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Race And Religion Why Religion Exists Religion And Race-Mixing Are Religious People More Prejudiced? Sociologist W.E.B. DuBois On Religion.

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Presentation on theme: "Race And Religion Why Religion Exists Religion And Race-Mixing Are Religious People More Prejudiced? Sociologist W.E.B. DuBois On Religion."— Presentation transcript:

1 Race And Religion Why Religion Exists Religion And Race-Mixing Are Religious People More Prejudiced? Sociologist W.E.B. DuBois On Religion

2 Why Does Religion Exist?! Functionalism Says.... To Provide Social Cohesion To Provide Social Control To Provide Meaning And Purpose To influence and reinforce societal integration by legitimating society’s values and norms Conflict Theory Says.... To Maintain Social Inequality To Mirror Social Inequality To Serve As An “Opiate” To legitimate a status quo that benefits society’s elites and diverts our attentions from inequality

3 The Curse Of Cain The Curse Of Ham The Tower Of Babel Ephesians 6:5-9: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.” 1 Timothy 6:1-3 "All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach and urge on them.” No Race-Mixing Because Religious Texts Say So

4 “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and He placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix.” Judge Leon Bazile (1959) States where interracial marriages were illegal are shaded red Impact Of Religion On Interracial Marriages

5 Are Religious People More Prejudiced? Measuring Religiosity? Measuring Religiosity? Church Attendance, Church Membership, Biblical Literalism, Personal Prayer, Religious Beliefs Values Promoting Racial Intolerance: Values Promoting Racial Intolerance: Strong Religious Identification: One’s religion is considered very important in their life. Most churches and religious traditions are segregated. Extrinsic Religiosity: Religiosity motivated by external factors such as desires for social status, security, and acceptance from others. Religion is a means to an end. Religious Fundamentalism: Religiosity that reflects an unquestioning, unwavering certainty in basic religious truths.

6 Are Religious People More Prejudiced? Measuring Religiosity? Measuring Religiosity? Church Attendance, Church Membership, Biblical Literalism, Personal Prayer, Religious Beliefs Values Promoting Racial Tolerance: Values Promoting Racial Tolerance: Intrinsic Religiosity: Religiosity motivated by beliefs that there is good in just being religious regardless of any social benefits to it. Religion is an end unto itself. Agnosticism: Religiosity that reflects a desire to face existential questions and acknowledge one’s religious doubts. These folks don’t attend services, don’t report much personal prayer, and may not even believe in God.

7 W.E.B. DuBois Was Not A Big Fan Of Organized White Religion Religion in America is “Jim Crowed from top to bottom” and “no other institution in America is built so thoroughly or absolutely on the color line.” “When the [White] church meets the Negro problem, it writes itself down as a deliberate hypocrite and systematic liar. The church has opposed every great modern social reform; it opposed the spread of democracy, universal education, trade unionism, the abolition of poverty, the emancipation of women... and the emancipation of the Negro slave.” “The [White] church aided and abetted the Negro slave trade; the church was the bulwark of American slavery; and the church today is the strongest seat of racial and color prejudice. If one hundred of the best and purest colored folk of the United States should seek to apply for membership in any white church in this land tomorrow, 999 out of every 1000 ministers would lie to keep them out. They would not only do this, but would openly and brazenly defend their action as worthy of followers of Jesus Christ.”

8 “Behold ! The Black Churches of America. Their five millions of members in 40,000 groups, holding $200,000,000 in their hands, are the most strongly organized body among us... What is this church doing today toward its primary task of teaching men right and wrong, and the duty of doing right? The flat answer is nothing if not less than nothing. Like other churches and other religions of other people and ages, our church has veered off on every conceivable path, which interferes with and nullifies its chief duty of character building. It has built up a body of dogma and fairy tale, fantastic fables of sin and salvation, impossible creeds and impossible demands for unquestioning belief and obedience.” Commencement Speech at Fisk, 1938 W.E.B. DuBois Was Not A Big Fan Of Organized Black Religion Either

9 Black Church As Meta-Institution Economics “The first form of economic cooperation” Culture Poetry, speeches, literature, music Education Schools and colleges Politics The “priests” became politicians Media Locations of amusement and publishing The Black church provides “social intercourse, it provides amusements of various kinds, it serves as a newspaper and intelligence bureau, it supplants the theater, it directs the picnic and excursion, it furnishes the music, it introduces the stranger to the community, it serves as a lyceum, library, and lecture bureau—it is, in fine the central organ of the organized life of the American Negro.” (W.E.B. DuBois 1867) During slavery, Blacks lost most of the usual social institutions. The only one to survive was religion. Blacks say religion is the only institution they can trust. During slavery, Blacks lost most of the usual social institutions. The only one to survive was religion. Blacks say religion is the only institution they can trust.


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