Charles Marsh: Aside from the obvious social and political reasons for the white churches, white Protestant churches… what was there about the nature of the gospel that the white Protestant church proclaimed Sunday after Sunday after Sunday that militated so much against social change and against reconciliation?
Ed King: ...these same white Protestant churches… but most members of the white Jewish synagogue were good southerners and conservative, and religion helped you adjust personally in the world and most Catholics, so something we can spot easier in the Protestant, but I think it was basically in American religion of self-sufficiency, self-success, a little bit of love of neighbor; but neighbor defined very carefully within a network, usually the church itself defined who the neighbor was. If you were in a medium sized town, your neighbor might even be Presbyterian, you might be Methodist. You might really not belong to the same local parish church, but the neighbors were people exactly like you and religion was personal salvation. To be affirmed within a congregation and recognized as within the norms by other Christians.
CM: Will Campbell said he could get up at any small Baptist church and preach 2nd Corinthians, Galalations 3, wonderful passages about… our reconciliation to the others through Christ and so forth, and he would get Amen, and Amens and Amens and then when he went and he said… what exactly this means in terms of your relationship to your black neighbor is this, you'd be run out of town. There's an odd dichotomy between the acclamation and the application.
EK: Many of us had confidence in the American dilemma, in that theory, we were using, in the Civil Rights Movement, if you can show the contradiction… 'A' - the rest of America and Washington which doesn't know what's going on will help but the truth was middle class Lutherans in a republican community in Nebraska didn't know what was going on but Washington did. But we had that idea, the other part of the American dilemma was that white southerners were Americans and Christians and if we could show up through nonviolent demonstration, where you didn't frighten them quite as much as with the violence of the was slavery was solved. I still belong to the school that thinks, in another 50 years, Lincoln will not be looked upon as a savior and a great leader but he and Jefferson Davis and all will be classified as massive failures, and I think the enormous suffering the South went through in the gave a rationale for oppression of blacks for the next 100 years. It doesn't give a rationale for northern whites to be racist, but northern whites don't have as much religion, southern whites had the religion which at one point, Methodist, Southern Baptist, most of these denominations, in their early stages, were anti-slavery.