Before 1960, Southern whites and blacks knew their places. Stepping into a bus and choosing a seat depended upon what color your skin was. Bus drivers were known to stop and tell blacks to go further back into the back of the bus.
Blacks could cook in restaurant kitchens, work as maids and bellhops in hotels, but could not eat in the dining room.
Black women could nurse your children, but could not sleep under the same roof as a white person.
Passengers boarding trains in Illinois could sit anywhere, but before they got to Mississippi, all the blacks had to get into their places, leaving the whites in their own section.
These were laws made by white Southerners in the Bible Belt.
The Southern Baptist Convention was born because Baptist Southerners wanted to keep their slaves and they had the scriptures that justified slavery.
After the war, the Southern Baptist Convention, and other fundamentalist Christian groups, had to admit they were wrong, but they didn’t submit graciously. In fact, after the Civil War in which the South lost, these men were determined to force black and white segregation, and enacted the segregation laws that lasted until the 1960s.
Never mind that at one time the Christian plantation owners had slept with the black women, borne children by her, put their children to the breast of a black woman, and ate the food cooked by a black woman.
“We now look back on it as a form of social insanity, but it felt normal at the time. It felt normal to whites and to most blacks. The African Americans who fought to overthrow this were a tiny minority and really revolutionary and didn’t get the support of the general black public until it was pretty clear they were going to win.” (Diane McWorther “Carry Me Home.”)
This was the South, baby! And we all knew our places.
Just as women know their places today.
Standing behind the pulpit singing in the choir. Walking to the pulpit to make an announcement. Surrendering the pulpit to a man when it comes times to preach the gospel. Accepting the bread and juice from a male deacon.
We know our places. But some of us are tired of those places. Some of us are telling our leaders that they are wrong. Some of us are holding them accountable for their segregationist attitude.
Will you join us? Will you tell your pastor that men and women are created equal and that you will tolerate no other teaching in the church you attend?