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Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars [Kindle Edition]

Sikivu Hutchinson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 280 pages
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Book Description

The word atheism elicits shock, dread, anger, and revulsion among most African Americans. They view atheism as “amoral,” heresy, and race betrayal. Historically, the Black Church was a leading force in the fight for racial justice. Today, many black religious leaders have aligned themselves with the Religious Right. While black communities suffer economically, the Black Church is socially conservative on women’s rights, abortion, same sex marriage, and church/state separation. These religious “values wars” have further solidified institutional sexism and homophobia in black communities. Yet, drawing on a rich tradition of African American free thought, a growing number of progressive African American non-believers are openly questioning black religious and social orthodoxies.
Moral Combat provides a provocative analysis of the political and religious battle for America’s soul. It examines the hijacking of civil rights by Christian fascism; the humanist imperative of feminism and social justice; the connection between K-12 education and humanism; and the insidious backlash of Tea Party-style religious fundamentalism against progressive social welfare public policy. Moral Combat also reveals how atheists of color are challenging the whiteness of “New Atheism” and its singular emphasis on science at the expense of social and economic justice.

In Moral Combat, Sikivu Hutchinson highlights the cultural influence of African American humanist and atheist social thought in America. She places this tradition within the broader context of public morality and offers a far-reaching vision for critically conscious humanism


Product Details

  • File Size: 493 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Infidel Books (June 3, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0054E72OE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,100 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly informative! March 29, 2011
Format:Paperback
I was one of the first to buy Hutchinson's new book, and after reading it, we interviewed her on Freethought Radio. It is a wonderful book! Well, if I can use the word "wonderful" to describe a sometimes disturbing deep-and-wide look at how religion (especially Christianity) has harmed the African-American community, as well as a look at how to rise above such harm.

Sikivu is an amazing scholar and writer, with the courage to "betray her culture" (as some would see it) by renouncing the religion that gives so much comfort and identity to so many people. But she does it with grace, inviting readers to escape dogmatic dependency and embrace reason, science, and humanistic morality.

And she challenged me, one of the "leaders" in the freethought community (although every freethinker is a leader), to be more sensitive to the concerns of minorities. (I am a "minority" myself, as a member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, but you can barely tell by looking. And although my tribe suffered tremendous upheaval, discrimination and persecution by the European Christian invaders, my current life is not affected to the same degree that the lives of the descendants of African-American slaves are still being affected.) Reading Hutchinson, I realize we need to be more concerned with the socio-economic issues with which people are struggling, not just the intellectual and state-church issues.

When I bought Moral Combat, I was expecting a nice treatise by a nice humanist woman, and I got that -- but so much more! Hutchinson is truly a scholar, well-read, portraying the broad historical and social landscape, illustrated with up-close tales of store-front churches and brave activism.

Dan Barker
Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation
Co-host of Freethought Radio
author of Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Ms. Hutchinson clarifies how black women and children are particularly impacted by the insistance of their families and communities that they conform to belief in God and religious dogma, how black atheists are villified and the negative effects of such attitudes on any black person who dares to question the efficacy of religious beliefs. Ms. Hutchinson is unapologetic about her views. An enlightening read.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Jolt March 24, 2011
Format:Paperback
Informative. Inspirational. Politically relevant. A thorough intellectual critique of American culture, especially religion in the black community. It presents humanism as a vital means to our existence. Some books are a must read but this one goes beyond that requirement.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Dare You To Read This Book! November 26, 2012
Format:Paperback
If you want to learn about atheism and exactly what it means, this is probably not the book for you. But, if you are interested in how and why atheism is such a critical matter for many black atheists then this is the book for you. Sikivu Hutchinson is a wordsmith, but she is also a very dedicated feminist, writer, activist and scholar. To date, there is not one book written by a single atheist that has articulated such a solid, straight and timely message about the socio-political implications of atheism, and their connections to the struggle for human freedom. In this text, Hutchinson has structured a very important analysis of the many factors that have given shape to black atheist identity and politics. Her analysis of these factors converges at the point where being atheist is also affected by race, class, gender, sexuality and discourses about social justice, especially as they are articulated in African-American communities . If you are a believer, look no further. Read this book before you formulate any opinions about what it means to be black, atheist and socially conscious. If you are questioning or doubting your faith, then study this book. It will provide you with an accurate and thoughtful landscape about the politics of atheism, even as they are experienced and discussed among atheists, especially by white atheists. If you are an atheist, no matter what your color, gender, sexuality or class position, treasure it. You will come back to Moral Combat again and again for support and for guidance as you continue to encounter a world that refuses to understand what it means to be a freethinker dedicated to critical thinking and to self-actualization on one's own terms and not through a belief in God or religion. Indeed, as an ex-Christian minister and a very proud black atheist, I dare you to read this book. You will not be disappointed!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening! July 17, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Value Wars by Sikivu Hutchinson

"Moral Combat" is an enlightening book about the current struggle of black humanist atheist beliefs from a feminist point of view. This informative 280-page book is composed of the following eight chapters: 1. "Out of the Closet": Black Atheists in Moral Combat, 2. This Far by Faith? Race traitors and Gender Apostates, 3. The Politics of Urban Religiosity, 4. Black Infidels: Secular Humanism and African American Social Thought, 5. Not Knocking on Heaven's Door, 6. In God We Trust: Whiteness and Public Morality, 7. The White Stuff: New Atheism and Its Discontents, and 8. The Road Ahead.

Positives:
1. Well researched, elegant and passionate prose.
2. I love books that provides me with a unique and new perspective on topics that I care about and this book does exactly that.
3. A book with conviction. Ms. Hutchinson provides compelling arguments for all her positions.
4. Great use of studies and well grounded references to back up her points.
5. This is the first book that makes it perfectly clear to me why African Americans embraced Christianity. With a number of well conceived explanations that hammers the point home. Bravo!
6. The key differences between black and white atheists.
7. An understanding of African American politics.
8. The courage to come out as an atheist in the black community.
9. The role of patriarchy and its impact.
10. The stranglehold of religion in the African American community.
11. Great wisdom throughout, "When the language of a given creed opposes human rights, no moral high ground can be claimed."
12. Religion and economics.
13. The dangers of faith based initiatives.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent information
I see how the church is keeping blacks back. The literal interpretation of the bible causes black men to think that women must be submissive to them. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Searcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Free at last from christian religiosity hypocrisy!
Like Sikivu, I too am A Woman of Color, Atheist, Humanist. Moral Combat is an outstanding book, mirrors my journey.
Published 4 months ago by UN-Rev Loyce
5.0 out of 5 stars Eloquently written. This book speaks to me. This ...
Eloquently written. This book speaks to me. This is a must read for all Christians who are bent on trying to convert atheists to Christianity. Dr. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Reggie
5.0 out of 5 stars An scholarly and eloquent critique of US cultural and secular affairs.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - it's a shame Sikivu Hutchinson isn't included in the upper echelon of the "New Atheist" movement. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sincere
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold, brave, and essential
What a wonderful, hard-hitting, insightful, provocative, and needed book.

I can't say that I agreed with every nook and cranny, but I certainly appreciated/admired the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Phil Zuckerman
5.0 out of 5 stars She's done it Again!
Again a force for the thoughtful, Dr. Hutchinson has offered an excellent perspective for the uninitiated regarding the space religion occupies in the oppression of not only people... Read more
Published 21 months ago by genethia
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting read!
Riveting read - really makes you think...

With enviable incisiveness, Dr. Hutchinson deconstructs the role and power of religion in the US, drawing a compelling contrast... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Yardie Bibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars One point to make
This is an excellent work. The only thing I would add is that the book reads more like a series of essays rather than a work that follows a natural progression. Read more
Published on May 26, 2013 by Joyce
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book now!
"In an era in which African American communities nationwide are in socioeconomic crisis, the cultural dominance of organized religion merits critical evaluation. Read more
Published on May 1, 2013 by Christopher Cameron
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, Insightful, and AMAZING
I LOVE this book. It was great insight into how religion in the black community intersects with so many other social problems that we as African Americans face. Read more
Published on September 19, 2012 by Vida Starr
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More About the Author

Sikivu Hutchinson is a writer and senior intergroup specialist for the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission. She received a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University and has taught women's studies, cultural studies, urban studies and education at UCLA, the California Institute of the Arts and Western Washington University. She is the author of Imagining Transit: Race, Gender, and Transportation Politics in Los Angeles (Lang, 2003) and Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars (Infidel Books, 2011), Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels (Infidel Books, 2013) and has published fiction, essays and critical theory in Social Text, California English, Black Agenda Report, Free Inquiry and the Humanist Magazine. She is the editor of blackfemlens.org and a senior fellow for the Institute for Humanist Studies.

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