Source: (2000) Race and Reconciliation in South Africa: A Multicultural Dialogue in Comparative Perspective. Ed. by William E. Van Vugt & G. Daan Cloete. Lanham: Lexington Books. 53-76.

This chapter highlights important aspects of the race-bound histories of these churches, noting ecclesiastical and social factors that contributed racial separations and conciliatory steps by churches within both countries. The discussion situates church support of racial separation and reconciliation within a larger racial politics revolving, for segregationists, around notions of black otherness, and for persons concerned with racial reconciliation (especially between 1950 and the mid-1970's) around black empowerment. Finally, the chapter examines recent reconciliation initiatives within conservative wings of white Protestantism and the tendency to uncouple reconciliation from concrete social policy initiatives. The discussion concludes that a systematic commitment by white churches to black social and material interests is a fundamental prerequisite to genuine racial reconciliation. (excerpt)