of European interpretations of the Japanese and the emergence of discourses about race in early modern Europe. Transcending the conventional focus on Africans and Jews within the rise of modern racism, I seek to demonstrate that the invention of race did not emerge in a vacuum in eighteenth-century Europe, but rather was a direct product of earlier discourses of the “Other.” All in all, I contend that the racial discourse on the Japanese, alongside the Chinese, played a major role in the rise of the modern concept of race. While challenging Europe’s self-possession and sense of centrality, the discourse delayed the eventual consolidation of a hierarchical worldview in which Europeans stood immutably at the apex. Drawing from a vast array of primary sources, I also attempted to trace the racial roots of the modern clash between Japan and the West.

For further details: http://www.mqup.ca/from-white-to-yellow-products-9780773544550.php

“This magisterial work fills an important gap in contemporary scholarship about racial history and European perceptions of the Japanese during the age of maritime explorations, beginning with the voyages of Marco Polo. The author approaches a delicate and complex topic with a breadth of knowledge and erudition based on the careful analysis of primary documents from a wide variety of both printed and manuscript sources in numerous languages.”
M. Antoni J. Ucerler, S.J. Director, Ricci Institute, University of San Francisco

“Rotem Kowner has written an extraordinary book which will be must-reading for anyone interested in Western perceptions of the Japanese from the beginning (Marco Polo’s account) to the 18th century, and to anyone interested in the history of the very concept of ‘race.’”
Gary Leupp, Department of History, Tufts University

“Erudite, comprehensive, and clearly-written, From White to Yellow offers the reader a panorama of the Euro-Japanese encounter in the pre-modern period that is unsurpassed in previous scholarship.”
Ronnie Hsia, Department of History, Pennsylvania State University

Table of contents

Preface
Introduction

PHASE I – SPECULATION: Pre-Encounter Knowledge of the Japanese (1300-1543)
1 The Emergence of “Cipangu” and Its Precursory Ethnography
2 The “Cipanguese” at the Opening of the Age of Discovery

PHASE II – OBSERVATION: A Burgeoning Discourse of Initial Encounters (1543-1640)
3 Initial Observations of the Japanese
4 The Japanese Position in Contemporary Hierarchies
5 Concrete Mirrors of a New Human Order
6 “Race” and Its Cognitive Limits during the Phase of Observation

PHASE III – RECONSIDERATION: Antecedents of a Mature Discourse (1640-1735)
7 Dutch Reappraisal of the Japanese Body and Origins
8 Power, Status, and the Japanese Position in the Global Order
9 In Search of a New Taxonomy: Botany, Medicine, and the Japanese
10 “Race” and Its Perceptual Limits during the Phase of Reconsideration

Conclusion: The Discourse of Race in Early Modern Europe and the Japanese Case

Amazon sites:

http://www.amazon.ca/White-Yellow-Japanese-European-1300-1735/dp/0773544550/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1418745991

or

http://www.amazon.com/White-Yellow-Japanese-European-1300-1735/dp/0773544550/ref=la_B001HPYIKK_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418745737&sr=1-1

Southern Baptist leader: tone it down!!

Southern Baptist leader urges less confrontational approach and less investment in GOP politics; cites danger of losing young adults.

Asian American Legacy: Hideo Hashimoto

One of the things I wanted to do when I was in academia was to bring about greater awareness of Asian American religious history. More specifically, I wanted to enrich the story of Christianity in the United States by shedding light on the legacy of Asian American Christian witness. But these plans were sidetracked when I left my position as a seminary professor in 2006 and helped to start the Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity (ISAAC). As full-time Pastor of English Ministries at Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church over the past four years, I’ve also had little opportunity to pursue this dream. But I feel that the time is right to resume this quest.

So, I am starting an Asian American Christian Legacy collaborative blog series. I want to devote each blog to an Asian American Christian leader and a representative primary document. That person may or may not be well-known. But I believe that making that person’s story and his or her own words accessible to the public will add to our knowledge and appreciation of the Asian American Christianity. Because this is a collaborative effort, I invite anyone who has more information about a particular figure to share citations, links, photos, or videos. Please also recommend people to include in this series!

* * *

Hideo Hashimoti c. 1955 from Lewis & Clark Digital Collections

Let’s start with Rev. Dr. Hideo Hashimoto (1911-2003).

I first became aware of Dr. Hashimoto while reading his sermon, “The Babylonian Exile and the Love of God.” The sermon was part of a collection of messages delivered by Japanese American pastors on the Sunday before all West Coast Japanese Americans were relocated from their homes and, eventually, into internment camps. Each pastor and congregant knew that their lives would be disrupted and forever altered. The pastors all encouraged their flocks to stand firm and face the future with faith and courage. Hashimoto, ordained in the Methodist Church in 1939 and a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York, spoke poignantly about the significance of suffering and recognition of sin. He linked the Japanese American experience to Israel’s exilic period. I have posted the sermon in its entirety below.

At the moment, I know very little about Dr. Hashimoto and almost nothing about his parents – except that his mother was killed by the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.[1] Nor do I know whether he grew up in a Christian family or came to profess his faith later in life. I do know that Hideo Hashimoto was born in the United States on Feb. 13, 1911 (I’m not sure of the location). His parents sent him to Japan for primary school education, but he returned to the U.S. for high school. He could marginally be considered a kibei (i.e., a person born in the United States of Japanese immigrant parents and educated chiefly in Japan). In 1934, Hashimoto received a B.S. degree from the University of California and became very interested in Japan-U.S. relations and, apparently, ministry. In 1940 he earned a Bachelor of Divinity in Christian ethics from Union Theological Seminary, New York. He studied under Reinhold Niebuhr, who he considered his most important professor at Union (Hashimoto would “fondly remember Niebuhr’s wartime efforts to persuade the [Roosevelt] administration not to intern the Japanese.”)

But he disagreed sharply with Niebuhr regarding public and international affairs. Niebuhr urged the United States to enter the war against the Axis Powers, but Hashimoto favored neutrality. Hashimoto noted that “that has been the story of my theology and ethics pretty much since my seminary days, especially on the issue of war and politics.” [2]

In the 1940s, Hashimoto was pastor at several Japanese American Methodist congregations and at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas, where he met his wife, Rayko. He then earned a Th.D. from the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Ca. in 1949. That summer, just as he was about to assume a pastoral position at a Japanese American Methodist Church in Spokane, Washington, he was invited to join the faculty of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon where he served until retirement [3]

Incidentally, there was a Japanese American Captain – a Korean War hero – who was also named Hideo Hashimoto. See
http://www.history.army.mil/books/korea/20-2-1/sn24.htm

But our Hideo Hashimoto taught in the Department of Religious Studies from 1949 until 1976. Throughout his teaching career he invested an enormous amount of energy into peace and social justice efforts. He was active in the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Oregon Inter-religious Committee for Peace in the Middle East, the American Friends Service Committee, the Portland Urban League, and the Oregon-Idaho Conference Board of Church and Society.

In fall 1969, Hashimoto was appointed by the American Friends Service Committee to be special Quaker representative for United States-Japan relations. He devoted his sabbatical to facilitating the return of Okinawa to Japan. [4]

After his retirement, he worked tirelessly against the proliferation of nuclear arms, earning him Multnomah County’s first Peace Award in 1991.[5]

After his death on June 22, 2003, John Anderson, professor emeritus of religious studies at Lewis & Clark noted that “Hideo was a great peace lover and activist…He was an energetic social activist up to his death.” [6]

His papers (Hideo Hashimoto papers) are located at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, so perhaps someone has or can take a look. More details about his faith-inspired public witness would be truly invaluable!

NOTES:

[1] Board of County Commissioners for Multnomah County, Oregon. “Proclamation 91-111: In the Matter of Honoring Dr. Hideo Hashimoto for his Contribution to the National and Local Peace Movement on the Occasion of the 46th anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima.” (August 6, 1991)

[2] cited in Ronald H. Stone, Professor Reinhold Niebuhr: A Mentor to the Twentieth Century (Westminster/John Knox, 1992), p 144.

[3] “Japanese Pastor Wins High Post,” Spokane Daily Chronicle (Aug 1, 1949), p 1; “Rev. Maraji Goto takes post here,” Spokane Daily Chronicle (Aug 13, 1949), p 5

[4] “United States – Japan Relationship Reaches a Turning Point,” Friends Journal: Quaker Life and Thought Today, Dec 1, 1969 (vol 15, no 22), p 694
accessed at http://www.friendsjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/emember/downloads/1969/HC12-50466.pdf

[5]  “Hideo Hashimoto, Peace Activist” (Senate – August 02, 1991), Congressional Record, 102nd Congress (1991-1992) accessed at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r102:S02AU1-3643:/

[6] “Hideo Hashimoto, professor emeritus of religious studies, died June 22, 2003, at age 92.” accessed at http://legacy.lclark.edu/dept/chron/profsmournedw04.html

* * *
Here is Rev. Hideo Hashimoto sermon to Fresno Japanese Methodist Church on the Sunday before evacuation. It is excerpted from Allan H. Hunter and Gurney Binford, eds., The Sunday Before (Sermons by Pacific Coast Pastors of the Japanese race on the Sunday before Evacuation to Assembly centers in the late spring of 1942) [unpublished manuscript, Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA http://gtu.edu/library/special-collections/archives]

The Babylonian Exile and the Love of God
(Sunday, May 10, 1942)

The order has been definitely issued that we are to be evacuated, beginning the coming Friday. This is the last Sunday of our life outside the barbed wire fences.

A myriad of mixed feelings overcomes us as we reflect upon the past – how we took freedom for granted; of the future – of the life in the concentration camps; children cramped and stunted; young people, demoralized; old people, bitter. And the present, a nightmare.

How are we going to “take it”? are we going to be bitter and resentful? Are we going to be cynical and indifferent? Or are we going to overcome the paralyzing and embittering experiences of these days and of even more critical days to come, and turn this evil to good?

Whenever we are confronted with the painfulness of the present, the immediacy of which overcomes us like a distorted out-of-focus close-up in a snapshot, it helps us to take a long look back to a period of human history when man had gone through similar experiences, unscathed, triumphant.

Compared with the harrowing experiences of the Jewish people following the defeat of Jerusalem, 597 B.C., ours is but nothing.

The terror of that war, the bitterness of defeat, the resentment against being torn away from home, still somewhat stunned but unconsciously the rebellious feeling of a despondent captive in the midst of repulsive splendor of the conquering civilization – these are all reflected in the sorrowful poetry of the Lamentations and the 137th Psalm:

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
. . . Ps 137

This song ends with the terrible vindictiveness of a wronged patriot. This was quite natural, and to be expected. Yet, this was not the only reaction of the Israelites in their suffering.

A great jump ahead in the history of the Jewish religion, in fact, in the whole history of religious experience of the human race came out of the experience of exile and captivity. The Providence and Love of God which passes all human understanding manifest themselves under strangely wonderful circumstances.

An unknown prophet, known to Old Testament scholars as the Second Isaiah, reveals the depth of the love of God which was not excelled until the coming of Jesus, the incarnation of the Love of God, himself. He began with the great triumphant and hopeful strain, set to the immortal music of Handel’s Messiah:

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people,
says your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem,
and cry unto her,
That her warfare is accomplished,
that her iniquity is pardoned:
That she has received of Yahweh’s hand
double for all her sins.
(Isa. 40:1-2) (Bewer)

The first great emphasis was that God is One. There is no other God. The Lord is the Creator. He uses his instruments, as he will – Babylonians or Cyrus. The creature has no right to question the Creator.

Does one strive with his Maker?
a potsherd with the potter?
Does the clay say to him that fashions it,
“What makest thou?
And thy work has no handles”? …

I have made the earth, and created man upon it;
I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens,
and all their hosts have I commanded,
I have raised him up in righteousness,
and I will make straight all his ways;
He shall build My city, and let My exiles go free,
Not for price nor reward, says Yahweh of hosts.
(Isa. 45:9-11) (Bewer) {n.b.: correct citation is Isa 45:9, 12-13}

Israel is the chosen race of Yahweh. “For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name.” (45:4)

But this relationship is not that of special favoritism. Israel is not to be the conquerors and victors. They are to be redeemers, the Suffering Servant.

Behold, My servant, whom I uphold,
My chosen, in whom My soul delights;
I have put My Spirit upon him,
he shall bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
He will not cry, nor lift up his voice,
nor cause it to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed will he not break,
and the dimly burning wick will he not quench.
He will bring forth justice in truth.
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till he have set justice in the earth:
and the isles shall wait for his instruction.
(Isa. 42:1-4) (Bewer)

This second point concerning the Suffering Servant was a great forward step in the evolution of religion. It was no less the revelation of the depth of the Love of God! Until then, Jewish religion had been teaching that the righteous will prosper and the wrongdoers, suffer. Now, this great Prophet reveals the Love of God which turns the misfortunes of a chosen people into their own good, using both the chosen and the foreign races as instruments in His Divine Plan.

Six hundred years later, Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecy of this great seer, who laid the very foundations of the belief in the redemptive love, central in the Christian faith.

Out of the depth of despair and suffering, the prophet saw the truth of Love that stoops to save the most undeserving sinner. He showed thus that even out of racial disaster and tragedy can come a great good; that out of the depth of despair one can peer into the depth of unfathomable Love of God.

The situation which confronts us as we meet together in this last Sunday service before evacuation is far from the horror and disaster of the people of Jerusalem. There is not the physical suffering nor the bitterness toward those who must carry out the order. We go as residents and citizens of a nation cooperating in the efforts for national defense. We have grave doubts as to the wisdom of this procedure and as to the motives of some of the groups that engineered this evacuation. Yet we have nothing but good will and the sense of loyalty to the people and the nation.

Yet some of the elements of the circumstances and the feeling of Israel are there. We are branded as enemy aliens. We are to be uprooted from HOME as we know and loved it. We must cast away the business and other endeavors for livelihood built after a generation of toil and seat. We are to be carried away captive, exiles – destination unknown. The same longing for home, for creative participation in the nation in crisis, for freedom, above all, is there.

In a sense, our being evacuated is the consequence of our sinfulness. As American citizens of Japanese ancestry, we had a great mission to fulfill. We were destined to be the bridge-builders of the Pacific.

But we failed. In our self-centeredness, like Jonah, we ran away from our great mission. We thought only of fun, thrill, and good time. We sought fame, reputation, to be a “good sport.” We sought money and soft, easy, comfortable lives. We were constantly reminded of our task, until we were sick and tired of hearing about “Bridge-builders of the Pacific.” Yet, instead of going straight toward our responsibility, we went in the opposite direction – money making, self seeking, sin. For sin means going the opposite direction from God-given destiny.

This war, this suffering, and our evacuation, is partially our fault and our making. If we had been vigilant, and stuck to our God-given mission, working with all our heart and soul to prevent war and make for peace, justice and true democracy, the situation may have been different somewhat.

From the standpoint of American democracy, this evacuation is a sham, a dangerous attack upon the fundamental principle upon which our nation in built.

But from the standpoint of a Christian Nisei, it is a well-deserved punishment for our indifference, our falling down on the job, our self-centeredness, our sin.

Yet, it is far more than punishment. God turns even the sins of man to work for his redemption. The people of Israel saw a great light in the prophecy of Second Isaiah in the pitch darkness of despair. We must seek the same light.

A piece of grit gets into an oyster shell. The oyster senses what corresponds to human pain. It builds hard tissue around it to protect itself. Lo, a pearl!

God does not purposefully give suffering to man. Suffering comes from the result of man’s sin.

Yet, God uses even the consequence of sin to the end that man should see aright and turn to Him, and turn back to the God-given mission for his life.

Our evacuation must prove more redemptive than punitive. We have been shocked into the realization that we have fallen down upon the God-given task. We have come to realize that we have been sinful. We have been shocked into realizing that the world is not an easy-going, happy-go-lucky sort of picnic, but a just, righteous, and moral one, where man reaps what he sows.

Moreover, in the congested Centers where we are destined to stay, perhaps for the “duration”, we shall be given an unexcelled opportunity for the practice of what we have been taught to believe. It was difficult in the world, where competition was the order of society to practice neighborliness and brotherhood. In the camps, cooperation will not only be highly desirable, it will be the absolute opportunity to prove that Christianity works and the Christian spirit alone works. If it doesn’t work in the Centers, it will not work anywhere. For that very reason, Christians are on the trial. This is the testing of our faith.

It is not enough that we go half the way; we must go the whole way – to make friends, to be good neighbors (a good neighbor means a great deal when there is but a partial partition between the apartments), to serve, and to sacrifice.

God is ever with us; but especially in our trials and tribulations. Like another Isaiah, we turn from despair and find God, forever ready to stoop down to save us, giving us a new insight into the Heart of Hearts, the citadel of Love. The minute we realize our relation with the Eternal, the Creator, we are free. The army rules, bayonets, and barbed wire fences cannot hold us.

If only there are stars,
I have my friends.
But in the dark
I think upon my fate,
And all
My spirit sickens
And the hard tears fall.

Around my prison
Runs a high stockade;
And from my wrists
Chains dangle;
But no power
Can lock my eyes.

So can I steal
This lovely light
That wraps me –
This radiance
That drips
Out of the Dipper

Dragging my chains
I climb
To the tall window-ledge;
And though
My body cannot crawl
Between those grim iron rods,
Still can I
Laugh as my spirit flies
Into the purple skies!

Northward and northward,
Up and up,
Up to the world of light
I go bounding;
Farewell, O Earth, farewell,
What need I now of your freedom?

Fearless, I fly and fly,
On through the heavenly sky;
Breaking all prison bars,
My soul sleeps with the stars!

(From SONGS FROM THE SLUMS – by Toyohiko Kagawa)

We are free – free to grow in faith, free to serve our fellow men, free to search the unfathomable depth of the Love of God, free to seek and fulfill our mission.

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