White Christians are less likely to believe and value the experiences of black Americans than non-Christian whites, according to a recently released Public Religion Research Institute survey.
Huffington Post reports the survey shows that while about 80 percent of black Christians believe police-involved killings – like the ones that killed Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, and so many more — are part of a larger pattern of police treatment of African Americans, around 70 percent of white Christians believe the opposite – that they are simply isolated incidents.
The Public Religion Research Institute reports:
White Christians are more likely than members of other religious groups – or whites as a whole – to say that the recent killings are not part of a broader pattern. More than seven in ten white evangelical Protestants (72 percent), white mainline Protestants (73 percent), and white Catholics (71 percent) believe that the killings of African American men by police are isolated incidents.
More to the point, the survey shows the numbers drop to around 65 percent when all whites, Christians and non-Christians, are surveyed. Thus, white Christians are as a whole less likely to believe the experiences of black Americans than non-Christian whites.
In his new book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, Jim Wallis, a progressive Christian writer and political activist, notes that racism is truly our nation’s original sin, declaring:
It’s time we right this unacceptable wrong.
In his new book, Wallis offers a call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society. In so doing Wallis speaks candidly to Christians – particularly white Christians – urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing.
And while it is significant that white non-Christians are more likely to believe and value the experience of black Americans, the numbers for all whites are still too high.
The rampant abuse and killing of black people by law enforcement officers, and broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system, continues to haunt the nation, and go far deeper than religious affiliation.
Bottom line: Black lives matter. The extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes are not isolated incidents, but part of a larger problem of police corruption and abuse that systematically targets African Americans.