Barna Survey Shows Half of Practicing Christians Believe Slavery Still Affects Black People

Slaves plant sweet potatoes on the James Hopkinson plantation in South Carolina circa 1862. Photo courtesy of LOC/Creative Commons

Fifty percent of practicing Christians say the history of American slavery continues to significantly affect the African American community today, a Barna study shows.

A slightly smaller percentage of the general population of U.S. adults surveyed (46%) agrees that, almost 400 years after slaves were brought to Jamestown, Va., there remains a “significant impact on the African American community.”

A bit more than a quarter of both practicing Christians and the general population (28%) say our society has moved past the history of slavery.

“Views of Ongoing Impact of History of Slavery.” Graphic courtesy of Barna

Barna, a nonpartisan for-profit research firm, defined practicing Christians as people who identified themselves as Christians who said they attended a worship service in the past month and said their faith is very important in their lives. The findings are included in a new report, “Where Do We Go from Here?”

Sixteen percent of practicing Christians responded to the question about slavery by saying they were unsure, compared to 18% of Americans overall. Seven percent of practicing Christians said they had not considered the issue, compared to 9% of the general population.

The study also showed sharp differences in views across racial and generational lines. While 79% of black practicing Christians agree that slavery’s effects continue today, 42% of white practicing Christians share that view. Conversely, 34% of white practicing Christian say society has moved beyond the history of slavery, while 9% of black practicing Christians say they hold that view.

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Source: Religion News Service