Sue Frantz

An unlikely catalyst for religious unity: Donald Trump

Blog Post created by Sue Frantz on Feb 11, 2017

For those gearing up to teach the social psych chapter in Intro, the news is rife with examples. You could talk about the Rattlers and the Eagles at Robber’s Cave State Park in 1954. Or you could talk about Muslims, Jews, and Christians in 2017.


“Almost every day in New York last week there was an interfaith conference or prayer service – involving Christian groups as well as Muslims and Jews – devoted to the current crisis over predominantly Muslim immigrants and refugees” (Demick, 2017). It seems that U.S. president Donald Trump’s immigration policies have created a superordinate goal.


There also appears to be a shift in ingroup boundaries. Historically, there has been tension between “my” religious group and “your” religious group. But now the ingroup seems to defined as “refugees” – both past and present.


“Formed in 1881 to resettle Jews fleeing pogroms in Europe, [the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] has in recent years devoted itself to helping non-Jewish refugees. In the last year, it helped resettle more than 4,000 in the United States, about half of them Muslim. [Rabbi Jennie] Rosenn said that 270 synagogues and thousands of congregants nationwide have volunteered their time to find housing and furniture for refugees, to teach them English and enroll their children in school” (Demick, 2017).


For those who were Holocaust refugees and their families, the rhetoric and the political action strikes too close to home. The message is simple: We were refugees and you are a refugee; we will take care of you.


Amazon has proposed their own ingroup reframing in this commercial where two religious leaders – and friends – discover they have the same problem.





Demick, B. (2017, February 5). How Trump's policies and rhetoric are forging alliances between U.S. Jews and Muslims. Retrieved from