Divided by Faith
by Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith
Through a nationwide survey, Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith probed the grassroots of white evangelical America. They found that despite recent efforts by the movement's leaders to address the problem of racial discrimination, evangelicals themselves seem to be preserving America's racial chasm. In fact, most white evangelicals see no systematic discrimination against blacks. But the authors contend that it is not active racism that prevents evangelicals from recognizing ongoing problems in American society. Instead, it is the evangelical movement's emphasis on individualism, free will, and personal relationships that makes invisible the pervasive injustice that perpetuates racial inequality.
Combining a substantial body of evidence with sophisticated analysis and interpretation, the authors throw sharp light on the oldest American dilemma, concluding that despite the best intentions of evangelical leaders and some positive trends, real racial reconciliation remains far over the horizon.