Race, Religion, and Sport in 2020

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2022) | Viewed by 5764

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy, Indiana University, Kokomo, IN 46901, USA
Interests: religion and sport; moral theory; religion and popular culture; theory and method in religious studies

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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Sport Management, Teaching, Learning and Professional Development, Bowie State University, Bowie, MD 20715, USA
Interests: human development; sport psychology and related performance; and racial-ethnic-cultural considerations

E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Department of Sport Management, Teaching, Learning and Professional Development, Bowie State University, Bowie, MD 20715, USA
Interests: sport and its influence upon religion; physical activity; academic performance and outcomes of students and athletes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

2020 was an unprecedented year in American history. In addition to being a presidential election year in one of the most politically polarized periods in our history, the murder of George Floyd and other African Americans by the police brought racial justice issues to the foreground of the American consciousness. Then, from spring onward, the country struggled in its response to the coronavirus, which itself became another issue in our political divide.

While sport often is seen as entertainment or a mere diversion, an escape from the real world, no cultural phenomena in 2020 could escape the influence of the historical moment. Even more, sport became a vehicle for responding to racial injustice, persevered despite the pandemic and mitigation efforts, and actively contributed to our political discourse.

In this Special Issue of Religions, the authors examine various intersections of race, religion, and sport in 2020 and continuing into this year—attempting to shed light on all three phenomena while gaining a greater understanding of 2020 and our current historical and cultural moment.

Prof. Dr. Eric Bain-Selbo
Dr. Sean T. Coleman
Dr. Joseph C. Spears
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • race
  • religion
  • sport
  • COVID-19
  • presidential election

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 239 KiB  
Article
American Prosperity Gospel and Athletic Narratives of Success
by Annie Blazer
Religions 2022, 13(3), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030211 - 2 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1982
Abstract
When athletes give interviews about their success, they tend to iterate on themes of self-assuredness, dedication to a goal, positive thinking, and divine blessing. By examining the history of prosperity theology in the U.S., we can see one possible source of this rhetoric. [...] Read more.
When athletes give interviews about their success, they tend to iterate on themes of self-assuredness, dedication to a goal, positive thinking, and divine blessing. By examining the history of prosperity theology in the U.S., we can see one possible source of this rhetoric. Prosperity theology teaches believers that God wants them to be healthy and wealthy and that the means to achieve health and wealth are at a believer’s fingertips. All one must do is give faithfully to one’s church, never waver in one’s belief that God will grant health and wealth, and act as though one has already received the blessing one desires. While scholars have long critiqued prosperity theology for obscuring structural inequalities, particularly those that impact people of color, the philosophy remains popular in many congregations across the U.S. and is nearly ubiquitous in black churches. Examining similarities in the rhetoric of prosperity gospel and athletes’ narratives of their success shows that these narratives also contribute to the faulty logic of meritocracy by ignoring systemic inequalities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race, Religion, and Sport in 2020)
12 pages, 198 KiB  
Article
We Will Not Shut Up and Dribble: LeBron James and the Tripartite Human Being
by Jeffrey Scholes
Religions 2022, 13(2), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020148 - 7 Feb 2022
Viewed by 3038
Abstract
On 15 February 2018, Fox News host Laura Ingraham ended her broadcast by responding to sharply critical comments that basketball stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant made about President Trump on the issue of race. Ingraham demanded that they “shut up and dribble,” [...] Read more.
On 15 February 2018, Fox News host Laura Ingraham ended her broadcast by responding to sharply critical comments that basketball stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant made about President Trump on the issue of race. Ingraham demanded that they “shut up and dribble,” to which James responded by creating a Twitter hashtag, #wewillnotshutupanddribble that adorned t-shirts worn during his next pregame warmup. In this essay, I contend that religion and sport come together throughout the “shut up and dribble” episode by way of a tripartite Christian anthropology of body, soul, and spirit that Ingraham is unwittingly conveying and James is adopting in his own way. This anthropology, as laid out in I Thessalonians and elsewhere, not only enables the reduction of Black human beings down to their body by silencing their souls, but also provides a framework for an athlete like LeBron James to counter these attacks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race, Religion, and Sport in 2020)
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