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Black Religion as BOTH Opiate and Inspiration of Civil Rights Militance: Putting Marx's Data to the Test

Larry L. Hunt and Janet G. Hunt
Social Forces
Vol. 56, No. 1 (Sep., 1977), pp. 1-14
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2577408
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2577408
Page Count: 14
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Black Religion as BOTH Opiate and Inspiration of Civil Rights Militance: Putting Marx's Data to the Test
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Abstract

This research evaluates the claim of a general tension between religiosity and civil rights militance among black Americans through a secondary analysis of the 1964 Gary Marx data. It shows that when important secular factors are controlled, Marx's findings of (a) greater militance in largely white denominations (Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Roman Catholic), and (b) an inverse correlation between militance and both church attendance and orthodoxy of belief essentially disappear. Additional lines of analysis support the proposal of Nelsen et al. (b) that only a sectlike orientation corrodes militance, while a churchlike orientation actually makes for greater militance.

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