Spiritually Segregated (Part 3)

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life in 2008 it confirms a question I’ve repeatedly asked and have began to independently investigate with others for why the problem of what I describe as spiritual self-segregation continues in the United States. I would be willing to say that similar results if surveyed could be found in other countries throughout the world.

Of the major religious traditions categorized in the survey this is what I’ve concluded in summary for their results. Now I’m not tying to recreate or go into explicit detail on each criteria the report has listed, but attempt to take a social approach in attempt to gain an understanding for why we remain segregated. I will look at the general Demographics in terms of race, gender, family status and political or social views.

My reasons for including the political and social views is not to slander and political party, but to provide the reason and perhaps an indication for why we politicians have more aggressively sought after the church in their effort for power.

Evangelical Churches are overwhelmingly White (81%) with a combination of Hispanics, Asians & Blacks in a woefully distant second and third place making up the remaining 19% combined. Now one can only wonder why 50% of the members of Evangelical churches are Republicans or lean towards a Conservative agenda and only 34% are Democrats or lean towards a Liberal or Progressive agenda.

Mainline Churches are mostly found in the Southeastern region of the country and are a staggering 91% White with a shameful combination of all other races and ethnic groups at a mere 9% of those who identify with this belief. Considering that 41% are Republicans or lean towards a Conservative agenda and 43% are Democrats or lean towards a Liberal or Progressive agenda.

There’s not much need to factor political ideology into this conversation, because considering that 70%, an alarming number when you realize the heighten racial fears and misunderstanding of those of the racial majority in this groups demographics.

Historically Black Churches are just as segregated, giving the name, as mainline churches with a non-surprising 92% of its members being Black. This is primarily due to the acceptance of Jim Crow and the incorporation of segregation laws and slavery before that, but we can do better.

Now being a member of this segment of the church and a person whose family has played a role in its leadership in parts of this population for a few generations. I understand why it was initially segregated.

Once again there isn’t much need to factor political ideology into this conversation, because only 10% are Republicans or lean towards a Conservative agenda and 78% are Democrats or lean towards a Liberal or Progressive agenda. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the majority of the membership resides in the southern portions of the country.

What shouldn’t be missed is the significance effect racial and spiritual segregation has in the South when considering this data.

This is not exclusively directed at Historically Black Churches, but to all churches. I am just posing it to the segment I belong out of respect and wanting to clean my own room first, before taking the broom to the rest of the house.

I’m sure many who are apart of this segment understand how I’m addressing this question, because it truly is out of love and in the tradition of social gospel and social justice. We may have been forced to segregate in the beginning, but we should not continue enforcing this even unconsciously today.

Catholics need not to get too comfortable, but so far have slightly more diversity than the previously mentioned groups. Being 65% White and 29% Hispanic Catholics still have just as much to work on in attracting non-white, non-Hispanics. As true to tradition there are more females than men who identify with the Catholic tradition. One factor I must note about Catholics is that they’re basically evenly spread throughout the country. With 33% are Republicans or lean towards a Conservative agenda and 48% are Democrats or lean towards a Liberal or Progressive agenda you have to consider what role faith plays in the politics of Catholics as well and if it should be as significant in either direction.

Mormons (Latter-Day Saints), primarily White, which is not a huge surprise given policy changes made in the 1970’s in concern of its lack of diversity and positions on race. But it is interesting that 65% are Republicans or lean towards a Conservative agenda and 22% are Democrats or lean towards a Liberal or Progressive agenda.

There seems to be a trend among the various beliefs, race and politics. The more White, the more conservative, the more color, the more liberal. Why do you think that is?

Orthodox — The story largely remains the same for this segment as well with 87% White with Blacks coming in a distant second place with 6% there isn’t much more that should be said in respects for the need of diversity among the orthodox. 35% are Republican or self-identify with a Conservative agenda. 50% are Democrats or self-identify with a Liberal or Progressive agenda.

***This is the beginning of the exception in terms of the religious-racial-political dynamic.***

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW

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