The effects coronavirus is having on health and well being within the African American community has become all too obvious as documentation from state governments as well as the federal government becomes available.
But despite all the ways in which the pandemic is affecting people of color, religious faith among Black people has not waivered one bit, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.
The survey shows that 56 percent of people who attend historically African American churches say their faith has strengthened since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, despite many of their houses of worship being closed.
Black people are also more likely than whites (35 percent) to say their faith has grown during the pandemic, according to the research. It was, however, unclear how many African Americans have converted to watching church services online, but Pew said 57 percent of adults, who attend services at least monthly, say they have watched online or religious programming on television due to the pandemic.
African Americans of faith have unfortunately had their faith vastly tested with the loss of several key figures in their churches and mosques. In the Church of God In Christ, several important and influential leaders have been taken by COVID-19, costing the denomination 30 bishops and clergy.
“This will change the ecosystem of Black church life,” Anthea Butler, a University of Pennsylvania associate professor of religious studies told The Washington Post recently. “It’s showing the inequities of health disparities and economic disparities in the Black community.”
There are places where the faithful are mobilizing against coronavirus. In Philadelphia, the West Philadelphia Seventh Day Adventist Church has stepped up as a beacon to their community by providing testing for people in the neighborhood.
“When times get dark, the church demonstrates its relevance. What you’re seeing now is the church, as it has always been in the Black community in particular, filling the place where government and social-economics fail,” Pastor Nick Taliaferro told the Philadelphia Tribune.
Also, a group called The National Black Muslim COVID Coalition has conducted their own survey to compile information about how the disease is affecting Islamic communities.
“This is something many of us have thought about and wanted to do for our communities, and the pandemic was definitely a catalyst for it,” Asha Noor, who represents the coalition, recently told Religion News Service. “Our community’s voices are really important, and they’re critically important during moments of crisis and conflict like this.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says African Americans make up 28.5 percent of coronavirus cases for which racial backgrounds are reported.