Letters to the Editor: America’s housing is segregated. No surprise its churches are too

The twin white steeples of Sts. Peter and Paul Church rise amid housing in San Francisco.
Sts. Peter and Paul Church is surrounded by blocks of dense housing in San Francisco.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

To the editor: It is always uplifting to read of someone, like columnist LZ Granderson, who tears up when listening to church music and who is open about his faith. (“Can America break through the tribalism of Sunday mornings?” Opinion, Feb. 14)

I would point out that the main reason people of color and white parishioners don’t intermix on Sunday is because of our history of forcing Black people into ghettos. At no time in our country’s history have African Americans been allowed to live where they might prefer.

Before the Civil War, Black slaves were almost always housed in shacks that were out of sight of the mansions of their owners, and at no time since then have they been widely welcomed in white neighborhoods. Redlining, exclusive community bylaws and other restrictions have managed to keep segregation in housing at the forefront of our problems today.


People tend to worship in their local houses of prayer rather than taking a longer route to where they may not feel as comfortable or even welcome. This is just one more tragedy of race relations in America, and it brings tears to the eyes of this penitent white supremacist.

The Rev. Paul Elder, Malibu


To the editor: I appreciated Granderson’s thoughtful, historically informed analysis of racial “tribalism” in American churches. I was surprised, however, that as an openly gay man himself, he made no mention of the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric that consistently comes from so many Christian churches.

Surely this is another disgraceful form of Sunday morning tribalism — in which proudly LGBTQ Christians must cower for safety in the small number of churches willing to accept them — that deserves mention and criticism.

Craig Loftin, Long Beach


To the editor: I read Granderson’s column before worshiping virtually at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Ventura. I would like him to know that at this particular church, all are welcome — people of every ethnicity, age and sexual orientation. Music is presented and sung in a variety of styles and languages, and American Sign Language is not only used in services but also taught.


During this pandemic, I miss seeing, conversing with and worshiping with my fellow parishioners who enrich and enlarge my life with their presence each week — the “kaleidoscope of humanity,” as Granderson puts it. I understand the segregated model, having been part of it for many years and in several locations.

I much prefer this diverse setting. I remain hopeful that others will find and participate in something similar. Perhaps our country can find healing in such settings.

Karen Scott Browdy, Fillmore