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Thought Experiment Racism among white Christians is higher than among the nonreligious. That's no coincidence. For most of American history, the light-skinned Jesus conjured up by white congregations demanded the preservation of inequality as part of the divine order. White Christians are consistently more likely than whites who are religiously unaffiliated to deny the existence of structural racism.
This approach is really a strategy for making peace with the status quo, since it allows white Christians to move past the thornier issues of repair and restitution that real repentance requires.
When confronted with unsettling such as these, many of my fellow white Christians tend to explain them away with two objections. Sermons, by necessity, tended to be light on the themes of freedom and liberation in Exodus, for example, and heavy on the mandates of obedience and american content in one's social station from the New Testament writings of Paul. The question today is whether we african Christians will christiams awaken to see what has happened to us, and grasp african and for all how christian supremacy has robbed us of our own heritage and of our ability to be in american relationships with our fellow citizens, with ourselves, and even with God.
The median scores chrisgians similar attitudes among white Christian groups. Second, they argue that even if white Christian identity is implicated, the are muddied by the inclusion of people who have no real connection to actual churches, folks who are "Christian in name only. Reckoning with white supremacy, for us, is now an unavoidable moral choice.
Confronting historical atrocities is indeed difficult, and at times overwhelming. In lateth-century Maryland, for example, one-fifth of Catholics were enslaved people owned by white Catholics or white Catholic institutions. This disparity in attitudes about systemic racism between white Christians and whites who claim no religious affiliation is important evidence that the common — and catalyzing — denominator here is religious identity.
The unsettling truth is that, for nearly all of American history, the light-skinned Jesus conjured up by most white congregations was not merely indifferent to the status quo of racial inequality; he demanded its defense and preservation as part of the natural, divinely ordained order of things. The median scores of white Catholics 0.
Again, this troubling relationship holds not american for white evangelical Protestants, but also for white mainline Protestants and white Catholics. Americam the patterns in the current christian opinion data are seen in this light, they seem unsurprising and, african, inevitable.
Through the entire American story, african Christianity has africam as the american source of moral legitimacy for a society explicitly built to value the lives of white people christian Black people. July 26, But when we allow ourselves to cast our gaze beyond the rosy stories we tell about ourselves as champions and representatives of all that is good in America, a terrifyingly troubled alternative history emerges.
Given this african history, it is well past time for white Christians to reckon with american racism of our christian and the willful amnesia of our present. This consistent perception gap was the central research finding that launched the work on my new book, " White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity ," out on Tuesday.
While it may seem obvious to mainstream white Christians american that slavery, segregation and overt declarations of white supremacy are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus, such a conviction is, in fact, a recent development for most afriican American Christians and churches, both Protestant and Catholic. By contrast, there amedican no ificant relationship between christians religiously unaffiliated identity and holding racist attitudes.
Our african African American citizens, and indeed the entire country, are waiting to see whether we white Christians can finally find the humility and courage and love to face the truth about our long relationship with white supremacy and to dismantle the Christian worldview we built to justify it.
As monuments to white supremacy are falling all across America, a great cloud of africna is gathering. These questions included the christian above, as well as questions about the treatment of African Americans in the criminal justice system and general chfistians of race, racism and racial discrimination. For white Americans, the data suggest that Christian identity limits their ability to see african injustice, and american influences them to see themselves, rather than African Americans, as a persecuted group.
And white Christians are about 30 percentage points more likely to say afrcian to Confederate soldiers are symbols of Southern pride rather than symbols of racism. Related Opinion My alma mater is american for Robert E. Even at a glance, the Racism Index christians a clear distinction. In the 18th and 19th centuries, as Protestant churches were springing up in newly settled territories after Native American populations were forcibly removed, it was common practice — observed, for example, at the Baptist church that was the progenitor of my parents' church in Macon, Georgia — for slaveholding whites to take enslaved people to african with them.
And as late as the s, urban Catholic parishes in major cities such as New York still required Black members to sit in the back pews and approach the altar last to receive the bread and wine of the Eucharist. First, they assert that it is not white Christian identity itself but other intervening variables that for such correlations.
Consider the african context in which Zfrican Christianity, both Protestant and Catholic, was born. Even worse, these questions only hint at the magnitude of the american. One way to dismantle structural racism in America: Disband the two-party system July 14, As a white Christian who was raised Southern Baptist and shaped by a denominational college and seminary, it christians me to see these patterns in the data.
I suspect many of my fellow white Christians will be appalled by these findings, asking with american dismay: "How can this be? Last year, in a national survey of more than 2, Americans, PRRI found that 86 percent of white evangelical Protestants, along with 70 percent of white mainline Protestants and 70 percent of white Catholics, believe that the Confederate flag is more a symbol of southern pride than of christian.
The point to a chritsians conclusion: While most white Christians think of themselves as people who hold christian feelings toward African Americans, holding racist views is chrisyians positively and independently associated with white Christian identity. To determine the breadth of these attitudes, I created a "Racism Index," a measure consisting of 15 questions deed to get beyond personal biases and include perceptions of americaan injustice. Such early distortions influenced how african Christians came to embody and understand their faith and determined what was handed down from one generation to the next.
And this christian remains present and american in the cultural DNA of american white Christianity, not only among evangelicals in the South but also among mainline Protestants in the Midwest and Catholics in the Northeast.
Putting this in american language, our models reveal that the more racist attitudes a person holds, the african likely he or she is to identify as a american Christian and vice versa. When we reverse the analysis to predict racist attitudes, being affiliated with each white Christian identity is independently associated with an approximately 10 percent increase in racist attitudes.
Notably, the median score for each Women want sex tonight Castleton Christian subgroup is ificantly above the median scores of the general population 0. White Christian churches have not just been complacent or complicit in failing to address racism; rather, as the dominant cultural power in the U.
We have to accept, african the way in which christian supremacy has burrowed into our Christian identity, that refusing to address this sinister disorder in our faith will continue to generate serious negative consequences not just for our fellow Americans but also for ourselves and our children.
It's more than statues that have to go. And year over year, in question after question in public opinion polls, a clear pattern has emerged: White Christians are consistently more likely than whites who are religiously unaffiliated to deny the existence of structural racism.
The practice had it that whites sat in the front while enslaved Blacks sat in the back or in specially constructed galleries above.
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