Christianity's Day of Reckoning
For a minute, it was somewhat entertaining.
The scenario would go something like this….
I would make a video disparaging the churches that are “welcoming” but not “affirming,” or who are intricately linked to white supremacy, which is inherent in American Christianity.
Wait for the comments to confirm the video is live.
There it is — the first comment.
“Thankfully my church is not like this.”
“Not all Christians are like this, Reverend. Please stop generalizing.”
“Come to my church! You’ll find people who love everyone!”
Oh the irony, and with all due respect, the ignorance that lives at the root of these responses.
I’m sure the commenters are well-meaning. But what they fail to recognize is that their indoctrination into Christianity is blinding them to the fact that declaring “not all Christians” isn’t going to save our democracy.
American Christianity is rooted in white supremacy
I’m not going to mince my words here, folks. We are running out of time, which means we must hold accountable those within Christianity who have been led to believe that the church down the street has nothing to do with them.
It turns out, however, that the “what that church believes is none of my business” phenomenon is exactly how we landed here — a country still reeling from the aftermath of a presidency where racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and sexism became America’s identity.
Make no mistake about it: America has always been racist. Our former president did not create racism in America. He simply gave it center stage and amplified the voices of those who believe that this country’s sovereignty is linked to the white man’s God-ordained dominance of this land.
And that white man is Christian, an ideology that originated in Manifest Destiny, a belief that any action white men took to possess this land was justifiable because it was the will of God.
Slavery, the complete annihilation of indigenous people, and the ravaging of the earth’s resources with little regard to its long-term impact prove that Manifest Destiny was one of the most dangerous ideologies that have done irreparable harm and still continue to in 2022.
What most progressive Christians don’t realize is that their version of Christianity originated from the same white supremacist rhetoric that is inherent in American Christianity.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that “not all Christians” exist, and they’re doing the hard work of decolonizing their religious heritage so they can be true allies who work for justice and equity. I applaud that work, but I am saddened by how few of them there are.
For the rest of those pretending to be allies, simply saying “not all Christians'' in the comment section on a social media platform is not adequate. Where is the work that is being done to end systemic racism? When has their church educated their congregants on Christianity’s link to its racist past, where the Bible was used to justify the enslavement of Black people, the oppression of women’s rights, the persecution of LGBTQIA+ humans, and the genocide of the indigenous natives of this land?
Where are they now as those of us sitting outside the church is screaming at the top of our lungs that our country is at risk of becoming a one-party, one-religion nation if extremist Christians gain control?
Simply put, “not all Christians” is a cop-out. It’s a phrase that distances the Christian from the problems with the church down the street where extremism is rampant. Yet, it does little to hold themselves or their own churches accountable for allowing the extremist church to become so powerful and influential in American politics.
Some will be astounded that I draw a straight line from progressive/liberal Christianity to extremist Christianity. I stand by that assertion because I’ve been in both camps of and know the complacency of the former and the radicalism of the latter. While there were genuine efforts in compassionate movements that fed those experiencing homelessness or needing emergency aid in the progressive churches that I attended, there was a deep divide when it came to issues such as ordaining members of the LGBTQIA+ community to be pastors. There was a real threat of schism then, and even today, that threat will soon become reality in the Methodist and Lutheran denominations.
This, I believe, signals how little progressive denominations truly understand the white supremacy entrenched in the long-held beliefs of people sitting in their pews. Make no mistake about it. While over 80% of evangelical Christians voted for Trump, no one talks about the fact that most white Americans who attend church voted for him.
Progressive churches are not as progressive as the majority of Americans think they are, and it is high time that they face rampant racism among their congregants.
We are tired of doing the work you should be doing
What is glaringly obvious to me, is who is calling out extremist Christians. Sadly, but not surprisingly, it is the unchurched person who, like me, views being an ally as more than feeding those experiencing homelessness on Saturday morning and checking off the “I did social justice” box for the week.
As crude as that may sound, it is high time that those of us who are unchurched, spiritual but not religious, agnostic and atheist are recognized for the tireless work we do to save our democracy, all while progressive Christians pop in to lament “not all Christians” as they hurry off to Sunday brunch after service.
If my words offend, good.
We no longer have the luxury of waiting for progressive Christians to find their voices and call out their extremist siblings for the threat to our freedoms. We no longer can wait for them to accept that Brother Bob sitting right in the pew next to them voted for Trump twice and secretly reads Q-anon propaganda while eating breakfast.
“Not all Christians” — I’m begging you.
Do the work of decolonizing your faith before it is too late. Lend your voice to those of us calling out extremist Christians who will turn us into a fascist nation. Help get the word out that people need to vote for those who would protect our freedoms.
And for God’s sake, call out white supremacy sitting in your own church pews. There is no denying it anymore, “Not all Christians.”
You are part of the problem.
And if you refuse to see this, you will be responsible for the church down the street coming into power that will even threaten your right to worship as you wish. Those who are historically oppressed are not the only ones whose lives will change if this happens.
Become a part of the solution.