The Religion & Culture Web Forum
Seeking a Prophet: How Religion Mediates the Relationship between Black America and the U.S. Presidents
by Melissa Harris
University of Chicago
This month, Melissa Harris Lacewell of the University of Chicago examines the complex relationship between African Americans and the American President, the public face of the United States Government. In this draft version of an upcoming paper, Professor Harris Lacewell focuses on the determining influence of the black church in this relationship.
The black church also offers African Americans unique religious ideas and organic theologies that distinguish black religiosity. These theologies of the black church are rooted in specific understandings of biblical texts that grow out of black experiences of bondage and oppression. The black church is not only an organizational space that gives rise to unique racial and cultural formations, but also an interpreter of the black experience in America that gives rise to unique theological formulations....
African American commitment to and emphasis on Old Testament prophets is important for understanding black public opinion relative to the presidents. I propose that the ideal of the prophet of social justice and equality is the standard against which black America judges American presidents....
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