Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Religious Studies Dept.


Debra Campbell

Second Advisor

Julie Parker


This paper traces the history of the Ku Klux Klan and shows the evolution of the Klan from a Southern fraternity into a religious denomination. While Klan organizations deny the fact that they are a religious denomination, and generally see themselves as a religious entity supplementary to the Protestant church, it is clear that the Klan has become more than a fraternity to its members— it has become a form of spiritual guidance. As an organization, the Ku Klux Klan currently meets the necessary requirements for being considered both an abstract civil religion and a traditional religious institution. Starting in the 1920’s the Klan transformed into a religious denomination through their development of religious texts, faith-based ideology, rituals, and more. Additionally, the way in which the Klan identifies itself in relation to other religious denominations such as Catholics, Jews, and various Protestant groups separates them from other religions based on membership, values, and interpretation of the Bible. This paper sheds a new light on the Ku Klux Klan, and aims to give readers a previously unexplored understanding of KKK activities from a religious standpoint.


Full-text download restricted to Colby College campus only.


Religion, Ku Klux Klan

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