Malcolm and the Cross: The Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, and Christianity

Malcolm and the Cross: The Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, and Christianity

Malcolm and the Cross: The Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, and Christianity

Malcolm and the Cross: The Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, and Christianity

Synopsis

Despite his association with the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X had an intimate relation with Christianity and Christians, which influenced his personal life and spirituality as well as his career. Lou Decaro's Malcolm and the Cross thoroughly explores the relation between Malcolm, the Nation of Islam, and Christianity. After revealing the religious roots of the Nation of Islam in relation to Christianity, DeCaro examines Malcolm's development and contributions as an activist, journalist, orator, and revolutionist against the backdrop of his familial religious heritage. In the process, DeCaro achieves nothing less than a radical rethinking of the way we understand Malcolm X, depicting him as a religious revolutionist whose analysis of Christianity is indispensable--particularly in an era when cultic Islam, Christianity, and traditional Islam continue to represent key factors in any discussion about racism in the United States.

Excerpt

In this secular, not to say cynical, age few tasks present greater
difficulty than that of compelling the well educated to take reli
gious matters seriously
.

—Eugene Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll (1974)

While I was preparing my first book, a religious biography of Malcolm X, I made the decision to put off discussing the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X in the context of Christianity and give primary focus to Islam. While this was an editorial expedient, I also recognized the importance of paying singular attention to Malcolm and Islam since this relationship is central to his life as a religious revolutionist. On the other hand, a religious analysis of Malcolm X is hardly complete without discussing his story in relation to Christianity. Although his eclectic religious upbringing blunts his own stylized claim to having been a Christian, the issue of Malcolm and Christianity remains relevant. Malcolm never received an orthodox Christian upbringing and was consequently incredulous toward doctrinal Christianity from the time of his youth. Nevertheless, Malcolm was exposed to the Christian church—at least to the many denominations of Protestantism—and dealt with Christians throughout his life. As a leader, both in the Nation of Islam and as an independent activist, Malcolm apparently recognized that as long as the Christian church was relevant in the black community, it was worthy of critical attention. To be sure, Malcolm’s analysis of the Christian church while in the Nation of Islam was bound up with the theological peculiarities . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.