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Religions 2015, 6(1), 245-265;

Whither Shall We Go? The Past and Present of Black Churches and the Public Sphere

Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, 2112 Art-Sociology Building, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Academic Editor: Christine Soriea Sheikh
Received: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 10 March 2015 / Published: 18 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations)
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In this paper, I analyze the contemporary role of the Black Church in the public sphere. Some argue that despite the historical role of the Black Church in addressing racial inequality, it should not be involved in the public sphere, as there should be a clear separation between church and state. I argue that black churches are filling a gap created by the self-help ideology of a neo-liberal era where addressing the outcomes of contemporary racial inequality is left to private sector organizations, such as churches, rather than the federal government. I assert that the Black Church should remain engaged in the public sphere for two reasons: first, black churches are operating in the absence of state welfare rather than as an alternative to it and second, black churches are among the few institutions providing race-specific remedies that have been abandoned in a colorblind era. View Full-Text
Keywords: black church; race/ethnicity; religion; public engagement; neoliberalism black church; race/ethnicity; religion; public engagement; neoliberalism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Barber, K.H. Whither Shall We Go? The Past and Present of Black Churches and the Public Sphere. Religions 2015, 6, 245-265.

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