In spite of the common faith of white and black Christians, they don’t share common politics. Why? The answer is complicated, but part of it is regional, and a lot of it is historical. America’s most religious region is also the region most steeped in the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. White Christians and black Christians have always been profoundly segregated in the South, and that Sunday-morning segregation continues to this day.
Rather than explore all the reasons for the divide, let’s just state the obvious. There are longstanding, profound, and heartbreaking racial divisions in American Christianity. There are longstanding and justifiable reasons for black Americans to view white Evangelicals with suspicion and mistrust. And there are people — black and white, left and right — who perpetuate and exploit that divide.
But, at the same time, the Democrats’ emerging God gap creates its own tensions. It creates its own cultural differences, and to the extent that faith informs politics, it could crack open the progressive coalition.