Friday, January 22, 2016
This past Tuesday, American Enterprise Institute convened a discussion of W. Bradford Wilcox and Nicholas H. Wolfinger’s new book, “Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love, and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos” (Oxford University Press, 2016) about faith and family in minority communities. I have yet to watch the second promising panel with Douthat, Alvare and Pastor Suarez, but I at least wanted to alert MOJers to Harvard's Jacqueline Rivers' forceful defense of religious liberty at the very end of her excellent ten minute panel presentation here (from 29:36 to 40:00):
What is troubling is in the current climate there is growing intolerance for Christian faith, and even more so, growing intolerance for holding to the teachings of the Bible which are the very source of these positive norms that are being taught in churches. How much more important it is--it is really in the interest of the state--to make sure that there is neither let nor hinderance in the promulgation of thriving black churches because we have the potential to change this cultural direction.
Here is the event description from the website:
Dr. Wilcox presented data suggesting that the black family is surprisingly strong, in his view because of the black church. Slate Magazine’s Jamelle Bouie also praised the black church but discussed structural factors — mass incarceration and housing discrimination, in particular — that impede the church’s work. Harvard’s Jacqueline Rivers and The Washington Post’s Michelle Singletary argued that the black church should better emphasize the importance of marriage before sex.
Dr. Wolfinger showed that Latino families are as strong as white families, despite lower incomes. Helen Alvare of George Mason University Law School confirmed how important family life is in Latino culture, but she also posited that the Catholic Church could improve in teaching the principles of family life. Evangelical Pastor Tony Suarez discussed the Gospel’s central role in helping his community improve. The New York Times’ Ross Douthat compared adaptations in the black and Latino Christian communities and wondered if increased drug addiction among the white working class reflects a failure to make similar adjustments.