Darin Mather on Evangelicals and Racial Attitudes
Date: March 21st, 2011
Are white evangelical Christians becoming more tolerant of other races over time? Darin Mather — a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Minnesota — discusses his recent research on the topic, published in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. Mather finds that younger evangelicals — those born after 1957, the official “end” of the Baby Boom — demonstrate much more tolerant attitudes and greater racial solidarity with minority groups such as African Americans and Hispanics. We discuss some of the reasons why the younger cohort is more tolerant, including greater contact with individuals of different races and ethnicities, as well as exposure to the ideas of toleration that permated the post-Civil Rights Movement. We have a fascinating discussion relating to relativism and examine whether toleration for other cultures necessarily means a change in (perhaps watering down of) one’s theological mindset. Younger evangelicals appear to accept cultural diversity so long as it is accompanies by an agreement on the basical laws of society. We also delve into the area of public policy, noting that younger evangelicals tend to be less supportive of affirmative action and economic assistance to historically disadvantaged communities. Mather offers several speculative ideas on why this might be the case, including the connection of evangelicalism to the South and the Republican Party. We finish with a brief discussion of Darin’s current dissertation research examining the differences between religious and secular education in Guatemala and the impact that has on equality of opportunity for young women. Recorded: March 7, 2011.
Darin Mather’s websiteat the University of Minnesota.
“Divided by Age?: Generational Shifts in White Evangelical Christians’ Attitudes Toward Racial Diversity,” by Darin Mather in the Interdisciplanary Journal of Research on Religion (requires free registration).
Merisa Davis on Bill Cosby, Religion, and African-American Churches.