*Different perspectives of faith in black churches, as highlighted by Christian religious leaders in an ongoing television series, reveal the widespread influence of Christianity on the personal and communal lives of African Americans.

CNN, through their series “The Black Pulpit,” featured five distinguished church leaders who said that Christianity is a large part of African-American tradition, by citing the role it played in the areas of courage, fortitude, education, finances and freedom.

Courage, fortitude despite odds

Dr. C. Vanessa White, a Catholic lay leader, heads a program that grooms African-American Catholics for lay church ministry. According to White, the church is a source of courage amid great odds, CNN said.

White said, “What has helped black Catholics survive in the midst of almost insurmountable odds is a spirituality that bridges both our African-American experience and our Catholic faith,” according to CNN.

Another CNN documentary, “Almighty Debt,” featured Rev. DeForest “Buster” Soaries Jr., senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey, who said faith has given African-Americans the fortitude to succeed.

Soaries told CNN, “What is irrefutable is that without a deep and authentic faith and a passion for the institutional development of that faith, African-Americans could have never sustained the fortitude necessary to survive and succeed in the American experience.”

The CNN documentary noted that beyond slavery, African Americans have been through history denied loans, prevented from purchasing real estate in some locations and undergone other forms of discrimination, according to the Daily News.

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