Matthew J. Cressler is associate professor of religious studies at the College of Charleston. He is the author of Authentically Black and Truly Catholic: The Rise of Black Catholicism in the Great Migrations (NYU Press, 2017). He is currently at work on a history of white Catholic racism in the American century. He has written for The Atlantic, Slate, America, Zocalo Public Square, and Religion News Service. You can connect with him on Twitter @mjcressler.
This roundtable will reflect on the ways “law” and “order,” as secular and religious concepts, have constructed and reproduced racialized notions of “ideal” citizenship and religion in the context of US Catholicism.
This essay invites readers to consider what white Catholics reveal about the history and meaning of the term “law and order,” and what that turn of phrase reveals about twentieth century Catholicism in the United States.