Chapter

Publics, Prosperity, and Politics: The Changing Face of African American Christianity and Black Political Life

Eddie Glaude

in Crediting God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233199
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823233212 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823233199.003.0016
Publics, Prosperity, and               Politics: The Changing Face of African American Christianity and Black Political               Life

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This chapter puts into context the tension between religious and racial identities in the civil religion of the United States in relation to black churches. It brings to bear the viewpoint of American pragmatism, which is arguably irreducible to either secularization theory or to Tocqueville's critique thereof. In particular, it offers an alternative way to understand the relation between religion and public sphere, which follows Dewey's conception of publics. But the chapter also discusses the phenomenon of “megachurches” in ways that help to clarify the meaning of “self-interest properly understood,” the idea that belief in God “pays,” within the context of African American religion and the overdetermined relation between contestation and search for prosperity found in black churches.

Keywords: civil religion; racial identity; American pragmatism; megachurches; black churches; African American religion

Chapter.  8342 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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