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Religious Minorities (Non-Christians) - Events by Name

Event Introduction Type
Autobiography of a Yogi Published Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi, published in 1946, continues to be used by followers of his Self-Realization Fellowship and as college textbooks.
American Chapter of Soka Gakkai Formed The Japanese-based Soka Gakkai Buddhist society commissioned its U.S. chapter in 1960. In 1991, the chapter reorganized as Soka Gakkai International-USA.
American Indian Religious Freedom Act The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, passed in 1978, acknowledged the importance of Native American religious traditions and pledged to protect their rights.
Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois The Baha'i House of Worship, located near Chicago in Wilmette, Ill., was opened in 1953 and is the only Baha'i temple in North America.
Buddhist Churches of America The Buddhist Churches of America, formed in 1944 and headquartered in San Francisco, represents mainstream Japanese American Buddhism.
Chief Seattle's Speech An 1854 speech by Native American Chief Seattle (1780-1866) inspired the 20th century environmental movement, despite being heavily rewritten.
Church of Satan Anton Szandor LaVey (1930-97) started the Church of Satan in 1966, offering a new Golden Rule: "Do unto others as they do unto you."
Church of Scientology In 1954, L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) began the Church of Scientology with teachings on how to reach a blissful "state of clear."
Congregation Rodeph Shalom The first Ashkenazic congregation in the Western Hemisphere, Rodeph Shalom, was founded in Philadelphia in 1795.
Dzemijetul Hajrije Dzemijetal Hajrije, America's oldest existing Muslim organization, was formed in 1906 by Bosnian immigrants who came to Chicago to help dig subway tunnels.
First Buddhist Temples Built In the 1850s-1880s, Chinese and Japanese immigrants brought Buddhism to America as they searched for work in Hawaii's plantations and California's gold rush.
First Buddhists Elected to U.S. Congress In November 2006, voters in Georgia and Hawaii elected the first two Buddhists --Democrats Hank Johnson and Mazie Hirono -- to the U.S. Congress.
First Daoist/Traditional Chinese Temples in the U.S. Daoism (i.e., Taoism), one of China’s recognized religions, arrived in San Francisco in the 19th century as Chinese immigrants sought work in California’s gold rush.
First Purpose-Built Mosque In 1929, Syrian-Lebanese immigrants constructed the first purpose-built mosque in America in Ross, N.D., to serve their small community of Muslims.
First Shinto Shrine in the U.S. On November 3, 1898, Japanese immigrants built the first Shinto shrine in the United States in Hilo, Hawaii.
First Sikh Gurdwara The first gurdwara, a Sikh gathering place, was built in 1912 in Stockton, C.A., by settlers attracted to the fertile farmland similar to their native Punjab.
Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple Built in 1988, Hsi Lai Temple near Los Angeles is the largest Buddhist temple in the western hemisphere.
Founding of Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate was a new religious movement founded by Bonnie Lu Nettles and Marshall Applewhite. Its 39 members died in 1997 via mass ritual suicide.
George Washington's Letter to Touro Synagogue President George Washington's 1790 letter to Jews in Rhode Island is widely regarded as his most emphatic endorsement of religious liberty and acceptance.
Hebrew Union College Hebrew Union College, the oldest center of Jewish higher education in America, was founded in 1875 with its first campus in Cincinnati.
Hindu Temple Established in San Francisco On Jan. 7, 1906, Indian-born Swami Trigunatita helped build one of the first Hindu temples of the western world in San Francisco.
Huston Smith Publishes The Religions of Man In 1958, Huston Smith published his landmark textbook on comparative religion, The Religions of Man in 1958, later renamed The World's Religions.
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (i.e., Hart-Celler Act) permitted more Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu immigrants into the United States, changing the U.S. religious landscape.
International Society for Krishna Consciousness A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Parbhupada (1896-1977) founded the International Society of Krishna Consciousness in 1966 in New York to bring Krishna worship to the West.
Islamic Center of America In 1963, after years of fundraising, Lebanese Muslims in the Detroit area opened the Islamic Center of America, one of the oldest Shi'a mosques in America.
Islamic Society of North America The Islamic Society of North America was created in 1982 as an umbrella group to support and unite the burgeoning Muslim population in America.
Jewish Theological Seminary of America The Jewish Theological Seminary, founded in New York in 1886, is the educational center of Conservative Judaism.
Keith Ellison Elected to U.S. Congress On Nov. 7, 2006, Keith Ellison became the first Muslim elected to national office, joining the U.S. House of Representatives for Minnesota's fifth district.
Major Upsurge in Hindu Temples The 1970s, and early 1980s, saw an explosion of Hindu temples in America, courtesy of a new law allowing for more immigrants from India.
Mikveh Israel Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia began as a Jewish cemetery (1740) but later became a synagogue (1782), one of the earliest existing Jewish synagogues in America.
Mother Mosque of America The "Mother Mosque of America," established by immigrants in 1934 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the oldest purpose-built mosque still in use.
Muhammad Ali Converts to Islam After winning his first heavyweight championship in 1964, boxer Cassius Clay (1942-2016) announced he had converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
Nation of Islam Founded On July 4, 1930, W.D. Fard founded the Nation of Islam, one of the most radical and militant religious movements of the 20th century.
Native American Peyote Controversy Despite passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978, legal judgments continued to challenge the use of peyote in religious services until 1994.
Peyote Religion and the Native American Church Use of peyote, a psychedelic source for Native American spirit ceremonies, became widespread in the mid-1880s. In 1906, peyote groups formed the Native American Church.
Ququnok Patke Prophesies Ququnok Patke (c.1790s-1837) was a Kootenai Indian whose prophecies in the early 1800s made her legendary throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Rebecca Gratz Founds First Hebrew Sunday School Under Rebecca Gratz's oversight, the first free Hebrew Sunday school opened in Philadelphia in 1838.
Sally Priesand Becomes First Female Rabbi On June 3, 1972, Sally Priesand became the first female rabbi ordained in America -- and the first woman in Judaism to earn seminary ordination.
Siege of Branch Davidian Compound Most remember the Branch Davidians, a sect of Seventh-day Adventism, the US Government laying siege to their compound outside of Waco, Texas in 1993.
Sufism Comes to United States Fulfilling the wishes of his Sufi teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan sailed to America in 1910 to spread the message of this mystical arm of Islam.
Swaminarayan Akshardham The world's largest Hindu temple, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, opened in 2023 in Robbinsville, N.J.
Theosophical Society Founded Founded in New York in 1875, the Theosophical Society popularized such Eastern tenets as karma and reincarnation in a new religious movement emphasizing spiritual evolution.
Touro Synagogue Touro Synagogue was dedicated in 1763 in Newport, R.I. It is the oldest dedicated synagogue in America.
Vietnamese Buddhists Come to United States Vietnamese Buddhism spread across America as thousands of refugees arrived after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.
World Parliament of Religions In 1893, the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago introduced many non-Christian faiths to America -- including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Jainism, Shinto and Taoism.

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