The Atlantic

Closing the Gulf Between Black and White Christians

In a new book, a black evangelical challenges his white counterparts to take full responsibility for their complicity in racism, and to commit to changing America.
Source: Jeffrey McWhorter / AP

Many conservative Christian denominations have spent the past several years reckoning with their legacy of white supremacy. The darkest parts of American history are full of Christian characters, including scores of pastors and theologians. A number of still-existing denominations, among them the Southern Baptist Convention, were first formed to defend slavery*. Some well-respected Christian scholars dedicated their lives to rationalizing racial hierarchies with the Bible. And terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan claimed an explicitly Protestant identity, with some pastors openly supporting their cause.

To reconcile this past, contemporary pastors have gathered at annual conventions to pass numerous resolutions opposing racism, with . A flagship Southern Baptist seminary published a in late 2018 detailing its own long history of support for slavery and Jim Crow policies. “We knew, and we could not fail to know, that slavery and deep racism were in the story,” wrote in 1995.

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