The deep sin of racism is far more embedded in white American Christianity than we are willing to admit. We struggle in our collective sin mainly because evangelical Christianity (and fundamentalism on the right) focuses on the “individual” sin to the detriment of recognizing community sin.
For example, attitudes about what the Confederacy symbolizes today are one of the most noticeable differentiators among these groups. Last year, in a national survey of more than 2,500 Americans, PRRI found that 86 percent of white evangelical Protestants, along with 70 percent of white mainline Protestants and 70 percent of white Catholics, believe that the Confederate flag is more a symbol of southern pride than of racism. By contrast, only 41 percent of white religiously unaffiliated Americans and 16 percent of African American Protestants agree; approximately six in 10 religiously unaffiliated white people and three-quarters of African American Protestants see the Confederate flag mostly as a racist symbol.
Similarly, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of white Christians see the killings of African American men by police as isolated incidents rather than part of a broader pattern. There is some daylight here among white evangelicals (71 percent), white Catholics (63 percent), and white mainline Protestants (59 percent), but the differences are more a matter of degree than kind. And there is a 26-percentage-point gap between white Christians overall and religiously unaffiliated whites (38 percent agree they are isolated incidents) and a nearly 50-percentage-point gap between white Christians and African American Protestants (15 percent agree).
We need to keep at this conversation because we are refusing to recognize our complicity… our sin.
There is an awakening that needs to take place… and it is the American Church. Revive us, O Lord.