Influence of Religion on the Civil Rights Movement Essay examples

2696 Words Jun 6th, 2011 11 Pages
Influence of Religion on the Civil Rights Movement

Religion has had a profound effect on numerous events throughout the course of American history. The Civil Rights Movement was not withheld from the influence of religion, particularly Christianity and Islam. Many of the key players such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, who were devoted to the cause of justice and equality for African Americans, gained their passion from their spiritual roots. Through these religious leaders organizations were established to fight for civil rights. It was through these religious men and the religion of blacks that the fight for equality gained enthusiasm and courage to fight oppression and discrimination. Opposition also came from religion,
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Based on their audience, white pastors had to weaken their sermons so that people would continue to attend their church and so they could maintain their job. Clearly, white Americans were not all opposed to integration. Rather, many of them just did not desire to sacrifice their lifestyle to help African Americans in their struggle for equality. Yet, this is not to say all Caucasians did not fight for civil rights, but the majority of them were not an active part of the movement. Such a religious force in America that did not partake in the struggle for civil rights held back some of the potential of the movement.

The Ku Klux Klan, notorious for their brutality towards others, fought against the efforts of Civil Rights activists. Despite their ruthless behavior, the Ku Klux Klan had members in law enforcement and within the church. Members of this organization believed that only white Christian people should exist within America and that other races should be honored to be controlled by Caucasian Christians. If others, such as the African Americans in their fight for civil rights, tried to gain an equal status, then the KKK would use ruthless tactics to suppress them. They defended their violent acts against African Americans by referencing their faith. A member of the KKK was asked in an interview, “What is your explanation of why there have been so many National Police Agents [F.B.I.?] involved in the case of the ‘missing civil rights workers’” (Mathisen

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