Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2001 - Religion - 212 pages
Through a nationwide telephone survey of 2,000 people and an additional 200 face-to-face interviews, 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. Most racial problems, the subjects told the authors, can be solved by the repentance and conversion of the sinful individuals at fault.
Combining a substantial body of evidence with sophisticated analysis and interpretation, the authors throw sharp light on the oldest American dilemma. In the end, they conclude that despite the best intentions of evangelical leaders and some positive trends, real racial reconciliation remains far over the horizon.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kolburt - LibraryThing

I had heard for quite some time that Divided By Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America, by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith, was the seminal work on race in the American ... Read full review

Divided by faith: evangelical religion and the problem of race in America

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This study will be of interest to those who would like to understand the evangelical Christian mind with regard to race in America. In particular, Emerson (sociology, Rice Univ.) and Smith (sociology ... Read full review


Religion and the Racialized Society
Confronting the BlackWhite Racial Divide
From Separate Pews to Separate Churches Evangelical Racial Thought and Practice 17001964
Becoming Active Contemporary Involvement in the American Dilemma
Color Blind Evangelicals Speak on the Race Problem
Controlling Ones Own Destiny Explaining Economic Inequality Between Blacks and Whites
Lets Be Friends Exploring Solutions to the Race Problem
The Organization of Religion and Internally Similar Congregations
Structurally Speaking Religion and Racialization
Appendix A
Appendix B

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2001)

Michael O. Emerson is the Tsanoff Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology at Rice University, the author of numerous articles on race relations and religion, and the co-author of United by Faith. He lives in Houston, Texas. Christian Smith is the Chapin Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the author of American Evangelicalism and Christian America? What Evangelicals Really Want. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Bibliographic information