State of the Multiethnic Church and Social Justice

Race, Religious Organizations, and Integration
by Korie L. Edwards, Brad Christerson, and Michael O. Emerson
Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 39: 211 -228 (Volume publication date July 2013)

Abstract: "We review the bourgeoning literature on multiracial religious organizations. Although scholars have paid attention to racial integration in congregations since the 1940s, only recently has there been a concerted focus on this topic. This article—having reviewed the state of the field—argues that research on this topic must engage in three vital labors: explore more theory building or theory extension, interact with the broader field of sociology, and explicate how religious racial diversity contributes to or dismantles systems of social stratification. We discuss possible paths and approaches for future research on race, religion, and integration."

From the introduction: "Religious congregations in the United States are ubiquitous—currently there are well over 300,000. To put that number in context, religious congregations are more common than Subways, McDonald's, Burger Kings, Wendy's, Starbucks, Pizza Huts, KFCs, Taco Bells, Domino's Pizzas, Dunkin' Donuts, Quiznos, and Dairy Queens combined and multiplied by three. And these congregations represent millions of Americans. In fact, most Americans regularly participate in or visit a congregation in any given year."

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Alternatively, read this excellent summary of this journal article by Christena Cleveland at "So you wanna be a diverse church? Here's how."

"... recent research on racial integration and religious organizations and helps us understand issues such as why segregated churches persist and what churches can do to become more diverse. Their findings provide an insightful, data-driven road map for those of us who are seeking to understand and pursue racial diversity in our congregations." The summary also includes the predictive factors of churches that are most likely to be diverse.

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