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White Christians Grapple With Their Faith’s Racist Past — And Present

Are white Christians ready to examine the foundations of their beliefs?
Are white Christians ready to examine the foundations of their beliefs?

In the upcoming presidential election, 82 percent of white evangelical Protestant voters said they plan to vote for President Donald Trump. He’s appealed to white evangelical Christians consistently throughout his presidency.

White Protestants are significantly more likely than African American Protestants or religiously unaffiliated whites to see police brutality against people of color as isolated incidents rather than a systemic problem, according to the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI).

This trend isn’t an accident, writes PRRI founder Robert P. Jones in his new book White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity.

White Christian churches have not just been complacent or complicit in failing to address racism; rather, as the dominant cultural power in the U.S., they have been responsible for constructing and sustaining a project to protect white supremacy. Through the entire American story, white Christianity has served as the central source of moral legitimacy for a society explicitly built to value the lives of white people over Black people.

How are white supremacy and white Christianity entangled? And what work is being done today, by Christians inside and outside the church, to break those ties?

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James Morrison