It would not be until I was well into a PhD program at Emory University in my thirties that I was confronted with the brutal violence that white Christians deployed to resist black enfranchisement following the Civil War. The theologically backed assertion of the superiority of both “the white race” and Protestant Christianity undergirded a century of religiously sanctioned terrorism in the form of ritualized lynching and other forms of public violence and intimidation. Both the informal conduits of white power, such as the White Citizen’s Councils of the 1950s and 1960s, and the state and local government offices, were populated by pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers, and other upstanding members of prominent white churches. The link between political leaders and prominent white churches was not just incidental; these religious connections served as the moral underpinning for the entire project of protecting the dominant social and political standing of whites.
From “White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity” by Robert P. Jones