How Did Religion Influence The Civil Rights Movement

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After World War II, Black Veterans returned home focused on the promise of democracy, for which they had just finished fighting. The entire country was filled with zeal about democracy and against the fascism they had just defeated. This focus on democracy opened a window for Black Americans to begin to protest segregation and discriminatory laws. Religion, particularly Christianity, was a significant part of the Civil Rights movement. It was also a significant part of the opposition to the Civil Rights movement. Black Independent Churches were small, grassroots movements. These Churches were already adept at organizing community events and included democratic elements. It is no surprise that these Churches lead the Civil Rights Movement. In 1969, The Committee of Black Churchmen put out their “Black Manifesto” where they asked for $15 in reparations for “every Black brother and sister in the United States.” (Harvey and Goff 175) They additionally challenged White Faith leaders to join them or face…show more content…
This is also the period where fundamentalists and evangelicals became politically active. Some, like the Southern Baptist Convention and the Church of Latter Day Saints, supported segregation. The Southern Baptist Convention kept this position until 1995, when it resolved to denounce racism and apologize to African Americans (Southern Baptist Convention). In 1987, the Mormon elders had a revelation that they could include Black people in the priesthood (Church of Latter Day Saints). However, these denominations might be ignoring the message of the Scriptures they promoted. As Gone said, “We must therefore be reminded that Christ was not crucified on an altar between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves. He is not in our peaceful, quiet, comfortable suburban ‘churches’ but in the ghetto fighting the racism of the churchly white people” (Harvey and Goff
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