Changes and Churches

This week in class we talked about religion and social change. These things are connected in some important ways. Religion can both help cause social change and prevent it. (McGuire, Pg. 245) Religion can also be affected by social change as well. (McGuire, Pg. 280) One of the best examples is the Civil Rights movement. During the Civil Rights movement, churches were places where people could rally together as a community during those challenging times. (McGuire, Pg. 273) Churches also had extensive networks of resources and connections that were also useful to the Civil Rights cause. (McGuire, Pg. 273) In these ways and many others, religion and the church helped social change. However, after the Civil Rights era, things changed. As we saw in a film in class, the social changes from the Civil Rights movement ended up having some bad effects on churches in the African-American community. Churches were no longer needed as bases of support for people in the community. Therefore, churches lost the power and influence they had had in the community. Also, more African-Americans became middle-class and successful, and this lead to a number of them moving to the suburbs and out of the inner-cities. The people left behind in the inner-cities then became more isolated as a result, and there were less people going to these churches. However, the film did also show how certain churches were still trying to be helpful and influential in their communities by offering different services and outreach to people in the inner-cities. Therefore, it isn’t fair to say that they lost completely. In the end, this is a perfect example of how religion and social change influence each other and the effects it can have on both, for better or for worse.