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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 (33 customer reviews)

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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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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,349 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 47 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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20 of 21 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 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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly book April 30, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I did not come to atheism through reading any materials from any leading atheist, or humanist. I hail from a place (Grenada) that is almost 100% religious. In fact, I had never heard of an Atheist, black or white. My road to atheism was through the bizarre road of Afro-centrism, which, although condemn the Bible (as part of white supremacy) promote sexism, supernaturalism and hatred for any worldviews outside of that framework. Thus, although I was able to make it off this road, my atheistic views was narrowly built upon just condemning the Bible and white supremacy. However, Moral Combat has helped me to refine my own atheism. Sikivu Hutchinson has literally reconverted me, so to speak. She has laid out what it is to be a "real" atheist, humanist. Sikivu Hutchinson has laid out a solid framework that I, as a, black man, a Caribbean atheist, can expand my atheism thought processes, and it will certainly help you broaden your atheism views beyond your comfort zone. Indeed, Moral Combat is a breath of fresh air, and all people, especially black men and women all over the world, should read it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 8 days 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 5 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 12 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 13 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 16 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 17 months ago 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 18 months ago by Christopher Cameron
5.0 out of 5 stars I Dare You To Read This Book!
If you want to learn about atheism and exactly what it means, this is probably not the book for you. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeing Into The Distance
There is a line in Maya Angelou's poem "In and Out of Time" that speaks to what Sikivu Hutchinson's book Moral Combat brings to the new atheist movement. Read more
Published on August 13, 2012 by Anti_Intellect
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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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