Christ Episcopal Church Amidst Massive Resistance: A Theological Examination of Christian Duty

Posted on May 12, 2015 by PLT Staff

Paper given by Jennifer McBride during meeting five of the City and Congregation Workgroup in Charlottesville, Virginia (March 2003). Faced with the federal mandate to desegregate public schools “with all deliberate speed” after the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, Senator Edward O. McCue of Charlottesville determined to evade integration at all costs. Part of his efforts included creating private white schools on church property, at Christ Episcopal Church. Jennifer McBride examines the church’s complicit response, and their use of the term Christian duty to justify their actions.

Excerpt: “What is most ironic about Christ Church’s interest in fulfilling its Christian duty is that there is no record of, no sermon preached, no present parishioner who can articulate how the essence of its duty was indeed particularly Christian. Furthermore, both the Vestry resolution and the congregants who were present in 1958 fervently claim the church’s action to be politically neutral, yet only understand it in terms of citizenship duty amidst socio-political realities.”

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