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Racial Diversity, Gender Equality, and SES Diversity in Christian Congregations: Exploring the Connections of Racism, Sexism, and Classism in Multiracial and Nonmultiracial Churches

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We explore the possibility that racially inclusive churches are also more inclusive in SES and supportive of gender equality. We used the Lilly Survey of Congregations to compare SES diversity and attitudes toward female leadership between multiracial and nonmultiracial churches. Findings indicate that multiracial churches promote SES diversity, but not necessarily gender equality. The relationship is straightforward as it concerns SES diversity, as multiracial churches are more likely to exhibit SES diversity than nonmultiracial churches. However, we found that a good deal of the propensity of multiracial churches to support gender equality is tied to the size of cities in which they are located. Further, theology acts as a suppressor variable in that conservative multiracial churches are less supportive of gender equality than other conservative churches, while progressive multiracial churches are more supportive of gender equality than other progressive churches.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: George Yancey is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of North Texas, Denton, TX., Email: 2: Ye Jung Kim is at Baylor University, Waco, TX., Email:

Publication date: 2008-03-01

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