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How did Christian Churches deal with segregation laws in the United States and are there any Bible passages that deals with discrimination and segregation? What were typical responses from Churches that were within that sub-culture? Were there Churches on both sides of the issue?

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Please reserve comments for clarifications. If you want to answer answer, if not move it to chat. –  wax eagle Jul 10 '14 at 18:44
Retracting close vote based on better scoping. –  Affable Geek Jul 10 '14 at 18:57

2 Answers 2

The doctrinal controversies inherent have been discussed in Does the Bible support slavery and (White) Superiority in the context of American Slavery?, so I will limit myself to actual movements. This question: When did the African-American population become Christian? also talks about the rise of the black church.

Perhaps the most famous examples of how the church both engaged in and overcame racism are:

  1. The emergence of the AME Church

    The AME Church was founded by Richard Allen, a black minister in Philadelphia in the late 1700s. Although licensed, his ministry was restricted to blacks, and was relegated to early morning services. When one prayer meeting went long, the story goes, the whites came in and told him he had to move, even while in the midst of prayer. When he demanded that the prayer should continue, the white men beat him savagely. This was the genesis for the denomination to begin.

  2. The abolitionist movement, and William Wilberforce

    Slavery was abolished in the United Kingdom in 1807, and William Wilberforce is most commonly credited with the legislative victory. A committed Christian, he understood that God was no respecter of persons, and that in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, Slave nor Free. The Abolitionist Movement in the United States took largely the same queue.

  3. The emergence of the Civil Rights Movement amongst churches in Alabama

    That the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was started by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is not a coincidence. Much of the early organizing against segregation was coordinated in churches in Montgomery, Birmingham, Atlanta, and later across the south.

  4. The Apology By The Southern Baptist Convention for Slavery in 1995.

    The largest denomination in the United States outside of the Roman Catholic Church is the Southern Baptist Convention. It was formed in 1845, as the result of a split between the Northern Baptists and Southern Baptists, over the question of whether or not missionaries should be allowed to keep slaves. In 1995, the SBC acknowledged this history, and asked forgiveness for it.

The answer to your questions are thus:

  • The church was on both sides of the issue, perpetuating evil and good in this regard. (I think I can get away with calling discrimination and slavery as evil).
  • In general, the White church tended to justify itself, but later came around on the issue
  • The Black church in the US is neglected way too much.
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"... are there any Bible passages that deals with discrimination and segregation?" Yes, James 2, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%202&version=NASB

Galations 3:28 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians%203&version=NASB

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is [aj]neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you [ak]belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s [al]descendants, heirs according to promise.

If we replace Jew & Greek with black, white, brown, etc. the passage declares men & women of different races equal in God's sight.

I've been taught, the Hebrew culture of the time frowned upon men speaking to women in public. But we have several examples in the Gospels where Christ spoke to women. Many Jews In John 4 (see the same website), the woman at the well v. 8, 20 & 27 V. 8 sounds like a polite way of saying, many Jews shunned the Samaritans. So in that culture, she had too strikes against her, but Christ spoke to her & invited her to receive "living waters" irregardless of her race or gender.

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This only answers one of the sub-questions and not the main question at all. Please edit to answer the primary question here, otherwise this is likely to get removed. We're pretty strict about answers matching the scope of questions and partial answers are generally only tolerated when the part they deal with is at least the main part of the question. –  Caleb Sep 12 '14 at 8:06

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