IN THE NEWS: Faith and Race

What does it mean to be a citizen of Fundamentalist America?  For some, it means making hard choices.

For instance, the Reverend Keith Ratliff of Des Moines, Iowa recently resigned his leadership post in the NAACP.  He did so after the NAACP officially endorsed same-sex marriage.  Ratliff was forced to choose between his religious beliefs and his leadership post, and he chose religion.

Ratliff’s story highlights the changing nature of Fundamentalist America.  For most of American history, conservatives, like progressives, have been starkly divided by the color line.  The recent decisions of prominent African American conservatives, like Ratliff, to emphasize their conservative ideology and theology demonstrates this change.  Even before resigning his leadership post in the NAACP, for instance, Ratliff publicly endorsed conservative Republican Bob VanDer Plaats for governor in 2010.

As reported by Catholic Online, Ratliff defended his decision as part of his Biblical faith:

During a Statehouse rally in March 2011, Ratliff said his support for traditional marriage was biblically based, adding, “This isn’t a private interpretation, a Burger King religion, and by that I mean a ‘have it your way’ religion.”

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