Racial diversity and American religion

FT_15.07.23_religionDiversityIndex-1

We Unitarian Universalists value diversity and try to welcome all people, regardless of race.  So why are we so much more racially homogeneous than the Seventh Day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses?

I think the reason is that the intensity of the Adventists’ and Witnesses’ belief in their dogmas makes other considerations, such as race, unimportant.  The same thing is true of the Bahai.

We UUs are a big tent in terms of religious belief (even if relatively few people are under it).  But a non-creedal religion is something that college-educated white people tend to want more than people of other ethnicities and backgrounds do.

Should we give up our distinctive trait in order to broaden our appeal?  I don’t think that anybody—white or black—would want to affiliate with a group of people who are embarrassed about what they are.

One question that this chart raises is whether diversity within groups is compatible with diversity among groups.

I wouldn’t want to see the African Methodist Episcopal Church or the National Baptist Convention give up their identity as black churches.  And I don’t see how you could have a strong AME Church if the United Methodists recruited a large number of their members.

Likewise, it may be the case that the Missouri Synod Lutherans or the Evangelical Lutheran Church have traditions thjat are more meaningful to Germans or German-Americans than to the general public..

Religion is supposed to express universal values, but these values are rooted in particular heritages.  Get rid of these heritages and there might not be much left.

LINK

The most and least racially diverse U.S. religious groups by Pew Research.

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2 Responses to “Racial diversity and American religion”

  1. Anne Tanner Says:

    I think I’d need to see how the study was done–78 atheists represent all nonbelievers? Data supplied by national religious bodies? etc. But I like your point about why the data might be true and yet not a whole story of the situation.

    Like

    • philebersole Says:

      The number 78 represents the percentage of atheists in the survey who are white.

      The figures are based on the 2014 Pew Religious Landscape Study, which was a survey of 35,000 Americans supposedly representing a cross-section of the population. I don’t know how many were atheists.

      Like

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