“Birds of a feather flock together.”
This rule governs our social relationships. It does not govern our economic relationships. This pair of facts is unfortunately not understood very well. Sociologists do not understand this paradox. Economists do, but they rarely emphasize it.
Let me give an obvious example. Most Americans attend churches with similar racial makeup. It is said that the church is the most racially segregated institution in the United States. This is one of the stupidest statements I can imagine. The church, meaning the church as a whole, is the most integrated institution in the United States, and everywhere else on earth. There is no other institution that comes close to the integration of the church.
The tax-funded schools come close, but they are imitations of the church. They are the West’s only established church.
It was not an accident that Massachusetts in 1833 became the last state to stop using taxes to subsidize local churches, and became the first state with a state Board of Education in 1837. It was an obvious transition. It was Unitarianism’s coup against the Trinitarians. It worked.
When people say that the church is the most racially segregated institution in America, they have in mind local congregations. But a single local congregation is not the church. The church is the all-encompassing, international, multilingual, multicultural institution that has survived for almost 2000 years.
A local congregation is segregated on a voluntary basis. It was far less segregated under the old slave system. Slaves attended church in the American South with their owners. They sat in a different section of the church, but they were in church. Slave owners were generally resistant to Methodist preachers, because Methodist preachers went into the slave quarters and preached when owners were absent. Some of them were black. Slave owners were not interested in that kind of segregation.
The reason there is an African Methodist Episcopal Church is because ex-slaves were not welcomed into the white Episcopal Church after 1865. So, they combined the two traditions. They had been Methodists in the slave quarters; they had been Episcopalians in the slave section of church.
People worship in the way their granddaddies worshiped. Anyway, the old-timers do. They worship with people who look like they do, who think like they do, who sing the same hymns they do, who like the same liturgy they do, and who live in the same kinds of subdivisions that they do. This is all voluntary. This is how people want to worship. People don’t want to be sore thumbs.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)