A White-Evangelical Wake Up Call
June 3 | 2020
About a week ago I read a friend’s Facebook status which stated: “usually my posts are political in nature but not this one,” and then went on to lament the murder of George Floyd.
Ever since, I have been sitting in the unease of this misconception held by so many white evangelicals: that human rights and justice can somehow exist separately from politics (as in, who you vote for). That you can “defend” black bodies on the one hand (on social media), and at the same time look the other way when it comes to overtly racist leaders and policies, as well as the structures and systems which were built to oppress some groups and advance others.
And I want to say to you: Nope. You can’t have it both ways.
- I know many of you don’t want it to be political. I know many of you don’t consider yourself political. But, I’m sorry, it just IS. Right now, it is (and, honestly, issues of racial equity always have been). Being apolitical or politically neutral (standing on the sidelines, being silent on injustice, not showing up to vote) IS in itself a political act — albeit, a lazy one. And only possible for we who are privileged. Many do not get the option or luxury of looking away, ignoring the realities, not caring. We who have the privilege can’t afford to squander it. There’s too much at stake. We have a responsibility in all of this.
- But worse is to claim to hate injustice (looking at you Christians) while actively supporting the ones dealing it out. Even if we give Trump the benefit of the doubt and say he has your family’s (and your church’s) best interests at heart, I’d ask you: is it enough just for you and your people to be safe? For you and your people to have liberty and justice? Because, EVERYONE ELSE IS BEING LEFT OUT. What gospel or bible or god are you following, telling you that’s okay?! Because the Actual Gospel of *the brown man* Jesus, is not just for some people — the rich people, the powerful majority, the “Americans” or even the Christians — it’s for all, but especially for those being held down on the bottom, under the knee of white supremacy and so many other injustices. Our president has fueled hate, cruelty, and racism, normalized dehumanizing language and lies, brought about human suffering and literal death, all driven by greed and lust for power. Does a picture of him holding up a Bible in front of a church make all of that somehow good or worth it? If you can’t see how he has USED white evangelicals for his own purposes…boy, I don’t know what to say. I’d ask you to look again, from a perspective foreign from your own. Please.
You can do whatever you want — that’s your right, your freedom. You CAN continue in ignorance and laziness, choosing not to pay attention, burying your head in the sand, accepting the illusions you want to believe. But know that you will NOT BE NEUTRAL in doing so. You will certainly not be Christian in doing so. You will be an accomplice to the problem. You will be complicit in the evils.
On the contrary, you can WAKE UP. You can critically examine yourself and your “gospel.” You can reckon with your own inherited racism, your ignorance, your reflex to defend yourself rather than the oppressed. You can commit to the work (there is no shortage of resources and teachers), start listening and learning. You can say you’re sorry. YOU CAN CHANGE.
That’s my primary source of hope in this dark time; that people can change. I pray we rise to the challenge.
Especially in the voting booth.
“One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an antiracist.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to be an Antiracist