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Religion: Opiate or Inspiration of Civil Rights Militancy Among Negroes?

Gary T. Marx
American Sociological Review
Vol. 32, No. 1 (Feb., 1967), pp. 64-72
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2091719
Page Count: 9
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Religion: Opiate or Inspiration of Civil Rights Militancy Among Negroes?
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Abstract

The implications of religion for protest are somewhat contradictory. With their stake in the status quo, established religious institutions have generally fostered conservatism, although as the source of humanistic values they have occasionally inspired movements of protest. For a nationwide sample of Negroes, analysis of the effect of religiosity on protest attitudes indicates that the greater the religious involvement, the less the militancy. However, among the religious, religion does not seem to inhibit, and may even inspire, protest among those with a temporal as distinct from an otherworldly orientation. Still, until such time as religion loosens its hold, or comes to embody more of a temporal orientation, it may be seen as an important factor inhibiting black militancy.

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