REL-1020 Study Guide - Final Guide: Israelites, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, National Baptist Convention, Usa, Inc.

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8 Dec 2016
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World Religions in America The Religious World of African Americans Peter J. Paris
The Context of Slavery
o African Americans came in bondage condemned to a life of misery and suffering
o Middle Passage and auction blocks
o Many slave traders and owners were Christian but saw no problem with owning slaves
Belief that African people weren’t a part of the human race – rather livestock
o Hard labor and social status that excluded them from freedom and rights
o Quest from freedom in the American Revolution ignored issues of slavery
o White racism is deeply rooted in American psyche
African American Spirituality
o Continued African cultural traditions in America no assimilation of American culture was possible
o White owners punished slaves for cultural practices
o No conversion to Christianity
Viewed Africans as subhuman
Spiritual equality could lead to civil equality that would threaten the slave system
Rejection of Christianity as it was correlated to the people’s lifestyle
o Belief of religion
All life is sacred
Permeates all dimensions of human life
o Holding on to religion
Many religious artifacts were left behind
Culture was brought with them
Creative expressions of their religious beliefs
The Concealed Church
o Some slave owners were told that slaves who converted to Christianity would be more accepting of
the conditions of bonding
o Membership included many slaves, but there was segregated seating
o Connection to the story of Moses
Many leaders were associated with Moses: Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Richard Allen,
David Walker, and Frederick Douglas
Spirituals
o Most lasting legacy to America
o Tell the story of suffering and triumph, endurance and transcendence, of history and eternity
o Included spiritual strivings of an oppressed people
o Faith and hope in God that would free them from bondage like he did with the Israelites in Egypt
The Independent African American Church Movement
o Beginnings
Started by freed slaves in the northern cities
Separated themselves from the white churches as a refusal to comply with racist practices
Prophetic response to the condition of slavery and racism
Suffered considerable persecution and restrictions
o The African American Methodist Church
First independent African American denomination
Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others left after being forced to leave an area closed to
blacks
Fought to become an independent church
Richard Allen became the first bishop
o The African Episcopal Church
Absalom Jones was ordained the first African American Protestant Episcopal priest
Thus the independent African American church movement expanded to include
Episcopalianism
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