Frederick of Black Skeptics points out that religion hasn’t been as good to African Americans as Be Scofield would like you to think:
In referring to Dr King and the civil rights movement, Scofield also falls into the trap of “the Civil Rights Movement, Brought To You By Black Church”…a bit of historical revisionism that ignores, as professor Anthony Pinn points out, the secular philosophical influences, and that King himself complained that most the black churches were not involved and were not supportive. When Scofield, in a follow-up comment says “Imagine if much of the passion and fire that characterizes much of the New Atheist community could be directed towards the racial, class and patriarchal oppression that believers experience rather than their beliefs about God or heaven”, he appears ignorant of the degree to which specific beliefs about God or heaven reinforce racial, class, heterosexist and patriarchal oppression. When he speaks approvingly of the work of the Metro Community Church with respect to AIDS, he misses the other side of the coin, in which the black church virtually ignored the AIDS crisis unfolding in its own choir pews. African Americans are most likely to believe in literal interpretations of the Bible; this phenomenon buttresses homophobic and sexist dynamics within the black religious community. The beliefs are therefore not separate from the social justice issues, they are part and parcel, and challenging them is most definitely relevant.
Yes African Americans have to some degree adapted religious institutions to positive purposes. At the same time, the $65 million West Angeles Church of God in Christ monstrosity on Crenshaw Boulevard has hardly brought $65 million worth of improvement to the lives of the residents of South Los Angeles. The presence of churches on every corner in black communities certainly hasn’t done much to cure the social ills. And this phenomenon, and the beliefs that undergird it, are most definitely appropriate targets of criticism.
Also, for pure lulz, I love this paragraph:
When the Scofields and Karen Armstrongs of the world talk about how the new atheists just aren’t aware of the liberal, tolerant, sativa smoking, feminist, genderqueer god concept, my response is “I don’t believe in that motherfucker, either.” She’s just as poorly evidenced as the old fashioned patriarchal god. She’s also not the predominant god concept impacting the African American community.