Faith and leadership in the inner city: How social capital contributes to democratic renewal by Mark R. Warren is an article under discussion. The author speaks about social capital, faith communities and the contribution to democratic renewal.
The article speaks about social capital and its participation in democratic opinion, about religious communities in the Texas Industrial Areas Foundation network, about Mexican-American catholic communities, African American Protestant congregations and about some limitations to the Industrial Areas Foundation approach.
The main idea of the article is that different religious communities and organizations play important role in the political life of the USA. Much attention is paid to Industrial Areas Foundation and its role in political impact in the society.
Social Capital and Its Participation in Democratic Opinion
Much research has been conducted in the sphere of the impact of religious organizations and political life in the country. The author of the article states that impact of religious organization on human consciousness is great due to the particular specifics of the religious organizations.
“Social capital underpins democracy because it provides the relationships of trust and habits of cooperation for citizens to work together to solve common problems” (Warren 51). At the same time all religious organizations are based on trust and habit of cooperation, the main idea of each religious structure is to believe and to help. Therefore, the connection is inevitable. Different religious structures help poor and low-income people acquire some particular skills that adds to the social capital.
Thus, the opportunity to get trained in different workshop professions is significant for many people who do not have chances to be professionally taught (Nemeth and Luidens 264). Thus, it may be concluded that the author of the article is sure that social capital, religious structures and democratic opinion of the citizens are closely interconnected by means of trust and habit of cooperation.
Religious Communities in the Texas Industrial Areas Foundation Network
Industrial Areas Foundation is a national network of faith-based community organizations. There are a lot of such faith communities in Texas which are aimed at engaging political action for community development. The strategy of “relational organizing” (Warren 52) is used.
The main idea of this strategy is to create a discussion group which deals with the problems and necessities of the community. Thus, being offered help and assistance from Industrial Areas Foundation, religious communities are ready to assist the network with motivating others in being politically conscious.
The authors stresses on high number of Hispanic Catholic parishes which impact the raise of Hispanic population in the state. Trying to recruit as many communities as possible the Industrial Areas Foundation searches for connections with all churches which exist in the area. As it has already been mentioned Mexican-American communities are the most numerous.
The difficulty exists with African American communities which have another direction in religion opinion and different traditions. It created complications for Industrial Areas Foundation with recruiting the members of this community. Still, the work continues. For better understanding of the scope of work for the Industrial Areas Foundation the Mexican-American and African American religious communities should be considered in detail.
Mexican-American Catholic Communities
The teaching of this community adds greatly to the political awareness of the Industrial Areas Foundation. Mexican-American communities teach their members to deal with each other, to help and base relationships on reciprocal duties and responsibilities.
While some members of the Industrial Areas Foundation tries to convince priests that political action is one of the best ways for building a strong and supportive community, other, non-partisan employees of the Industrial Areas Foundation make all possible to represent the results of the political actions an attractive issue (Warren 59).
One of the main reasons why Hispanic communities are attracted with the offers of Industrial Areas Foundation and support them in intruding politically correct opinion in the society is that the Foundation is ready to assist in leadership and helping the priest leaders to organize their work inside the community. Leadership is an important facility which maybe helpful for priest and they are ready to do all possible to lead their community to the God.
African American Protestant Congregations
The situation with African American communities is different due to the specific background of faith which lies in the heart of their religion. The whole religion is based on the principle of freedom. This gives additional points to the democratization of the society as even though the community does not set such purposes.
It should also be stated that African American communities have rich experience in political issues as they have been the leading organizations in the political movement directed at releasing the community from slavery (Wilmore 260). The main problem of work between Industrial Areas Foundation and African American communities is that the latter are directed primarily on the racial justice while Industrial Areas Foundation wants to pay more attention to the community-building (Warren 63).
Thus, the proclamations of the African religious communities bear another nature, different from the desired. But this assistance is also valued and appreciated as the activities of the Industrial Areas Foundation are not limited to one specific idea and the desire to be free is one of the convictions of the African American community.
Some Limitations to the Industrial Areas Foundation approach
Industrial Areas Foundation is one of the few organizations which has managed to organize the leaders of the community and to encourage them for proclaiming democratic speeches among their members.
Nevertheless, there are a number of limitations which should be considered with the purpose to understand what should be done to reduce those limitations. Being directed at low-income and middle-class workers, Industrial Areas Foundation does not impacts the poorest layers of the population, but it is a greatest niche to work with. The greatest part of the Hispanic population is poor (Warren 64).
According to the research, poor people are less likely to attend churches, so they are not impacted by the community (Coleman 40). Furthermore, the political impact of black communities is not that broad as people may seem. Being directed at the freedom of the whole community, African-American communities are still participate in the political life of the society, but their impact on democratization renewal is too little.
Therefore, it may be concluded that e problem of democratization renewal in the society is solved mostly by means of the inclusion of the religion communities which work with low-income people and help those understand the impotence of being politically active and support democratization of the society. The activities of the Industrial Areas Foundation should be supported, and faith and cooperation which is declared by the religion communities is one of the main helper in delivering the message of democratization to the whole society.
Coleman, John A. “Religious social capital: Its nature, social location, and limits.” Religion as social capital: producing the common good. Ed. Corwin E. Smidt. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2003. 33-48. Print.
Nemeth, Roger J. and Donald A. Luidens. “The religious basis of charitable giving in America: A social capital perspective.” Religion as social capital: producing the common good. Ed. Corwin E. Smidt. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2003. 107-120. Print.
Warren, Mark R. “Faith and leadership in the inner city: How social capital contributes to democratic renewal.” Religion as social capital: producing the common good. Ed. Corwin E. Smidt. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2003.
Wilmore, Gayraud S. “Survival, elevation, and liberation in black community.” Black religion and Black radicalism: an interpretation of the religious history of African Americans. Ed. Gayraud S. Wilmore. New York: Orbis Books, 1998. 253-282. Print.