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

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2000 - Religion - 212 pages
33 Reviews
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

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Difficult to read, but excellent in provoking thought. - Goodreads
Well-researched, worth pondering. - Goodreads
hard to read, hard to ignore. - Goodreads

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

User Review  - Chelsey Hillyer - Goodreads

A great book for understanding how Christianity became shorthand for white supremacy in the United States. Must-read for liberal-progressive Christians who are committed to social justice, as it gives perspective on how embedded androcentrism is in US Christianity (and Christendom, really). Read full review

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

User Review  - Ian Hammond - Goodreads

A diagnosis but not a detailed prescription. The diagnosis: the evangelical mind construes racism as a purely individualized problem (absent of institutional problems) and thus contributes to the ... Read full review

All 11 reviews »


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

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2000)

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