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October 18th, 2010
10:25 AM ET

Reverend: If Heaven is integrated, why not churches?

Editor's Note: CNN's Soledad O'Brien looks at how some are fighting debt from the pulpit in "Almighty Debt: A Black in America Special," premiering at 9 p.m. ET on October 21.

The Rev. Mark Whitlock's church practices what he calls the 11th commandment: "Thou shalt not be boring."

Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Orange County, California, also practices something many other black churches don't: integration.

"We're fully integrated in the workplace, schools, public restaurants everywhere, except the church," Whitlock told CNN. "It's still the most segregated place on Sunday in the United States. Our goal is to do what heaven has already done. Heaven is fully integrated."

But most churches aren't. Nine of 10 churches are segregated, according to an analysis by Christopher P. Scheitle and Kevin D. Dougherty published in the August addition of the journal Socialogical Inquiry. For the purposes of the paper, "segregated" meant 80 percent of a church's members were of one race.

"People choose churches where they feel comfortable. Maybe they get challenges there, but they're going for the comfort," says Dougherty, a sociology professor at Baylor University in Texas.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Black issues • Christianity • Church • Race

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Sari

    Muneef

    We have a saying that says " Rather than giving a poor person a fish every day to feed on it would be much better if you show him how to catch fish for him self".
    Therefore sending food for those starving will not help them out but will make them more dependent on it , and the best way is to give them food for the start with other Agriculture&Irrigation equipment's to have them work and grow their own coming needs of food and that is the most correct proceedures for all needy in the world.

    Very good idea Muneef. Thanks for sharing that.

    October 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
    • Raison

      @Sari

      i agree. Muneef made a good point. But it takes time to grow stuff on-site, so a stop-gap measure of help would need food to be sent along with the agricultural stuff. And education can ensure that effective growing techniques are used over larger areas, among other things...

      October 19, 2010 at 7:32 am |
    • JohnQuest

      That is a really good policy and one that I agree with, as long as there is water to irrigate and seeds to plant. I am a capitalist by birth I think all people should stand up for themselves but as long as we are throwing away more food than most countries eat, being generous doesn't cost us anything.

      October 19, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  2. Gary

    Church is a social gathering. Nothing supernatural about it. Church is a place where like minded same race folks gather to gossip,date, cheat on spouses. religion is a total joke and church is the joke house...

    October 18, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  3. Reality

    The Vatican and B16 are typically out of touch with the world but when it comes to the problem with condoms, they have a point as Guttmacher Insti-tute statistics show that male con-doms fail 17.4% of the time because men do not know how to use them, the con-doms leak and/or men leave them in their pockets because the would-be users are in a se-xual and/or drug-induced stu-por.

    As per the CDC, there are 19 million cases of STD's in the USA and one million abortions annually. Simple math shows that part of these horrific epidemics is due to condom failures.

    October 18, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Reality

      Hey Pal... Again, every time you say... "B16".... I just want to scream ...."Bingo".... 🙂

      October 18, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • Reality

      Peace2All,

      Apparently, you are "bingo challenged" 🙂 . There is no B16 on a bingo card.

      "U.S. bingo cards are 5×5 squares, with the columns labeled B-I-N-G-O and with spots contains numbers between 1 and 75. The center square typically is a free spot, and often has the word "free" printed on it.

      Column B contains numbers 1 – 15
      Column I contains numbers 16 – 30
      Column N contains numbers 31 – 45
      Column G contains numbers 46 – 60
      Column O contains numbers 61 – 75
      There are 552,446,474,061,128,648,601,600,000 different cards possible."

      Now you are no longer "bingo challenged" 🙂 🙂

      October 18, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Reality

      Thank you..... I knew I could count on you to set the record straight. Thank you for putting me through one of your 'de-programming' interventions.. 🙂

      Now, when I enter the later stages of life, if I choose to play bingo..... I will have you to thank, because you 'schooled' me.. 🙂

      Thanks Bro... Hope that you are well.....

      October 19, 2010 at 3:45 am |
    • Peace2All

      ....STILL Laughin....!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!

      Thanks buddy... that was 'vintage' Reality...

      Made my sides hurt with that one 🙂

      October 19, 2010 at 3:48 am |
    • Raison

      XD
      Just laughin my ass off.
      Oh, Reality, I love you man!
      (what about bingo cards in the UK?) 😛

      October 19, 2010 at 7:21 am |
  4. Reality

    From the topic comments: "We're fully integrated in the workplace, schools, public restaurants everywhere, except the church," Hmmm, it appears Soledad forgot the neighborhoods in the USA which are in most part still segregated i.e. the real reason most churchs are still segregated.

    And besides the mostly white hierarchy of the Catholic Church controls the entry into Heaven so don't expect much in the way of a rapid intergration of said spirit state. Which brings up another question, do souls have color?

    October 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      I was talking to my soul just the other day, it is definitely platinum in color, about 7 feet tall, and good looking (if I do say so myself).

      October 19, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  5. David Johnson

    I just hope the atheist section of Heaven is as nice as the Christian section.

    October 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      I hope they serve beer in hell.

      October 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • Bob o' Bob

      Actually, Atheist hell is actually heaven. The Christians will spend eternity trying to convince atheists that their belief in heaven was logical because it turned out they were right.

      October 18, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • Mikko

      yes i would see heaven as a hell filled with christards and teabaggers

      October 18, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
    • Gary

      when I go to heaven I hope all the devout christians,jews,and muslims avoid me for eternity.....That would be the best heaven ever

      October 18, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
    • NL

      Bob o' Bob-
      Actually, Atheist heaven is actually Christian hell. That way God makes everybody happy.

      October 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
    • NL

      Selfish Gene-
      I hope it's cold beer. Really, really cold beer!

      October 18, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • Raison

      Since the concept of a hell makes no logical sense, then one might wonder if the concept of heaven also falls under the axe...

      October 19, 2010 at 7:19 am |
  6. kjcube

    I thought the 11th commandment was "Thou shalt not divide by zero"... That's what my math teacher told me anyway. 🙂

    October 18, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @kjcube

      Hello kjcube..!!! It has been awhile since our discussion on 'Kant & Hume' -topic-subjectivity and art, etc...

      Very nice... I like what your math teach said concerning the 11th commandment.

      Hope that you are well..

      October 18, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  7. Bob

    If you really wanted to do what God does, you wouldn't be sending food to Africa, because it's by God's design that they all starve and die of disease.

    October 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bob

      No, that is because the Catholic Church refuses to allow contraception, including condoms, to be given out.

      October 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Nihilist

      You said, "God really does hate those monkies."

      My reply to you keeps getting moderated. Just be advised that I don't agree with you.

      October 18, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • Muneef

      We have a saying that says " Rather than giving a poor person a fish every day to feed on it would be much better if you show him how to catch fish for him self".
      Therefore sending food for those starving will not help them out but will make them more dependent on it , and the best way is to give them food for the start with other Agriculture&Irrigation equipment's to have them work and grow their own coming needs of food and that is the most correct proceedures for all needy in the world.

      October 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • Raison

      @David Johnson

      OMG! You are still getting stopped by the word filter? After all the work I did in making that list? (of course there are more words I have not added) – Dude! 😯

      October 19, 2010 at 7:17 am |
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