October 6th, 2010
07:29 AM ET

Why Sunday morning remains America's most segregated hour

“Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of Christian America.”

That declaration, which has been attributed to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., used to startle listeners. Now it’s virtually become a cliché. For years, various academic studies and news articles have reported what many churchgoers already know: most American congregations are segregated.

In the latest issue of the academic journal Sociological Inquiry, two professors dug deeper into why Sundays remain so segregated.

The article, “Race, Diversity, and Membership Duration in Religious Congregations,’ said that nine out of ten congregations in the U.S. are segregated - a single racial groups accounts for more than 80 percent of their membership.

Kevin Dougherty , a sociology professor at Baylor University in Texas, and a co-author of the article, says churches haven't kept pace with other institutions.

Socially, we’ve become much more integrated in schools, the military and businesses. But in the places where we worship, segregation still seems to be the norm.

Attracting members of another race isn’t good enough, Dougherty says. Most congregations that draw racial minorities can’t keep them.

It’s not just an issue of attraction, of getting them into the door, but of retention.  Can we keep them? Our research indicates that we’ve not been able to.

Calling a church segregated may make some people uncomfortable because it implies that its members are racist. But many contemporary churches that are dominated by one racial group weren’t formed by racial animosity, Dougherty says.

Parishioners’ prefer to go to church with people who look like them, Dougherty says.

People choose churches where they feel comfortable. Maybe they get challenges there, but they’re going for the comfort.”

The first Christian church was known for its diversity. Jews, Gentiles, and Greeks mingled alongside women and slaves. Biblical scholars have long maintained that the early church’s diversity was one of the reasons it became so popular. Roman society was characterized by rigid ethnic and class divisions.

That was then, though.

How important is it for the  church to strive for that kind of ethnic diversity today - particularly since it seems many people don’t want it, according to the article?

Can American churches remain separate but equal?

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 October 21 at 8 p.m. ET.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Houses of worship • Race

soundoff (374 Responses)
  1. Neil

    The issue is cultural and historical. Most Hispanics are Roman Catholic. (Understand there are exceptions to all of these rules.) Hispanics or Latinos countries are mostly Catholic. African-Americans tend to be Baptist or Methodist because many of the slave owners were of those particular denominations, therefore that is what they grew up in. What this study doesn't show is that there is segregation in whites even down to ancestory. Irish and Itallians tend to be Catholic. Greeks and Russians tend to be Orthodox. English tend to be Episcopalian. Germans, Norwegians, Swedes, and Finnish tend to be Lutheran. It has a lot more to do with family tradition than anything else.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:11 am |
    • Carla

      Posts are not going in the right place!


      @Lori Note what the scripture reads:

      Revelation 7:1-4 states: "After these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel."

      I was wondering, which one of the 12 tribes of Judah are you from?

      February 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  2. John

    You won't find segragation among Jehovah's Witnesses. Look at their conventions, assemeblies, and congregation meetings. You will see people of all races worshipping toegether.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  3. W.G.

    It may be true and isn´t it sad ? But there are people with agendas and those agendas can tear a church apart .

    October 6, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  4. Lucy

    Well they've never been to my church! Calvary Chapel is a about an equal mix of white, black, Latino with some Asians and Native Americans. It's a beautiful sight to see everyone worshipping the Lord together!

    October 6, 2010 at 9:09 am |
    • MikeTX

      I agree, Lucy. I work for my church. It is more white because that's the demographics of the people that live in the neighborhood. But we have a large Asian congregation that go to my church. And I see and talk to a good many blacks and hispanics in our congregation. Some of them drive miles from their home because they like our church, what they hear from the pulpit, and our style of worship. Everyone is welcome, no matter the race or ethnicity.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:31 am |
    • Frogist

      @Lucy: I'm glad your church is so multi-cultural. But the study points to a norm where churches seem to be divided along race lines. Just because your church is not the norm does not invalidate the study.

      October 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  5. Darkhorse

    Maybe it's because we don't all worship the same God. look at the false image presented in most white churches and stations like tbn and honestly tell me that's not from the devil.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  6. MikeTX

    These people got paid for this "study?" What a waste of money.

    For one thing, it is obvious. You don't need some professors of a university to tell us this. Don't they have better things to spend their time on than something that so obvious?

    Also, In churches I've been in, I've never heard the priest or minister stand up and say, "This is a black, white, hispanic or asian service only. Others need to leave."
    Some services are held in languages other than English, since some people like to worship in their own language, but I don't think you are required to leave because you don't speak the language.

    People segregate themselves. They choose which church they want to go to. What;s next? Bussing people to other churches?

    Another example of money and time being wasted in our universities. The money and time used should have been used teaching students or used as scholarships to help students get an education.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:06 am |
  7. J.

    I am saddened by how blatantly racist this comment board is proving to be. The comments on here are truly disturbing. It's shameful that, as Americans, we would not actively strive to cooperate and mingle with people form all backgrounds. For those of you whining about the government getting involved.. I don't recall that ever being mentioned. How sad that you believe that Americans have to be told by their government how to value individuals over stereotypes.... even sadder that it's true.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:04 am |
    • Bugmenot

      Too many would rather stew in their rationalizations than do the hard mental work of thinking for themselves as we do J

      October 6, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  8. Pastor Evans

    The problem is you have a lot of people who simply go to Church buildings but when an individual really recieves true revelation from GOD by His Holy Spirit then they know racism and segregation is wrong!!! Most people are religious and are not spiritual at all. Jesus hates religion!!! This has always been one of if not the biggest problems in America period!!! And probably one of if not the biggest reasons why so many people don't go the any Church Fellowship because of what they see conflicts with what they hear coming out of a lot of individuals mouths!!! We are suppose to be the Church and not only go to a Church building. The Bible makes this point very clear, we are living epistles/ witnesses read and seen of all men/ women!!!

    Galatians 3 – 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    Many in that day will cry lord lord haven't I done this in your name and that in your name and He'll say depart from me for I never knew you, you worker of iniquity!!!


    October 6, 2010 at 9:03 am |
    • VistaNow

      @ Pastor Evans – what do you mean Jesus hates religion? I thought Religion was good to worship and pray is a religion!

      October 6, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  9. Lorenzo

    Not just churches, but people in all situations just naturally tend to form groups along racial lines. Look at the lunch tables at an elementary or secondary school, or at the extracurricular clubs and societies in universities. The government-enforced segregation of days gone by has been replaced by voluntary segregation. Apparently, "separate but equal" (to paraphrase the issue in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka) is what people really do want–all people.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  10. Jen

    I hate to tell you but I go to a church where people worship like me. It has nothing to do with race. My husband is a great Christian but when it comes to worship he is a very private individual. If I could get him to clap his hands to worship it would be a miracle! This means in many "white" congregations he is uncomfortable. I don't feel more comfortable in a church because the person is the same color. I feel more comfortable in a church where people feel free to express themselves. All this to say my husband and I probably shouldn't be going to the same church!

    October 6, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  11. Lisa

    This article and the study are bogus. It's not race; it's not looks. It is CULTURE. There are many different styles of worship and people tend to gather at the churches where they feel comfortable with the worship. Some churches have no music at all, some have an organ, some have a choir, some have a guitar and some have a full band. It all depends on what kind of worship style someone prefers...not what they look like.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:54 am |
    • Frogist

      @Lisa: The study can only be bogus if the data was collected incorrectly. The study and article, which brings you the results of the study, are not bogus just because you don't like that they found.

      October 6, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  12. john

    That's because people can hide their true feeling behind religion. the blacks don't want to live or be around whites either.
    we are two different races. the only place black and white get along in on a fking KEyBOARD.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  13. Lori

    The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witness is the only place where I have visited and NEVER seen any divisions among any race or language. Some can say what they want, but they are 7 million strong (worldwide) and growing. They apply what the bible states at Deuteronomy 10:17 & Acts 10:34,35......God is not partial. Other people & reliogion may cause divisions and sects, God does NOT.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:54 am |
    • :(

      How many have you visited yourself? What states? Not to mention, why would you believe in a religion where you can't even go to Heaven?

      October 6, 2010 at 8:58 am |
    • Lori

      Several Kingdom Hall's in several states. They are all in unity "worldwide". They do not preach you can not go to heaven. The bible speaks of many who will go and have gone to heaven.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:10 am |
    • :(

      Actually, the bible hasn't stated anywhere that anyone has ever gone to heaven.

      Not to mention Jehovah's Witnesses ougt to be witnesses of Jesus, not some name they don't even know how to pronounce since the Hebrews would never spell it correctly or pronounce out of fear. JHWH or YHWH, pick and choose, you, as well with anyone else (including myself) will most likely be wrong on the proper translation.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:13 am |
    • Lori

      The ministry preaches all about Jesus. In fact Jesus set the standard for seeking people out, talking to them door to door and in the market places. Jesus this this himself while on the earth (Acts 17:17, Matthew 28:19,20 Luke 9:1-6). No human today can be certian how it (Jehovah) was orginally pronounced in Hebrew. Biblical Hebrew was orginally written with only constants, no vowels....as you pointed out. However, many scholars favored the spelling "Yahweh", but that was uncertian sine none of those scholars could speak in agreement. On the otherhand, Jehovah is the form of the name most readily recognized, because it has been used in English for Centuries and preserves, equally with other forms, the Four (4) constanants of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton. If you read in the book of Revelation, it does speak of those going to heaven. But the Bible does teach 2 hopes, not just the hope of going to heaven. Again, reguardless of what people have made up....I am strictly stating what the Bible states.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:38 am |
    • :(

      If you consider Revelation future, then my point still stands. If you consider it past, then we run into a lot of issues of interpretation.

      Regardless if you accept a popular opinion, the OT command to never forget His name is still being broken on two levels: 1) not know what it really is; 2) not using the only name by which men can be saved.

      And I'm not talk about preaching about Jesus, I'm talking about preaching Jesus. As Jesus is YHWH in the flesh.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • Lori

      This is what Revelation 1:1-3 states: A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. And he sent forth his angel and presented [it] in signs through him to his slave John, 2) who bore witness to the word God gave and to the witness Jesus Christ gave, even to all the things he saw. 3) Happy is he who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and who observe the things written in it; for the appointed time is near.
      This book was completed writting in 96ce. We are now at 2010ce. I believe the events in Revelation, are partly going on today with some remaining left that has not happened. This goes along with 2 Timothy 3:1-5 which states: But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. 2) For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, 3) having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, 4) betrayers, headstrong, puffed up [with pride], lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, 5) having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away.

      October 6, 2010 at 10:42 am |
    • Lori

      Most names change to some extent when transferred from one language to another. Jesus was born a Jew, and his name in Hebrew was perhaps pronounced Ye·shu′a‛, but the inspired writers of the Christian Scriptures did not hesitate to use the Greek form of the name, I·e·sous′. In most other languages the pronunciation is slightly different, but we freely use the form that is common in our tongue. The same is true of other Bible names. How, then, can we show proper respect for the One (Jehovah) to whom the most important name of all belongs? Would it be by never speaking or writing his name because we do not know exactly how it was originally pronounced? Or, rather, would it be by using the pronunciation and spelling that are common in our language, while speaking well of its Owner and conducting ourselves as his worshipers in a manner that honors him?

      October 6, 2010 at 10:51 am |
    • VistaNow

      @Lori Where did or how was your bible come about? You say only 444 thousand of you will be saved? Why not improve your chances and become Christian, by accepting Jesus Christ in the Trinity. The mystical body of Christ tells us that we are one body in Christ – St Paul's writings – Jesus the Head and we are its members. In Heaven there are many dwelling places, otherwise Jesus would not have said so. What about the Church Fathers, have you ever read about them?

      October 6, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
    • jt

      Just an observation:

      Have you noticed that all the JW bashers never have one Bible based thought that they use to substantiate any of their beliefs?
      Lori – hats off for someone who actually uses the Bible!

      October 6, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • Lori

      I was away from my desk for a while, sorry it took so long to get back with you. That being said, Just so your clear, I am only expressing & siting scritures from the Bible. These are not my words! My first thought you bring up is you using the word Trinity. Do you know that NOWHERE in the Bible is that word mentioned. Just like the word Rapture, many speak of. Again that word does not appear in the Bible. These are words man has made up and twisted to make it seem like the Bible states this, but it does not.
      The new World Translation Bible, is just that. It is Translated according to the "Original manuscripts" and can be read depending on which Country you live in. Here is a link to find what language fits your needs and provides the Bible right online: http://www.watchtower.org/ Click on the "Bible" Tab..........(also many topics to answer many questions)
      ‘Did you know that the Bible was originally written in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages? . . . Do you read those languages? . . . So we are grateful that the Bible has been translated into English.’ (2) ‘This chart (“Table of the Books of the Bible,” in NW) shows that Genesis, the first book of the Bible, was completed in 1513 B.C.E. Did you know that, after Genesis was written, some 2,900 years passed before the complete Bible was translated into English? And over 200 more years elapsed before translation of the King James Version was completed (1611 C.E.).’ (3) ‘Since the 17th century, English has undergone many changes. We have seen that in our own lifetime, haven’t we? . . . So we appreciate modern translations that carefully express the same original truths in the language that we speak today.’
      In the Book of Revelation 7:3/ 14:1/ 14:3/, it states 144,000 will be taken from the earth to go to heaven to rule with Christ in Heaven.

      October 6, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    • :(

      Issue #1) What was the point of quoting your scripture, you didn't substantiate any claim that you made nor disprove mine by quoting it. Issue#2) You're argument about translation is moot since the name itself is lost in the original language. Therefore in translation is a guess and not befitting. Jesus on the other hand is a proper translation since Ieasou has never been forgotten. You argue dialects, I argue etymology. YHWH is not enough to get you to heaven after the second advent. Good luck.

      October 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • :(

      @JT – can't quote scripture that doesn't exist.

      October 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
    • :(

      BTW – down with the Trinity!

      October 6, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • VistaNow

      Lori You don't mention the fact that Christian Biblical societies preserved those manuscripts especially the Catholic Church with the first Christian bible in Latin. Yes there is no reference in the bible that has the word Trinity spelled out. It can be said that you disregard Tradition, History and the revelation and inspiration of the Holy Spirit in regards to the root of Christianity and many other things. While Jesus awaits until all his enemies are placed under His feet He rules now – Mat 28:18 -And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (RSV) You are distorted if you do not understand that Jesus is Divine. Keep growing as your nation tweaks the message it tries to profess and one day you may realize that Jesus is what binds all creation in a beautiful tapestry pleasing to the Father of which words could not fully express

      October 6, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Tell_Me

      If this book were the words of an Omniscient, Omnipotent God, there would be NO questions, NO mistranslations and NO misinterpretations.

      October 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • :(

      @ Vista – I'll take the bible over tradition, being that the tradition started 100-200 years after the last apostle died off.

      October 6, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
    • :(

      @ Tell_Me – because people can believe what they want, regardless of what their told. Jesus himself, the "supposed" god in flesh, had to reteach the hebrew teachers in his day. It's to be expected, but not condoned.

      October 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
    • Lori

      Actually, I have the hope that the second group spoke about in the book of Revelation has, to live upon the earth. Jesus spoke of those living on the earth as well as Jehovah did as well. God's original purpose was what? For man to live on the earth forever and never die.Genesis 1:26-31 thru Gen. 2:1-25. Yes, in chapter 3 of Genesis is where the "original sin" was committed. But even after that, God set into motion a "cure" so to speak, by sending His SON to the earth. John 3:16.
      I am sure you are familiar with Matthew 6:9, 10...The Lord's Prayer? We pray for God's name to be sanctified (made holy). KJ version states Hallowed be thy name, which still means "made Holy". Let your Kingdom come, Your WILL to be done.....where? On earth just as it is in Heaven. Again where? "On Earth". God's WILL was his original purpose. People have said this prayer for 100's of years and many don't even know what it means. It does not register for some reason, the part where it says "upon the Earth". Also at Psalms 37 :10,11 it states...
      10) And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; And you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. 11) But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace
      Psalms 37:29....The righteous themselves will possess the earth, And they will reside forever UPON it.
      Revelation 21:3, 4...With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. 4) And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
      I am not on here to "argue" the FACTS of the Bible to you, just defend what the Bible says to all the fasle reasonings and False tales being told out there. Mainly by those who have not even read the Book to begin with or have the accurate knowledge it contains. I was not around when Adam was living, so I can not tell you the exact pronouncation of God's name. But I know for a fact Jesus is God's SON, there is no Trinty God that many believe in but the Bible does not teach. I know Jehovah is who I call the most High and HE has not condemned me after 24 yrs for doing so. If you are truley interested in gaining accurate knowledge of the Bible's actually teachings....Yes I would love to talk. But I will not get involved with silly games.

      October 6, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Lori

      Your correct, I do not follow traditons of men!! Did you not know, the Bible speaks against such things?
      Colossians 2:8....(Spoken by the Apostle Paul) Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry YOU off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ;
      Mark 7:1-13....(Jesus was speaking ) Now the Pharisees and some of the scribes that had come from Jerusalem gathered about him. 2) And when they saw some of his disciples eat their meal with defiled hands, that is, unwashed ones— 3) for the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands up to the elbow, holding fast the tradition of the men of former times, 4) and, when back from market, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves by sprinkling; and there are many other traditions that they have received to hold fast, baptisms of cups and pitchers and copper vessels;— 5) so these Pharisees and scribes asked him: “Why is it your disciples do not conduct themselves according to the tradition of the men of former times, but they take their meal with defiled hands?” 6) He said to them: “Isaiah aptly prophesied about YOU hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honor me with [their] lips, but their hearts are far removed from me. 7) It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach as doctrines commands of men.’ 8) Letting go the commandment of God, YOU hold fast the tradition of men.” 9) Further, he went on to say to them: “Adroitly YOU set aside the commandment of God in order to retain YOUR tradition. 10) For example, Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Let him that reviles father or mother end up in death.’ 11) But YOU men say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother: “Whatever I have by which you may get benefit from me is corban, (that is, a gift dedicated to God,)”’— 12) YOU men no longer let him do a single thing for his father or his mother, 13) and thus YOU make the word of God invalid by YOUR tradition which YOU handed down. And many things similar to this YOU do.”
      Matthew 15:7-9 (Jesus speaking yet again)
      YOU hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about YOU, when he said, 8) ‘This people honors me with their lips, yet their heart is far removed from me. 9) It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.’”
      Jehovah's Witnesses read, use and APPLY the entire Bible, not just bits and pieces. Why would anyone not want to know and learn about the COMPLETE writtings contained in God's word? This is where God's spoke of HIS commandments, HIS promises, HIS love & forgiveness for us, HIS righteous standards & requirements and how we can obtain everlasting life.
      You tossed out there Matthew 28:18......but I see you left out HIS most important requirements for HIS followers to do, continuing in verses 19 & 20 of Matthew chapter 28 (whether door to door, marketplaces, public parks, ect.) Jesus gave this COMMAND out of love for people, to those who truly wanted to follow him. And it is out of love that over 7 million JW continue to do this. One (1) million is in the USA, Six (6) million all over the entire world!
      This is why Jehovah's Witnesses talk to people about the Bible and offer free home bible studies with material in over "in 659 languages, using 29 alphabets and character sets. Including Sign language videos (for the deaf and hearing impaired) in 45 languages and Braille publications are regularly produced in english & ten other languages. Jehovah intended for ALL to have access to HIS teachings & word. And Jehovah's Witnesses is the only religion I know of who has tried to make this possible. Jesus taught this while on the Earth and said we must do the same.
      The bible TRUTHS is out there for all who honestly and whole-heartedly want to come into an accurate knowledge of God's Word the Bible and live by Jehovah's righteous requirements.
      Isaiah 46: 9,10 clearly states......(Jehovah speaking) Remember the first things of a long time ago, that I am the Divine One and there is no other God, nor anyone like me; 10) the One telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done; the One saying, ‘My own counsel will stand, and everything that is my delight I shall do’;
      God's promises and judgements WILL happen, it's just a matter of when!

      October 7, 2010 at 6:08 am |
    • VistaNow

      Lori, How old is your JWH – we have been walking for 2000 years! You can not say the same.

      October 7, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
    • VistaNow

      Lori – Try the New Jerusalem Bible John 10: 27 The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from my hand.
      29 The Father, for what he has given me, is greater than anyone, and no one can steal anything from the Father's hand.
      30 The Father and I are one.

      Try this also: This is what John the Baptist said about Jesus ...RSV John 1: 32And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven and remain on him. 33I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
      Lori – Do you see in these passages, that Jesus humbled Himself to become man, I hope this helps you

      October 7, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  14. Xhanay

    Sorry to let correct mostl the comments here regarding hispanics. The only difference between hispanic churches and that of white and african americans is that hispanics are only segregated by language not color. I attend a hispanic church and let me tell you that we have people of all colors, shapes and sizes. We have white hispanics, black hispanics and native (indians) hispanics and we all go to the same church. Segregation by color is a hold over of the bigotry that characterized the social norms of american society. I was born in a 3rd world country but when it comes to color integration we're anything but 3rd world.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  15. Imfromthegovernment and . . .

    To all those posts bashing religion in general: What happened to all that "tolerance" talk? Does that only work one way? Do I have to tolerate whatever you want to do, but you can deride and insult my decisions? If you don't want to go to church, fine. No one is forcing you to do so. But I don't want to hear about "tolerance" while this drivel comes spilling out of your mouth. Hands off my religion, libs.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  16. mark

    It fgoes to show what everybody all ready knows. People feel most comfortable around poeple of their own kind. Its just human nature, lions don't hang out tigers unless they are forced.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  17. Charles

    Black churches remind me of the endzone dance after a black football player scores a touchdown. Of course white people are 'uptight' because they can control themselves.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:44 am |
    • JHutch

      Wrong. Go to a white pentacostal church and watch the people yell jibberish and writhe around on the ground.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:06 am |
  18. Doctrine?

    Has anyone cosidered how doctrine changes from culture to culture which may cause the appearance of racial segregation?

    October 6, 2010 at 8:44 am |
    • Not at all

      Oh, I forgot to mention demographics as well...

      October 6, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  19. Marc

    Church is a very subjective place. Is there a certain desire to be with one's own race? Perhaps in some cases. I'm white and attended a black church recently with a friend, and while I was certainly made to feel welcome, I must say I felt a bit out of place. But it had more to do with a style of worship, preaching, and music than anything. I prefer the must more traditional sit-in-the-pews feel to the animated, get-up-and-clap-and-sway feel that is found in many black churches. But I went to contemporary service with rock and praise music at a white church recently as well, and I would far sooner attend the black church than go to the white contemporary. It's much more about where you feel you're going to best be able to encounter God.

    I hate stories like this that show one symptom of a larger trend, and blow it out of proportion to create a sensation and sell the news.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:43 am |
    • richr

      marc, you don't have to go to church to encounter God. He is everywhere and you can pray anytime and anywhere.

      October 6, 2010 at 10:57 am |
  20. ICanHazTeeParti

    So much for religion bringing people together.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:41 am |
    • len

      So much for CNN bringing people together.

      Perhaps instead of looking at the colors of the congregation, CNN should look at the ministries. Who is being helped? How?

      Did you know that faith-based organizations are registered as volunteer groups for emergency response by public safety systems? Did you know that because of their ability to organized and deploy resources, they are one of the most reliable and long term sources of responders after the professionals? Did you know that faith-based groups continued to go to New Orleans to help with the rebuilding long after the government stopped? Did you know that they organize and send their children into poor communities every year to help the elderly, the poor and disadvantaged with projects such as building ramps for the disabled, Habitat for Humanity and such?

      Why don't you know? They don't brag and CNN doesn't find that newsworthy.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:03 am |
    • screename12

      well said Len – I completely agree with you. The church does so much in local communities across this world, and saying otherwise is just being ignorant. Take poor nations, for instance, there are no government handouts in third world countries, yet the church finds a way to help the needy. The church does not turn people away no matter who they are...( sorry I keep saying "the church", but you know what I mean)

      October 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
    • len

      It's hard to watch people angry about this or that, justifiably or not, willing to take down cultural constructs that sustain society emotionally. There is a full-court press war on religion going on right now. Some people believe that if religion is removed from society, a saner more productive world will emerge. I don't think so but I'm interested in hearing what others think. Is segregation in churches symptomatic of the failure of our beliefs to unite us? Is religion inherently divisive? Would a society without religion be a saner, safer more productive world? This goes beyond race, segregation, us vs them, Spy vs Spy. It speaks to what human society is and can be. Science is not now nor ever has been enough for enough people.

      We personally should try to answer such questions. Beliefs that one cannot defend are hard to hold

      October 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
    • Frogist

      @len: Way to miss the point. CNN isn't here to bring people together. It's here to share some news. How about you comment on the content of the article next time?

      October 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
    • len

      I'm replying to a comment, so way to miss the context.

      We don't bring God to the world. We follow.

      October 6, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.