Fear of a Black Pulpit? Real Racial Transcendence Versus Cultural Assimilation in Multiracial Churches


Correspondence should be addressed to Richard N. Pitt, Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235-7749. E-mail: r.pitt@vanderbilt.edu


The growing literature on multiracial churches tends to take the position that religious values can be influential in promoting racially inclusive religious communities. Martioffers further evidence for this argument: cosmetic changes predominately white churches make to their worship, music, and leadership in order to attract/retain “race-conscious” black congregants. In this response, I argue that these churches do not cause blacks to transcend their race consciousness. They merely offer havens for those blacks who have already transcended their race enough to pursue membership in these religious communities. I conclude with a challenge to scholars in this line of research to add evidence of religion's ability to promote racial transcendence for “race-conscious” white congregants.