Jim Wallis on Race and Religion

Instructor: Jim Wallis

It is often said that racism is America’s “original sin.” In 2013, we marked 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation and 50 years since the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s momentous “I have a dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Yet race remains salient in American public life. This was never more evident than in the impassioned reactions to the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman. How is religion a force for racial reconciliation? How is religion involved in maintaining racial division? Does 11 o’clock on Sunday morning remain, as Dr. King lamented in a 1968 sermon at the Washington National Cathedral, “the most segregated hour in America?”

Readings:

Butler, Anthea. “The Zimmerman Acquittal: America’s Racist God.” Rd Magazine. Religion Dispatches, 14 July 2013. Web.

Cannon, Mae Elise. “Why White Evangelical Churches Don’t Wear Hoodies.” Web blog post. huffingtonpost.com. Huffington Post, 2 Aug. 2013. Web.

Cleveland, Christena. “3 Things Privileged Christians Can Learn from the Trayvon Martin Case.” Web blog post. christianitytoday.org. Ed. Ed Stetzer. Christianity Today, 13 July 2013. Web.

Jennings, Willie James. “What Does It Mean to Call “God” a White Racist?” Op-ed. Rd Magazine. Religion Dispatches, 17 July 2013. Web.

Nathan, Rich. “Evangelical Neglect: A History of Race Relations in America.” Web blog post. richnathan.org. Rich Nathan, 14 Mar. 2012. Web.

Ryden, David. Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Racial Reconciliation: The Role of Culture, Politics, and Public Policy. Rep. Fifth Biennial Symposium on Religion and Politics, Calvin College, Apr. 2009. Web.

Wallis, Jim. “Lament from a White Father.” Web blog post. sojo.net. Sojourners, 15 July 2013. Web.

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