Race, Ethnicity and Politics

Race and Faith: The Role of Congregations in Racial Justice



In the summer of 2020, catalyzed by the killing of George Floyd, some places of worship more fully entered the conversation on race. Religious traditions often have tools for conflict resolution, repentance, and even reconciliation. How are congregations and religious leaders using the tools of religion to engage questions of racial justice? Our answers come through a multimethod data set collected over two years: (a) surveys of 2,293 congregants from 35 diverse congregations find that race relations is the issue they most want their place of worship to address; (b) 90 sermons from 15 congregations reveal how clergy talked about race in the weeks after Floyd’s murder depended on racial background; (c) 21 clergy interviews illustrate differences in how clergy use religion to engage on racial issues; and (d) interviews with seven national leaders and focus groups with six congregations resulted in a collection of publicly-available faith-based racial justice resources.


Thumbnail image of Glazier, Driskill, Hanson, Race and Faith, APSA 2022, Paper and Appendix.pdf

Supplementary weblinks

Little Rock Congregations Study Project Website
Resources mentioned in the paper are available on this website.


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