From Filial Piety to Religious Piety: Evangelical Christianity Reconstructing Taiwanese Immigrant Families in the United States

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Abstract

While current scholarship suggests that immigrant religion reproduces ethnic traditions, this article suggests that religion can also challenge and transform ethnic traditions. Like other immigrants from Confucian cultures, Taiwanese immigrants find that their Confucian family traditions are difficult to maintain in the United States. The immigrant church is an important community institution that offers new models of parenting and family life. This article discusses how through the influence of evangelical Christianity, the immigrant church reconstructs Taiwanese immigrant families by (i) shifting the moral vocabulary of the family from one of filial duty to religious discipleship; (ii) democratizing relationships between parents and children; and (iii) consecrating the individuality and autonomy of children. These new models of family life both reproduce and alter Taiwanese traditions in the United States. Religion mediates and shapes immigrant cultural assimilation to the United States.

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