Some standard questions asked by TAs to establish Christian bonafides:Worth reading in full; many of the comments are insightful as well. Fascinating on cultural, linguistic, legal, epistemological, and theological levels.
Who is Jesus Christ?
What is your favorite story from the Bible?
What is your favorite prayer? Can you recite that prayer or a part of that prayer?
These seem like rather basic questions, but it is astounding how often Christian claimants cannot answer them. It is also fairly easy to spot the respondents who have been coached since they know one and only one story from the Bible, which is inevitably short-handed as: "water to wine." This is a reference to Jesus' first public miracle at a wedding in Cana and is considered an anti-Shibboleth by TAs and many IJs. Most frequently, Chinese applicants can name only this Bible story, as a result of being coached by the smugglers they use to enter the United States. Similarly, applicants who have been coached will say "the Lord's Prayer" is their favorite, and then recite some variation of the traditional Catholic grace before a meal (i.e. not the Lord's Prayer). The smugglers abroad and "immigration consultants" here in the United States are not very imaginative and have no real interest in their victims, so these responses do not change that often.
Aug 14, 2009
are you a true believer?
Eugene Volokh, earlier this week, passed along some thoughts from an anonymous writer familiar with American immigration law. The subject: how some immigration officials determine whether folks who seek asylum religious persecution are, in fact, sincere in their faith.