CNN Belief Blog: One religious institution that isn't so post-racial
Even as the communities that churches serve become more diverse, there’s some religious quarters where people of color remain dramatically underrepresented: the nation’s seminaries.
About one-third of all accredited theological schools lack a single minority faculty member, according to leaders with the Fund for Theological Education, a nonprofit group that offers mentoring and financial support for minority doctoral students at seminaries.
The fund is co-hosting a leadership conference this weekend at the Chicago Theological Seminary aimed at producing more African-American students at the doctoral level in theological schools.
Jonathan Walton, an assistant professor of African-American religions at Harvard Divinity School, says minority students who are identified as gifted at the college level are encouraged to go into law or medicine because of those fields' financial rewards.
Walton, who personally received financial and mentoring support from the Fund for Theological Education, says America’s future religious leaders won’t be able to serve their communities as well if they don’t receive training from a diverse seminary faculty.
“You want your training ground for America’s clergy to be as diverse as the country itself,” he says.