Eddie Glaude in a Firestorm Over the Black Church

Princeton religion professor draws sharp criticism for his diagnosis of the institution's health.

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A Princeton professor who suggested that the "black church is dead" has been barraged by criticism, and not just for his arguments. Eddie Glaude, who teaches philosophy of religion has been accused of being an "Ivy League elitist"after a Web posting that "The Black Church is Dead" on Huffington Post.

A New York Times article reported the outrage.

“When I came up with the title, I said, ‘Lord, what am I doing?’ ” Professor Glaude, 41, recalled in a telephone interview this week. “And as I was thinking that, I hit the send key. With the understanding that I would be in the firestorm.”

Early in the obituary, Professor Glaude declared, “The idea of this venerable institution as central to black life and as a repository for the social and moral conscience of the nation has all but disappeared.” He added later, “The idea of a black church standing at the center of all that takes place in a community has long since passed away.”

Professor Glaude argued that many black churches espouse conservative politics, especially on social issues, and have failed to address current liberal causes like health care reform. Ministries devoted to self-help or the so-called health and wealth gospel, some led by whites, draw black followers.