Playing Mormon, Playing Indian


In 1869, Lucy Stanton Bassett traveled from New York to Utah, possibly riding on the transcontinental railroad completed that May. When she reached Utah, she was reunited with her parents and children, and she met her grandchildren. For tens of thousands of Americans and Europeans, the journey to Zion was a rite of passage, a [Read More...]

Race and American Christianity

Jesus and I were the only white people in the room. After my freshman year of college, I spent the summer on an uncompensated internship in the Washington, DC, area. (The experience gave me a lasting desire to be compensated for work performed). The internship did come with one perk — free housing in a [Read More...]

Doing Bad to Do Good: Carter’s Race-Baiting Election of 1970

In 1970 Jimmy Carter ran a sordid campaign for governor of Georgia. Courting the support of segregationist George Wallace, Carter used Wallace’s slogan “our kind of man,” which was a barely veiled appeal to the laboring classes who opposed integration. Carter’s campaign workers, who called themselves the “stink tank,” found a photograph showing Carter’s liberal [Read More...]

Mormons, Race, and Slavery


In the middle of 1870, Scipio Africanus Kenner feared losing the girl he loved. For some time, he had been courting Isabel Park with her family’s encouragement. Then, suddenly, Park’s mother cooled on the match and asked Kenner never to visit the home again. Park, however, did not stop seeing Kenner. According to Kenner, Agnes [Read More...]

Evangelical Anti-abolitionists

Robert J. Breckinridge, ca. 1845

Even in slaveholding states, many white Americans were uneasy about the morality of black slavery in the decades that preceded the Civil War. However, there were two things such Americans disliked far more than slavery: black people and abolitionists. According to Luke Harlow’s recently published Religion, Race, and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, those double [Read More...]

More than Ferguson

After the St. Louis County (MO) Grand Jury in Ferguson declined to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, chaos ensued.  Certainly, chaos ensued in the streets of Ferguson as protests turned into riots throughout the city.  At the same time, chaos of a different sort emerged among evangelicals.  In the aggregate, evangelicals [Read More...]

Race, Religion, and Teaching in Prison

Ferguson, MO

The St. Louis County grand jury tasked with determining whether enough evidence exists to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown will announce its decision later this month.  Regardless of the outcome of that inquiry, large groups of people will be disatisfied, even angry.  Unfortunately, their reaction will not be [Read More...]

How the Federal Council of Churches influenced The Sunday School Times


After twenty-one years of marriage, my wife and I know each other pretty well.  We are in that stage of our relationship where we often know what the other person is thinking in a conversation with a third party and can, at times, finish each other’s sentences.  Often, we find ourselves exclaiming, “that’s exactly what [Read More...]

Black religion and Vietnam

Beyond Vietnam

On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. preached at Riverside Church in New York City. In his sermon (listen to it here) he publicly broke ranks with the policies of President Lyndon Johnson and the white liberal establishment (which still largely supported the war) as he condemned American involvement in Vietnam. King articulated what [Read More...]

Evangelicals and Dr. King

Gilbreath Photo

Edward Gilbreath’s Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Epic Challenge to the Church (InterVarsity, 2013) offers both a stirring challenge and a strong dose of hope to American evangelicals. Gilbreath, an editor at large with Christianity Today and executive director of communications for the Evangelical Covenant Church, focuses his gaze at King’s 1963 “Letter from [Read More...]