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The Contemporary Black Church

The Contemporary Black Church

The New Dynamics of African American Religion (Pre-order, Aug 13 2024)

Jason E. Shelton
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Charts the changing dynamics of religion and spirituality among African Americans

Recent decades have ushered in a profound transformation within the American religious landscape, characterized by an explosion of religious diversification and individualism as well as a rising number of "nones."

The Contemporary Black Church makes the case that the story of this changing religious landscape needs to be told incorporating more data as it applies specifically to African Americans.

Jason E. Shelton draws from survey data as well as interviews with individuals from a wide variety of religious backgrounds to argue that social reforms and the resulting freedoms have paved the way for a pronounced diversification among African Americans in matters of faith. Many African Americans have switched denominational affiliations within the Black Church, others now adhere to historically White traditions, and a record number of African Americans have left organized religion altogether in recent decades.

These changing demographics and affiliations are having a real and measurable effect on American politics, particularly as members of the historic Black Church are much more likely than those of other faiths to vote and to strongly support government policies aimed at bridging the racial divide.

Though not the first work to note that African Americans are not monolithic in their religious affiliation, or to argue for a trend toward secularism in Black America, this book is the first to substantiate these claims with extensive empirical data, charting these changing dynamics and their ramifications for American society and politics.


Jason E. Shelton is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for African American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington and the author of Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions.


  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publish Date: August 13, 2024
  • Pages: 384
  • Language: English
  • Type: Hardcover
  • EAN/UPC: 9781479824748
  • BISAC Categories: Christian Church - General, Black Studies (Global)
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