Asks Arlene Sanchez-Walsh, a professor at the evangelical Azusa Pacific University. It’s a great question, one that I’ve been thinking while finishing Moral Minority. Since when is a faith tradition, especially one that thinks of itself in terms of a global communion, defined by race? Here’s more:
One of the things I do, as a matter of record as an academic and as one of a small number of Latina Pentecostal scholars of religion in the academy is I try not to engage those conversations because I refuse to keep the narrative of evangelical meaning white alive–it is time for that narrative to die–and I am trying to do what I can to exhaust whatever oxygen is left in that storyline-but like Hollywood, some storylines refuse to die. Considering one of this past elections’ major themes–that the demographic future of the U.S. is diverse–and for Latinos/as at least, they are more Democratic than their parents, I am surprised that so many scholars, religion journalists, and interested parties are still looking at evangelicalism–as if it was ever white–clearly any look at the history of the black church, of the native American church makes such narratives useless–except that for some reason, they have not been rendered obsolete.