Bible thumped in defense of segregation

“[Richmond editor James J.] Kilpatrick also… used a religious argument to defend the practice of segregation. For example, Dr. L. Nelson Bell, of Asheville, North Carolina, published an article, ‘Christian Race Relations Must Be Natural Not Forced,’ in an August 1955 issue of the Southern Presbyterian Journal, which outlined the biblical argument in support of segregation.

“Bell, the father-in-law of Billy Graham, insisted that ‘there is nothing Christian or natural in manufacturing situations for forced relationships.’ Rather, Bell reasoned, real acceptance of racial equality would come only from Christians first freeing themselves of prejudice and hatred. Bell’s argument supported Kilpatrick’s assertion that change would have to come from the bottom up, not the top down.”

— From Indicted South: Public Criticism, Southern Inferiority, and the Politics of Whiteness by Angie Maxwell (2014)

 

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