Getting Right With God

Getting Right With God : Southern Baptists and Desegregation, 1945-1995

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This groundbreaking study finds Southern Baptists more diverse in their attitudes toward segregation than previously assumed. Focusing on the eleven states of the old Confederacy, Getting Right with God examines the evolution of Southern Baptists' attitudes toward African Americans during a tumultuous period of change in the United States. Mark Newman not only offers an in-depth analysis of Baptist institutions from the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and state conventions to colleges and churches but also probes beyond these by examining the response of pastors and lay people to changing race relations. The SBC long held that legal segregation was in line with biblical teachings, but after the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision in favor of desegregating public institutions, some Southern Baptists found an inconsistency in their basic beliefs. Newman identifies three major blocs of Baptist opinion about race relations: a hard-line segregationist minority that believed God had ordained slavery in the Bible; a more moderate majority that accepted the prevailing social order of racial segregation; and a progressive group of lay people, pastors, and denominational leaders who criticized and ultimately rejected discrimination as contrary to biblical teachings. According to Newman, the efforts of the progressives to appeal to Baptists' primary commitments and the demise of de jure segregation caused many moderate and then hard-line segregationists to gradually relinquish their views, leading to the 1995 apology by the Southern Baptist Convention for its complicity in slavery and racism. Comparing Southern Baptists to other major white denominations, Newman concludes that lay Baptists differed little from other white southerners in their response to segregation.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 312 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 22.86mm | 498.95g
  • Alabama, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0817357378
  • 9780817357375
  • 1,532,088

Review quote

"Mark Newman's Getting Right with God is a useful survey of the Southern Baptist response to racial change in the South after World War II. . . . Newman amassed a substantial amount of evidence and traces very well the diversity of experiences Southern Baptists had with racial changes."--"Journal of Baptist Studies" "Mark Newman's book on the struggles among Southern Baptists over the civil rights movement and racial desegregation in the latter half of the twentieth century is a valuable scholarly account."--"Journal of Church and State" "This is a splendid book. Newman has put his finger on the pulse of this denomination as it wrestled with a key moral issue."--"Journal of Southern History
"
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About Mark Newman

Mark Newman is Professor of American Studies at the University of Derby, UK.
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