The twentieth Century has seen some significant social changes that have challenged traditional interpretations of scripture in America’s churches. Anti-Semitism and racial prejudice have fallen, and women’s roles and status have changed, as have sexual practices and attitudes. In the past, scripture has been used to justify anti-Semitism, discrimination against Afro-Americans, women’s subordination to men, and opposition to divorce, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality. Some churches have adapted scriptural interpretations to accommodate social changes, while others have stood firm against them. There is a strong correlation between church performance and response differences. Additionally, they have sharply varying implications for the future of the churches, especially their ability to exercise moral authority.
There are dozens of churches in Oakland, as well as several cathedrals. Some historical photos show the Churches of Oakland in the late 19th and 20th centuries.