There is a distinct problem with religion in this country. The churches of America have become racially divided, creating inequalities amongst our populace. Racial divisions run deep, and there is an undeniable relationship between religion and racism. Since the inception of this country, we have been racially divided. These divisions continued throughout the 20th century, and continue to this very day. These divisions often include, but are not limited to social and political values.
Racism in America's religious institutions can be traced to the very roots of America. Original religious views on other races had little bearing in everyday life. White Christians `paid little attention to slaves' souls' (22), and often viewed them as less than human. In the early 1730's, evangelicalism began to gain strength amongst slave holders. It was believed that being Christian made the slaves better workers and obey their masters more fully. The movement to `Christianize' slaves was fully put forth by evangelist George Whitefield in 1740 (25). He traveled the countryside, `saving' slaves from all parts of the country, and Christianizing them to become better slaves. George Whitefield's main point in the Christianizing of slaves was simple, ."..God allowed slavery for larger purposes, including the Christianization and uplifting of the heathen Africans." (27).
The Revolutionary War, starting in the 1770's, brought new life and conflict to the issues of slavery. By the late 1770's, many evangelicals had begun to denounce slavery as a sin, and a practice that `brings dishonor to the Christian name' (28). In 1808, a celebration for the abolition of slave trade was staged. Many prominent evangelicals of the time were on hand to speak. The most important message, however, came from Jedidiah Morse. He stated, "Although Africa was in `heathenish and Mahomet-an darkness', God had enabled white men to transport [the word to] those Africans who were to receive Christ's freedom. But since the blessed gospel now sheds it's genial influence on Africa, by the preaching of missionaries of the cross, it's natives have no need to be carried to foreign lands, in order to enjoy it's light." (29). Slave importation was abolished just a few months after this convention, in 1808.
The mid to late 1800's brought the civil war, and slavery was suddenly pushed to the forefront of all national attention. New breeds of abolitionists aided the push for the abolishment of slavery. They stressed a immediate change in policy, calling for freedom and equality amongst all people. With the passing and declaration of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the ending of the civil war, slavery was abolished, and all slaves freed.
The Civil Right Era brought a new realm of racial segregation to the United States. The early 1950's and 1960's were a period of great racial unrest and change. These movements were started, and fueled, by the grassroots campaigns from inside the black...