Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Fundamentalist Christianity creates greater racial equality within congregations

Baker discusses fundamentalist Christianity. He points out that while more liberal white churches often look down on congregations like Chapel Hill Bible Church, the mainline churches are still predominantly white because they also reject the types of worship and theology that have traditionally occurred within African American churches. Meanwhile, churches like Chapel Hill Bible Church embrace less "high brow" theologies and liturgical styles and so have a much more racially mixed membership.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Yes, well, you know, let's think about this. A lot of people talk about eleven o'clock on Sunday morning being the most segregated hour. Let's look at what is not segregated at eleven o'clock on Sunday morning. It's the fundamentalist and the religious right. They have the greatest mix, why is that? It's not, I am not even so sure that is so much segregation as much as it is a different way of worshipping. The intellectual, intelligentsia of the white community is not going to deal with the emotionalism of black religion.
I was raised Lutheran and we would have looked down on that stuff whether they were white or black.
That's right and black people
We are high church, we are not like them.
And black people are not going to sit there and be bored. [Laughter] So, if you want to desegregate those hours, you have got to understand, there is a coming together of the religions. And the reasons that I say this is the Chapel Hill Bible Church sat right on the corner of Purefoy Road, right across the street from the Community Church, the Community Church, supposed has this great liberal tradition. Totally, completely white. The Chapel Hill Bible Church, fundamentalists, has all of these various ethnic groups, Chinese, African American, everybody going to this church, because the theology [liturgy, style of worshipping] is closer to what the tradition had been.