Racism has begun to come to the forefront as a religious issue as more and more evangelicals have turned to interracial adoption as part of their mission to care for orphaned and abandoned children.
Evangelical Christians are being forced to deal with a problem that has deep roots in America. As the spotlight has illuminated problems in places like New York and Missouri, Christians that are more evangelical have begun talking about the problems sparked by racism and the strained nature of racial relations.
A recent Gallup poll has drawn attention to the magnitude of problems with racial relations and tension within America, with about one in eight Americans believing that racism is one of the most pressing problems the nation is currently facing. This figure represents the largest number of Americans who think racism is a serious problem since the LA riots sparked by the Rodney King verdict in 1992. The number differs greatly between the Caucasian and non-Caucasian populations, with roughly two times as many non-whites considering racism to be a top national problem.
Among religious groups, white evangelicals have perhaps the most complicated relationship with racial issues. For instance, the birth of the Southern Baptist Convention was largely predicated on defending slavery; a large number of Christians in southern states were responsible for upholding the divisive laws of the Jim Crow era. There have been many instances of progress regarding racial relations where white evangelical Christians are concerned; but even quite recently, white evangelicals have been far less prone to recognize the widespread discrimination toward blacks.
The Christian community has been caring for orphaned and abandoned children for hundreds of years, but technology and broader contact with the wider world have resulted in a greater number of interracial adoptions for evangelical Christians, forcing them to come face-to-face with their own understanding of race and racism.