Racial Diversity, Gender Equality, and SES Diversity in Christian Congregations: Exploring the Connections of Racism, Sexism, and Classism in Multiracial and Nonmultiracial Churches


should be addressed to George Yancey, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, P.O. Box 311157, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203-1157, U.S.A.


We explore the possibility that racially inclusive churches are also more inclusive in SES and supportive of gender equality. We used the Lilly Survey of Congregations to compare SES diversity and attitudes toward female leadership between multiracial and nonmultiracial churches. Findings indicate that multiracial churches promote SES diversity, but not necessarily gender equality. The relationship is straightforward as it concerns SES diversity, as multiracial churches are more likely to exhibit SES diversity than nonmultiracial churches. However, we found that a good deal of the propensity of multiracial churches to support gender equality is tied to the size of cities in which they are located. Further, theology acts as a suppressor variable in that conservative multiracial churches are less supportive of gender equality than other conservative churches, while progressive multiracial churches are more supportive of gender equality than other progressive churches.