A new study found that 29 percent of Black practicing Christians say they have experienced racial prejudice in multiracial churches.
According to the Barna Research Group and the Racial Justice and Unity Center study, just 1/10th reported the same in monoracial Black churches. The study is titled Beyond Diversity: What the Future of Racial Justice Will Require of US Churches.
Barna Group defined “practicing Christians” as Christians who say their faith is important and have attended church services in the past month. A multiracial church is where no one ethnic or racial group makes up more than 60 percent of the congregation.
Christianity Today reports that the study included nearly 3,000 U.S. adults, with 1,300 of them identifying as “practicing Christians.”
“Racial injustice is like a disease,” writes Michael Emerson, co-principal investigator, in the report’s welcome. “Our research has found that the disease has not gone away even as the supposed antibodies of multiracial churches have multiplied. Racial injustice has mutated into new forms, and it has proven highly resistant to the antibodies of multiracial church.”
Emerson, a white man and advocate of multiracial churches, added that “given our times, homogeneous congregations led by people of color can serve as a safe haven for people of color and be strong voices for justice.”
Glenn Bracey, a Black man and one of the co-principal investigators for the research study, said in the report that the new study aims “to uplift the Church—not to shame it.”
“It appears that racial divisions and stereotypes in society are not only present, but often more concentrated, in the Church,” he said.
In other findings, the study revealed:
- Black practicing Christians are more than twice as likely as white practicing Christians to link racial inequalities in housing, incoming and jobs to discrimination.
- White practicing Christians are almost three times as likely as Black practicing Christians to say that inequality happens “because many Black fathers leave their families.”
- About 48 percent of White practicing Christians in multiracial churches agreed that “historically, the U.S. has been oppressive to minorities.”
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.