Race relations is probably the most important problem agitating the Christian conscience today. Secular integrationists are calling upon the Church to speak to the problem—assuming that if it “spoke,” it would call for the solution that the integrationists demand. As a matter of fact the Church has spoken and is speaking, but it does not speak with one voice. The cleavage is particularly apparent if one avoids that un-Protestant confusion of the voice of the clergy with the “voice of the Church.” Since the Supreme Court decision of 1954, the issue has been focused in terms of “segregation” versus “integration.” Within this framework Christian integrationists champion their position as “the Christian way” and dismiss the views of segregationists as naive or prejudiced.
Most of the integrationist press treats the question as if all segregationist thinking stemmed from emotional, ignorant or ulterior motives. Religious periodicals, with some exceptions, tend to identify integration with Christianity and segregation with the forces of iniquity. This attitude is not just an oversimplification; it is a basic distortion of the issues. It identifies the principle of segregation with certain evils in segregation-in-practice. It illogically leapfrogs from the proposition, “Integration is concordant with Christian race relations,” to the contention, “Integration is necessary for Christian race relations.” Finally, it ignores the injustices present in integration-in-practice in the North, and the evil implicit in a consistent integrationist philosophy.
A Southern Point Of View
Few Southerners—certainly few Christians—will defend in toto ...1
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