In his sharp debut, Goza… writes with passion about the racist and classist roots of America’s political and religious institutions. Grounding his work in the philosophies of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Adam Smith, Goza convincingly argues that America’s Founding Fathers deliberately designed a racist and inequitable society….Goza’s ability to sharply discern and clearly explain ideas underlying American thinking will open important conversations about the nature of equality.
— Publishers Weekly, starred review
An impressive analysis of the some of the religious and secular thinkers who inspired America’s addiction to racist ideas—an addiction that continues to destroy America. America’s Unholy Ghosts is for anyone daring to be antiracist, daring to end racial inequity.
— Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Joel Goza writes within the faith traditions of the Black Prophetic Church with the passion of a modern-day racial justice apostle, and with the mind of a philosopher unraveling some of the oldest ideas to justify racism and poverty. America’s Unholy Ghosts is an urgent offering to its readers who seek exorcism and rebirth for a new nation.
— Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Harvard Kennedy School, author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America
America’s Unholy Ghosts is a paradigm shifter. This book fundamentally reorients our understanding of race, faith, politics, and our intellectual heroes. You will see the world differently after reading this book. A tour de force.
—Michael O. Emerson, Author of Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America
Joel Edward Goza has rung the bell in his classic, America’s Unholy Ghosts. With his clinical analysis of Hobbes, Locke, and Adam Smith, he has uncovered the real roots of racism, war, and poverty. My friend, teacher, and leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., would be pleased with this analysis, which allows healing of root causes and no longer just fiddling around with symptoms. Anyone serious about healing the soul of nations will make this book a trusted companion.
—Dr. Virgil A. Wood – Church Leader, Educator, Civil Rights Activist, and member of MLK Jr.’s SCLC Executive Committee 1959-1968
This is a major and thoughtful contribution to the anti racism movement.
— Gerald Horne – activist and author of The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America
Joel Goza has done his homework and paid his dues. He is the best of all possible interpreters of the racial dilemmas facing America. He has read the books and, simultaneously, lived the life in Houston’s challenging 5th Ward. America’s Unholy Ghosts is the result of years of digging into the philosophical roots of American racism. Goza’s easy, conversational style demystifyies the philosophers who helped shape our thinking. He skillfully reads the world they created through the lens of Martin Luther King’s prophetic critique. This is a challenging and delightful essay on endurance and hope.
—Richard Lischer, author of The Preacher King
A wonderful read…The depth of thought and writing are so savory that I find myself going over the lines again to make sure that I have received the full force of what America’s Unholy Ghosts puts before us…this kind of book is the pause that refreshes my spirit!
— Cleophus J. LaRue, Princeton Theological Seminary, Author of The Heart of Black Preaching
Joel Goza could not have perceived how racism was and is imagined, institutionalized, and ingrained in U.S. American life had he not experienced the black church. America’s Unholy Ghosts is a probing, spirited, edgy, ethical reflection on how both things happened, perceiving a baleful national legacy through the lens of black church faith and struggle.
—Gary Dorrien, Union Theological Seminary, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics and Author of Breaking White Supremacy and The New Abolition
Joel Goza introduces us to those respected intellectuals whose ideas became the D N A of white supremacy and American exceptionalism. He carefully and clearly documents his presentation with preciseness and ethical urgency that calls for an awakening from our apathetic slumbers. This book is a must read .
— J. Alfred Smith, Sr.— Past President the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Pastor Emeritus, Allen Temple, & Professor Emeritus American Baptist. Seminary of the West
From the front lines of battling America’s original sin, Joel Goza has written a truthful, immediately relevant book. Joel raises the ghosts of the genteel philosophical roots of our racialized thinking to show us how white supremacy required the assistance of some of Europe and America’s most revered thinkers. Joel exposes the bad thinking that led to evil ideas and deeds and then ends with an eloquent call for us to move from hearing the truth to doing the truth in regard to race in America. We’ll be coming to terms with and benefiting from this book for a long time, thank God.
—Will Willimon, author of Who Lynched Willie Earle: Preaching to Confront Racism
This book is an illuminating, challenging and well-written exploration into the hidden roots and unnoticed manifestations of racism. Reading it has helped me understand the frightening circumstances of our day in the light of our past. I recommend it enthusiastically.
—Justo L. González, author of The Story of Christianity and Mañana
Joel Goza boldly and eloquently confronts white supremacy’s sadistic presence. America’s Unholy Ghosts insightfully strands together philosophy, politics, theology, race, and memoir to elucidate the contemporary predicaments of racial and economic inequality. It is an urgent and compelling call to action.
— Phillip Luke Sinitiere, author of Protest and Propaganda: W. E. B. Du Bois, the CRISIS, and American History
In this book, Joel Goza explores the role that ideas can play in justifying and normalizing racialized injustice. In undertaking this type of intellectual archeology, Goza makes the case that racism is not an aberration but is buried deep in the DNA of our political and economic system. Goza’s own active commitment to racial justice shines through in his prose. He makes a contribution here to a long-overdue conversation on the intellectual roots of racism, and inspires us not only to think but also to act.
— William Cavanaugh, Director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology and author of Being Consumed and the Myth of Religious Violence