As you read this post and view the short video clips, consider the following points and feel free to email me or leave a comment as part of the discussion.
1. Based on the historical makings of American culture, can one study contemporary society as it relates to religion without a discussion about race and class?
2. If the world is indeed religious, why do some fail to conflate various faiths and ideological views into one conclusion, as MLK JR and many of his followers have done?
3. Is Christianity indeed socialistic at heart? Feel free to view a previous post on Liberation Theology (click here).
Mark Noll, a prominent scholar of American religion and one that I have heard deliver conference papers before at historical society meetings, contends that the black civil rights era took hold circa 1960 once the black church organized and used Christianity to articulate change to the American segregated way of life. However, many black academics such as students of Martin Luther King Jr., advocated socialism and Hinduism too, as a method to eradicate American racism. As I have noted before here at The Professor, I have long admired the intellectualism of King, which is often lost among many. King’s complexities, are at times, subject to a mere conversation about his great speeches, but I believe his thoughts on the economy and war are more impressive.
King was heavily criticized by some for being an advocate for the distribution of wealth; I am not sure why that surprises so many seeing that blacks encompass a large body of the poor. Moreover, advocating a welfare state that merges with the ideology of the black church, allowed for radical activism in a pacifist way. Furthermore, this attitude shaped by elements of Hinduism, socialism, and Christianity created a birth of change. This was a clear reflection of black intolerance to global imperialism that collapsed due to decolonization, as well as the demise of Jim Crow America.
King believed that the plight of poor whites and poor blacks would create a unified construct that would push society pass the element of race and class, and closer to a more egalitarian society. Some contend that it is at this point in which various religious faiths and socialism are conflated.
Moreover, Noll goes on to address the relationship between blacks and the federal government that promulgated a systematic change; he contends that Americans excepted the expansion of government in this arena, but not in its decisions that created a greater gap between church and state.