From the Civil Rights Movement to today, faith leaders and faith-based organizations have played a role in lifting up universal human rights, while others have used religion as a cloak of oppression or inaction. Many faith communities work hard to remain neutral; however, countless pastors, rabbis, imams, priests, and nontheist leaders have guided the movement for change. During the sit-in demonstrations and subsequent protests and boycotts in Jacksonville in the 1960s, churches from the iconic Bethel Baptist Institutional Church to St. Paul A.M.E. Church were home to many in the movement and have close associations with organizations like the NAACP. Churches played host to the many mass meetings where “civil rights movement revivals” were in rich abundance. Churches provided a network to learn the latest news about the struggle. Churches were also a sanctuary during threats of violence. Today, a rich tapestry of faith communities are active in the movement for racial justice; however, Sunday morning continues to be the most segregated time in the faith community as the chasm of the spiritual divide holds true.
In the voice of Rodney L. Hurst Sr., from his book, It was never about a hot dog and a Coke®!