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Luther will host Robert P. Jones, author of White Too Long

Posted: Sun, Oct 4, 2020 12:13 PM

Luther College is hosting a Zoom session speech at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday with Robert P. Jones, the author of White Too Long.

Jones is the CEO and founder of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), a non-partisan organization that analyzes the intersection of religion and politics in the United States. Jones is a leading scholar and commentator on religion and politics, and he writes regularly on politics, culture, and religion for The Atlantic online.

Jones's new book is written about evangelical white Christians and his belief that they have constructed and sustained a system of white supremacy and opposition to Black equality that has framed the entire American story.  His book draws on history, public opinion surveys, and personal experience to issue a call for white Christians to reckon with this legacy for the sake of themselves and the nation.

Luther Associate Professor of Religion Todd Green, along with the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement, invited Jones to speak about his new book. Green said, "White Too Long is well-researched and well-written. It provides an accessible account of how white Christians have promoted and protected a racist social and political order throughout American history."

This account, said Green, is not often encountered in predominately white churches and denominations, but it needs to be addressed in order for the nation to begin healing. "Dr. Jones's book is a reminder that until white Christians come to terms with their racist past and their ongoing complicity in racism today, the nation will continue to struggle with healing from the deep wounds inflicted on the body politic by white supremacy."

According to Green, the importance of this kind of conversation is escalating. He said, "In light of the ongoing tensions in our nation around race and racism, including the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement felt that Dr. Jones's research and perspective could help further conversations at Luther College and in our community about the role that religious communities in general, and white Christian communities in particular, have played in perpetuating white supremacy."

If you are interested in attending the Zoom meeting speech, click here for a link to Luther's events calendar.

For further reading, Green suggests Jones's The End of White Christian America, which dives into how the political attitudes and voting behavior of white Christians have been shaped by anxieties over a rapidly changing racial and religious landscape in America.  Green also recommends Ibram X. Kendi's How to Be an Antiracist and James Cone's The Cross and the Lynching Tree.