"A" is for Asian Religions

Jan 1, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

"A" is for Asian religions. In 1965, the US Congress passed laws liberalizing existing statutes regarding the entry of Asian immigrants. This had a significant effect on the religious landscape of South Carolina. By the 1980s the state had become home to emergent communities of Asian immigrants—East Indians, Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Laotians from Southeast Asia.  Prior to the 1960s the most notable Hindu presence in the state was the Meher Baba Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach. By 2001, Southeast Asians in Spartanburg County had built three Buddhist temples.  There are significant Hindu temples in Greenville, Spartanburg, and Columbia. The temples are community centers as well as places of worship. Among Asian religious traditions, those introduced by Indian immigrants—including Hindu, Jain, and Sikh groups—have probably had greater impact on South Carolina’s religious landscape.