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Race, Religion, and the Continuing American Dilemma Paperback – May 17, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

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"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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang; Rev Sub edition (May 17, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809016230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809016235
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,031,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl A. Zaleski on April 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Responsibility without power is slavery. Power without responsibility is tyranny".
Nestled within the opening pages of C.Eric Lincoln's book, the above quote let's you know you should strap yourself in for a soul-searching ride. Lincoln covers a lot of ground in this book - he looks at the structure of power in America from the 1600's to the present, the formation of the Black church as a cultural necessity, which was formed by borrowing the only religion offered (though incompletely and bastardized as it was) to Blackamericans (as he refers to them), and how Christianity has become more concerned with preserving Western culture than promoting values of the faith. He also puts forth an admirable argument for preserving affirmative action, and how the struggles of Blackamericans are different from any other minority or ethnic group, and should be treated as such.
Nevertheless,the reason for four stars and not five is that Lincoln seems to say the Black Christian church can't be held responsible for doing anything more in the struggle to change the present imbalance in America - that they are already morally superior to any other religious offering out there.
Guess it's just my problem with Christianity in general...
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By K Stever on January 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would like to think that if Lincoln wrote this book in today's society he would be much more pleased and provide words of hope and satsifaction. However, that is not the case. I enjoyed "Dilemma" because it provided a look into what America can do to fix its wrongs. But America still keeps messing things up. So if anything, I would like to see Lincoln come out with an updated version and have it include anger, frustration, and disappointment and maybe even a different message for a solution.
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By revhj on February 5, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
received as promised
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