Filipino American Faith in Action

Immigration, Religion, and Civic Engagement

224 pages

8 illustrations

February, 2009

ISBN: 9780814731970



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Joaquin Jay Gonzalez is Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, he was appointed San Francisco Commissioner for Immigrant Rights and Mayor George Christopher Chair in Public Administration at Golden Gate University. He is the author or co-author of several books, including On the Corner of Bliss and Nirvana; Welcome to the Philippines; and Governance Innovations in the Asia-Pacific Region.

All books by Joaquin Jay Gonzalez

Filipinos are now the second largest Asian American immigrant group in the United States, with a population larger than Japanese Americans and Korean Americans combined. Surprisingly, there is little published on Filipino Americans and their religion, or the ways in which their religious traditions may influence the broader culture in which they are becoming established.

Filipino American Faith in Action draws on interviews, survey data, and participant observation to shed light on this large immigrant community. It explores Filipino American religious institutions as essential locations for empowerment and civic engagement, illuminating how Filipino spiritual experiences can offer a lens for viewing this migrant community’s social, political, economic, and cultural integration into American life. Gonzalez examines Filipino American church involvement and religious practices in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the Phillipines, showing how Filipino Americans maintain community and ethnic and religious networks, contra assimilation theory, and how they go about sharing their traditions with the larger society.


  • “;In this academic page turner Gonzalez blends rich ethnographic descriptions with theoretical sophistication. Filipino American Faith in Action is THE book on the importance of religion for the Filipino migrant community. Gonzalez breaks new ground in the emerging field of religion and immigration with his use of diverse theoretical tools and compelling narratives. A must read.”

    —Lois Ann Lorentzen, author of The Gendered New World Order: Militarism, the Environment and Development

  • “The ‘missionized’ and ‘diasporized’ Christians of the global South are here in our midst . . . transforming the social, religious, and political landscape in places they are finding receptive soils, and . . . challenging us to think and act in new ways. Gonzalez’s work speaks of this reality not in abstraction, but through the breathing stories of Filipino diaspora Christian communities in San Francisco, California. Finally, a book that I have been waiting for has arrived.”

    —Eleazar S. Fernandez, Professor of Constructive Theology, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Minnesota

  • “Breaks new ground in Asian American Studies and more broadly in migration studies by illustrating the transnational and intergenerational civic engagement of migrants through religion. . . . An eminently important study that expands our knowledge of Filipino migrant settlement in the United States.”

    —Rhacel Salazar Parrenas, author of The Force of Domesticity: Filipina Migrants and Globalization