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Mississippi PrayingSouthern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975$
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Carolyn Renée Dupont

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814708415

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814708415.001.0001

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“A Strange and Serious Christian Heresy”

“A Strange and Serious Christian Heresy”

Massive Resistance and the Religious Defense of Segregation

(p.79) 4 “A Strange and Serious Christian Heresy”
Mississippi Praying

Carolyn Renée Dupont

NYU Press

This chapter demonstrates how the biblical case for racial segregation enjoyed a renaissance after the Brown decision because religion itself seemed a threat to southern apartheid. Religious assaults on segregation included the major denominations' support for Brown, the faith-based activism of many black leaders, and the growing conviction that the Christian faith mandated racial equality. The religious case for segregation took various guises in the form of an influential phenomenon Paul Harvey described as “segregationist folk theology.” Mississippi lawmakers in the post-Brown era wanted to give a legal and political expression to the divine plan for the races, offering protection to congregations that perceived a danger to segregation from their own denominations. Yet, many white Mississippians, convinced that their racial system lay safe in the church's hands, objected to this intrusion of the state into religious affairs.

Keywords:   racial segregation, Brown case, black activism, racial equality, segregationist folk theology, Paul Harvey, white Mississippians

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