The Civil Rights Movement as Theological Drama: Interpretation and Application

Posted on May 12, 2015 by PLT Staff

Paper presented by Charles Marsh at the fourth meeting of the Lived Theology and Race Workgroup in Charlottesville, Virginia. Marsh examines pivotal theological questions about the faith of the leaders of the civil rights movement, in order to create a theological analysis of the movement. He attempts to determine how theological ideas functioned in the movement; whether they were used as a tool to achieve the desired end or whether they were the fuel and foundation of the movement.

Excerpt: “Does it not matter greatly whether King and others believed what they said about God, and if so, must not the question also be asked whether these beliefs about God have credibility as theological claims? And if we agree that the people of faith who filled the movement ranks believed what they said about God, do we not also have to reckon with the unsettling question of whether their beliefs are true or false, whether these beliefs are credible as theological claims, and whether a causal relation exists between those beliefs and the course of events that followed.”

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