Growing up in San Francisco in the 1970s, Russell Jeung attended a Chinese American Christian fundamentalist church every Sunday that “really took scripture seriously.”
Raised as an evangelical Christian, Jeung said faith has always been central to his worldview. It’s in part what inspired him to co-found Stop AAPI Hate, a national nonprofit dedicated to combating the anti-Asian racism that has swelled since the coronavirus pandemic erupted in 2020.
“Followers of Jesus are to seek God’s kingdom of peace and justice, and so in my work and in my activism I seek to do so,” Jeung said. “God calls us to live in right relations with each other, and racism is a sin where people’s dignity is stripped, where people’s sense of belonging is torn from them.”
Jeung is part of a robust community of Asian American evangelical Christians in the United States, a population that makes up a growing share of American evangelical Protestants. A plurality of 18-to-29-year-old evangelical Protestants in America are Asian, according to data from the Pew Research Center, reflecting the growing proportion of Asian American adherents and the declining proportion of White adherents.
Helen Jin Kim, an assistant professor of American religious history at Emory University, noted that in recent decades, the term “evangelical” has taken on a political connotation. “Since the election of Reagan, it’s been tied to the politics of the GOP,” she said.
But as Asian Americans rise to leadership roles within the evangelical community and take on a more visible presence, the association of evangelicalism with White American political conservatism is changing.
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