In recent years there has been a steady rise in the number of anthropological and ethnological studies on religious life within the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV), home to fifty-two officially recognized ethnic groups, every major world religion, and myriad forms of local religious practice. Simultaneously, there has also been an outpouring of academic studies on political history and political life in contemporary Vietnam. Within Vietnamese studies, the intersection of these two fields of inquiry - the religious and the political - is marked by an almost complete absence of scholarly reflection. The following is a story about two villages in rural central Vietnam: one Buddhist and one Catholic, where I have been conducting preliminary ethnographic research for an M.A. thesis. The research explores how religion has affected political practice, and in turn, how politics has affected religious life in these villages from the beginning of the Vietnam War (1960), to the present. This story describes the religious practices of each village, and how a bond was established between the two villages during the Vietnam War.
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