Private pews lined the front rows of old churches, heated by charcoal foot warmers, paid for by the wealthy, while the poor sat apart, in the cold. Black churches are kept separate from white ones, even today. Churches were set up for domestic servants by their employers so that they could worship separately. Homeless, smelly worshippers are quietly ejected by strong ushers so they won't disturb the clean and orderly folk at prayer. Bikers, druggies, punks, gays, misfits and poor minorities: Aren't these the kind of people Jesus partied with? Yet they are considered unclean by good churchgoers, kept at a great distance and worthy only of condemnation. . . .

Overcoming class and other social barriers is very difficult. For it requires of us that we not only transcend powerful social prejudices and convictions about others. It also requires that we deal with our fears about the Other. The Other is always frightening to us, because he or she is unpredictable.

Brian C. Taylor, Becoming Human