Noted Duke religion professor C. Eric Lincoln examines the contradictions between the American religious ideals of love and brotherhood and the betrayal of those ideals by the white citizens who preach them the most, as well as the practical applications of those beliefs by the black church. "In the larger sense," he writes, "this is a book about America, a self-perceived 'nation under God....' In a more intimate sense, it is a perplexing American phenomenon: the strange rapprochement between church and society, which continues to embarrass the faith, vitiate the society, and saddle both with a burdensome dilemma that seems to persist despite the fervor of our religion." Picking up where Gunner Myrdal's classic An American Dilemma
left off, Lincoln describes the liberation theology of African American Christianity--from the motherland to the Americas--and the history of its adherents' struggle for social democracy and justice; he also notes the help offered by equally progressive white congregations. He painfully recounts the late-20th-century assaults on black churches and the problem of police brutality, which he names "the Fuhrmanization of justice" after LAPD detective (and O.J. Simpson trial celebrity) Mark Fuhrman. Drawing from biblical heroes, Lincoln ultimately prophesizes that "racial reconciliation will require the sacrificial spirit of Abraham, the tenacity of Moses, the wisdom of Solomon, and the unshakable faith that being American is worth what it takes to save America from itself." --Eugene Holley Jr.
"Well researched and provocative."--The Sun (Baltimore)
"Even those of us who fancy we know something of the history of race relations in America have much to learn from Eric Lincoln . . . Race, Religion, and the Continuing American Dilemma is not only informative; it is a powerful antidote to the complacency arising from the significant progress of the last 30 years . . .It's easy to forget, or not to notice, how the nation's unfinished work looks from the black perspective. Lincoln, in offering that perspective, is a passionate, colorful, contentious writer . . . [who] achieves a considerable power and eloquence."--The Washington Post