Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Volume 48 Issue 4 2009 [Doi 10.1111%2fj.1468-5906.2009.01483_9.x] Jonathan Fox -- Secularism and State Policies Toward Religion, The United States, France, And Turkey by

BOOK REVIEWS FAITHMAKESUSLIVE: SURVIVINGAND THRIVING IN THE HAITIAN DIASPORA. By Margarita A. Mooney. Berkeley, CA: Uni- versity of California Press, 2009. xi + 206 pp. $55.00 cloth, $21.95 paper. Among its many virtues, this book pro- vides a vividly clear window into the pain and hope of the “refugees no one wants.” It is both a compassionate portrait and a signif- icant contribution to our larger understanding of the way macrostructures of state and cul- ture
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  BOOKREVIEWS FAITHMAKESUSLIVE:SURVIVINGANDTHRIVING IN THE HAITIAN DIASPORA.By Margarita A. Mooney. Berkeley, CA: Uni-versity of California Press, 2009. xi + 206 pp.$55.00 cloth, $21.95 paper.Among its many virtues, this book pro-vides a vividly clear window into the painand hope of the “refugees no one wants.” Itis both a compassionate portrait and a signif-icant contribution to our larger understandingof the way macrostructures of state and cul-ture affect the everyday practice of religiouscommunities and how those communities, inturn, affect the life chances of the immigrantsthey seek to serve. Mooney follows one immi-grant group—Haitians, fleeing the chaos andsuffering of their homeland—within one reli-gious tradition (Catholicism), across three verydifferent nations—the United States (Miami),Canada (Montreal), and France (Paris). It is abrilliantresearchdesign.WhilecomparisonstoVodou and Protestantism would have been in-teresting, sticking with one tradition allowedher to bring needed attention to the dominantreligious tradition in Haiti—Catholicism—andinnowaydiminishedherabilitytotakereligionseriously as an “independent variable.”Following an overview of the theoreticalissues she will address, Mooney presents eachof her cases, drawing out the beliefs, practices,and experiences of the people she interviewed.Having mastered Creole, she was also able, ineachplace,toparticipatedeeplyinthereligiouscommunities themselves, gaining the trust thatallowed her interlocutors to share their stories.What she also tells us in each case is how theeconomic, political, and historical patterns sur-rounding these migrants shape the world theyinhabit. Her comparative design, then, makespossible an incisive examination of the effectsof macrostructures—law, policy, culture—on how  religion works. In each place, we see thesame beliefs in God’s goodness, the same prac-tices of prayer and piety, the same gatheringsforweeklyMassandannualfestivals.Althoughshe was observing in three very different cul-tures,individualpatternsofreligiousbeliefandpractice survive, making moral meaning out of the sufferings of the immigrant experience.Similarly, each place had a church identi-fied as a Haitian gathering space, along witha church hierarchy that attempted to organizeboth religious and social resources on behalf of Haitians, but with varying degrees of suc-cess. The differences she found do not lie inthe motivations of the religious organizationalactors, however, but in the laws that enable orconstrain those religious organizational actorsand in the culture that makes it more or lessacceptable to define oneself in religious and/orethnic terms.Those organizational differences, Mooneyargues, have consequences. She joins otherswho have argued that immigrant incorporationis aided by the presence of mediation, that is,by cultural and institutional spaces that allowtranslation and negotiation between old andnew ways of life. In the end, she concludes thatcultural and institutional mediation increasesthechancesofupwardmobilityamongsecond-generation immigrants, and religious institu-tions are particularly potent providers of thatcultural and institutional mediation. So, to theextent that culture and policy make it possiblefor religious institutions to do that work, weshould expect immigrants to do better.The concept of cultural mediation is notnew, of course, but Mooney uses it to excep-tionally good effect. She shows how the reli-gious stories and rituals of the Catholic Churchresonate with the experiences of these immi-grants. She returns often to the theological no-tionsofincarnation—Jesuswashumanandsuf-fered like us—and inculturation—the messagemust always be in the language of the peo-ple. For her participants, that meant that theyworshipped and prayed in Creole, even as theywere praying  about   the realities of a differentculture. But it also means that the stories of scripture, retold in the liturgies of the church,become their own. The deep visceral experi-ences of prayer and ritual Mooney describesmake believable her assertions about the activehope these immigrants live out in the face of real everyday discouragement.There are also theoretical insights herethat go beyond the immigrants themselves.By addressing concrete cultural processes in  Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (2009) 48(4):825–840 C   2009 The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion  826  JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION different historical and constitutional arrange-ments, Mooney is able to provide considerablenuance to questions of how macrostructuresmake institutional and individual religiouspractice more and less likely. In both Mon-treal and Paris, it is specific legal and cul-tural patterns (now an inexorable process of modernization) that explain the obstacles facedby religious attempts to organize on behalf of immigrants. The specific patterns of laicit`e inFrance and multiculturalism in Canada affecthow and whether ethnicity and religion enterpublic space. Both make it more difficult to or-ganize religiously based and/or ethnically de-fined social services. She observes, as well, theway a culture of secularity in schooling com-bines with the relative minority status of reli-gious believers in Montreal and Paris to reducethe ability of parents to keep their children inchurch. That is countered in Miami, however,by the vigorous youth ministries made possiblebothbyreligiousentrepreneursandbyreligion-friendly U.S. law and custom. That organiza-tional strength, in turn, enables Miami Haitianparents to hope that their children might es-cape the downward spiral. Law and culture,combined with organizational structure and ac-tion,makereligiouscommunitiesmoreandlesspossible and socially resource rich.This book succeeds, then, both becauseof the careful design that allowed for strate-gic comparisons, but also because of the care-ful execution that allowed us to see the wayreligion works. At the individual and collec-tive level, the power of religious narratives andreligious rituals is demonstrated. Religion isnot just a matter of abstract cognitive connec-tions, but of divine persons and events that arebelieved to be true and are true in their con-sequences. Religious participation is not just avariabletobemeasured,butasocialrealitythatstructures individual decision making, a moraluniversethatcantransformoneidentityintoan-other and make powerful action possible. Butat the same time, that individual and collec-tive religious world is enabled and constrainedby the larger organizational, cultural, and legalworlds in which it exists. How far away is thechurch? Does it have a priest who speaks thelanguage?Canitmobilizeotherresources?Canit get government funds? Mooney provides uswith a rich array of refined new questions toguide our examination of religious life. NANCY T. AMMERMAN Boston UniversityBoston, Massachusetts THEM THAT BELIEVE: THE POWER ANDMEANINGOFTHECHRISTIANSERPENT-HANDLING TRADITION. By Ralph W.Hood, Jr. and W. Paul Williamson. Berkeley,CA: University of California Press, 2008. xvi + 301 pp. $60.00 cloth, $24.95 paper.As a long-time student of Pentecostalismand a life-long practitioner of the faith, I havelearned not to become too irritated when anotherwise well-educated new acquaintance as-sumes that I must have taken up serpents inreligious ecstasy—or at least that I focus myresearch on those few Pentecostals who do.At first, I took a vigorous defensive posture—launching into a demographic lesson on theminiscule fraction of Holy Ghost people whobring deadly snakes to church and the stun-ning numerical growth of those more mundanePentecostals who merely speak in unknowntongues and dance in the Spirit. About 20 yearsago, though, I settled for a droll one liner: “Iimagine there are more students of snake han-dlingthantherearepeoplewhoactuallyhandlesnakes.”WhenIfirstemployedthisstrategy,IknewI was exaggerating. But in light of the out-pouring of careful scholarship on Appalachianserpent handling over the past two decades,my dismissive retort is beginning to appearprophetic. Rarely a year passes without thepublication of an insightful new study of thepractice. For the last decade, no students of snake handling have been more prolific thanpsychologists Ralph W. Hood, Jr. and W. PaulWilliamson. Their most recent collaboration, Them That Believe: The Power and Meaning of theChristianSerpent-HandlingTradition ,ablyintroducesreaderstoworkofearlierscholarsof the phenomenon and engagingly summarizestheir own extraordinary historical and field re-search. (This research is available at the  Hood-Williamson Research Archives for the Holiness  BOOK REVIEWS  827 Serpent Handling Sects of Appalachia  housedin the Lupton Library of the University of Ten-nessee at Chattanooga.)Customary academic boundaries do notdeter Hood and Williamson. Almost everychapterof  ThemThatBelieve employsthetoolsof a different discipline. In clear and confi-dent prose they construct causal historical nar-ratives, engage in rhetorical and musicologi-cal analysis of sermons and songs, interpretEEGsperformedonpeoplespeakingintonguesand/or handling snakes, and render sociologi-cally contextualized ethnographic descriptionsof church services. They are equally comfort-able describing the sexual-religious symbol-ism attached to serpents over the millennia andthe minute-by-minute physiological reactionsthat follow their bites. In addition, Hood andWilliamson do not shy away from judging thetheological consistency of both their subjectsand their nonhandling Pentecostal critics (find-ing the former truer to a literal interpretation of Mark 16:17–18); nor do they hold back theircontempt for the legal restraints various stateshave placed on handling poisonous snakes inchurch (praising only West Virginia, the oneAppalachian state that has refused to outlawthe practice).While reading a multidisciplinary  tour de force  like the one Hood and Williamsonhave given us is delightfully mind expand-ing, reviewing such a book can be frighten-ing to someone who rarely ventures beyondthe friendly confines of Church History. Be-yond suggesting the breadth of analysis, depthof research, and accessibility of presentation,I can applaud the authors’ advancement of thehistorical narrative of serpent handling. Onlya few factual errors (such as repeatedly refer-ring to southern Pentecostal pioneer Gaston B.Cashwell by the initials “C. B.”) remind thishistorian that he is reading history constructedby psychologists. With undeniable documenta-tion dug out of   The Church of God Evangel , forexample, Hood and Williamson confirm whatsome historians of Pentecostalism have longsuspected—that snake handling was not onlypopularized by a rogue Church of God evan-gelist named George Hensley, but that duringthe 1910s serpents were taken up by (or at leastin the presence of) many influential leaders of the emerging denomination headquartered inCleveland, Tennessee. In addition, the authors’meticulousresearchhasproduced anannotatedlist of 90 deaths that resulted from religioussnake handling over the last century, the latestin 2006.While much of the history in  Them That  Believe  provides convincing answers to oldquestions about the extent of handling in theearly Church of God and the number of livesshortened by the practice, some of Hood andWilliamson’s historical sections raise morequestions than they answer. By giving voiceto oral traditions handed down across severalgenerations of preachers, for instance, the au-thors suggest that some mountain people han-dled serpents for religious reasons as earlyas the 1890s, a decade before the Pentecostalmovement (which is often blamed for spark-ing handling around 1910) appeared in the re-gion. This may extend the life of the currentinterest in serpent handling by luring scholarsback intothe 19th century. Similarly,Hood andWilliamson’s careful documentation of severalcongregationalhistoriesalsoholdsthepotentialtoprovokemoresuchstudies.Despitesomeob-vious similarities in ritual behavior and socialcomposition, these congregations demonstratesurprising differences. Some embrace divorcedbelievers, for example, but others shun them;some are Trinitarian, but others worship “JesusOnly”; some are dwindling in numbers and ag-ing, but others are growing larger and younger.This variety may well spark a new generationof scholars to seek out the particular paths andpatterns of other congregations.So, Hood and Williamson’s impressivesummaryofthestateof“Snake Handling Stud-ies” will certainly not be the last word. Anddespite my growing concern that the numberof scholars will eventually exceed the num-ber of practitioners, I must now admit that Ilook forward to more work in this narrow sub-field. What I am anticipating—in addition tothe unearthing of even more evidence—is ahealthy revival of critical detachment to coun-terbalance the recent trend toward celebrat-ing the authenticity of snake handlers’ faith inan increasingly secular society and respectingtheir daring defiance of death amid a death-denying culture. Hood and Williamson openly  828  JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION describe themselves as “participant-observers”in their church services (though neither hasever handled serpents). I see them, and severalother contemporary students of the movement,moreas“advocate-observers.”EvenasIgobbleup their fascinating observations, I sometimesgrow weary of the advocacy. I prefer to choosemy own heroes and dole out my own respect.At least this is what I tell myself. But perhapsthis participant-observer of more mainstreamPentecostalism is still just a bit too defensive. DANIEL WOODS Ferrum CollegeFerrum, Virginia CHARITABLE CHOICES: PHILANTHRO-PIC DECISIONS OF DONORS IN THEAMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY. ByArnoldDashefskyandBernardLazerwitz.Lan-ham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009. xv  +  155pp. $65.00 cloth.Jewish philanthropy is well known amongcivic, cultural, and educational institutions andsome of the largest donors in the United StatesareJewish.Whatweknowlessaboutischarita-ble giving within the Jewish community. Usinga social psychological perspective, Dashefskyand Lazerwitz provide us with an analysis of themotivationsandhindrancestogivingwithina segment of Jewish America.Jews do not appear to give in greater pro-portionthanotherAmericansthoughtheyoftengive in greater amounts, perhaps, the authorssurmise, indicative of their higher average in-come,theirnetworkofcommunityties,thecul-tural obligation of   tzedakah,  which is a collec-tive responsibility to provide for those in need,and the possible sense of greater political andsocial insecurity. Jewish giving is not parochialthough, more Jews give to non-Jewish causesthan to Jewish causes.Jewish institutions, including hospitals,old-age homes, loan societies, and orphanageswere established early in America to care forimmigrants and the poor within the commu-nity. The growth in these organizations wastruly remarkable, by 1915, there were 3,637institutions serving 1.5 million Jews in NewYork. In order to support these institutions andto coordinate fundraising, local federations of Jewish charities were formed in many areas.The United Jewish Appeals (UJA) founded in1939, and its successor, United Jewish Com-munities (UJC), founded in 1999, are umbrellaorganizationsthatprovidesupportforlocalfed-erationsaswellassupportforJewishcommuni-ties around the world. It is giving to these andother Jewish philanthropic organizations thatDashefsky and Lazerwitz are primarily con-cerned with in this study.We know from other research on religiousgivingthatembeddednesswithinachurchleadsto higher commitment levels, and this leads di-rectly to higher levels of giving by its mem-bers. As Jews have become more assimilatedinto the dominant culture of this country andas intermarriage continues to erode member-ship in local synagogues, there is concern thatthe lack of embeddedness within the commu-nity will result in lower levels of support for itsinstitutions and organizations.Data for this study are drawn from threesources: the National Jewish Population Sur-vey (1970/71, 1990, 2000) and the UJC (1971and 1990). The second source was a nonproba-bility, purposive sample (  N   = 72) of individu-als interviewed by the co-authors in the 1980s.Theseindividuals,betweentheagesof35to50,chosen from a variety of geographic locations,represented three groups: (a)  Donors  who gaveat least $500 to UJA or UJC, or a local Jewishfederation and who were members of a syna-gogue, and/or members of two or more Jewishorganizations; (b)  Affiliated   were nongivers toUJA,butmembersofasynagogueand/ortwoormoreJewishorganizations;and(c) Unaffiliated  were nongivers to UJA and were not membersof a synagogue or two or more Jewish organi-zations. Finally, a third source of data utilizesin-depth interviews conducted by the authorswith executive directors of local Jewish feder-ations (  N  = 25).Theauthorssoughttoanswerthefollowingquestions:Whatarethemotivationsforcharita-ble giving? How do the socialization, attitudes,and behavior of donors and nondonors differ?What are the perceived incentives and barriersto giving?The strongest portion of this book is theanalysisofNationalJewishPopulationSurveys
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