In Black America Podcast: Politics in the Pews: The Political Mobilization of Black Churches with Dr. Eric L. McDaniel.
On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Eric L. McDaniel, Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. According to McDaniel when you examine the success of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, it becomes apparent that there is a great deal of influence in the African American pulpit. Being the main institution for expressions of African American independence, the African American church has remained the most important place in African American society. Because of this, being the leader of an African American church provides a great deal of authenticity when speaking to the public.
As McDaniel demonstrates in his study of African American congregations in this country, a church’s activism results from complex negotiations between the pastor and the congregation. The church’s traditions, its institutional organization, and its cultural traditions influence the choice to make politics part of the church’s mission. The needs of the local community and opportunities to vote, lobby, campaign, or protest are also significant factors.
By probing the dynamics of churches as social groups, McDaniel opens new perspectives on civil rights history and the evangelical politics of the twenty-first century. Politics in the Pews contributes to a clearer understanding of the forces that motivate any organization, religious or otherwise, to engage in politics.