The Radicalization of American Christianity
I write to hold sacred space. What often arises are stories from my life or our collective humanity that build a bridge between us and God.
However, every time I tried to write this particular blog I froze, unable to focus on anything other than the crisis facing our nation and its implications for the United States and the rest of the world. Make no mistake -- the world was indeed watching, horrified that our great democracy had spiraled into a pit of darkness.
We must pause here, Beloved.
If you think these past four years are to blame for this moment in history, you are sorely mistaken.
It is time we accept that our country’s roots in white supremacy, deeply entrenched in radicalized sects of Christianity, have been seething for years -- waiting for a leader to validate their racist, sexist, homophobic views that have, for centuries, sought to suppress the rights of their fellow Americans…
all under the banner of Jesus.
The radicalization of American Christianity began long before Donald Trump. It was part of the founding of this country, and began when scripture was used to justify the annihilation and enslavement of the indigenous people and their land.
It continued throughout the civil war when the South believed that Divine providence assured they would prevail and defeat the evils of the North. Their loss did nothing to change their ideology that the white male was charged to dominate and rule this nation.
The Bible was used to suppress the rights of women and keep them anchored to their kitchens while Blacks were dehumanized and not only denied the right to vote, but to use the same bathrooms.
All of this while praising the Jesus they molded into a radical segregationist to justify their homophobic, misygonistic and racist beliefs. While the Civil War was generations ago, opponents of the 60’s Civil Rights movements are still alive today. They’ve been festering for years, while singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” from their pews, conflating equal rights for others as a loss of their own.
Enter Jerry Falwell, the popular Southern Baptist minister who in the 1980’s was invited to be the tie to bind religion to politics.
Why? Because politicians saw what was coming. The white evangelical Christian was becoming the minority. The “Moral Majority,” as they were known by Falwell, had no issue taking a deep, immoral dive in order to retain power.
Then-President Ronald Reagan followed Falwell’s advice to ignore the developing AIDS crisis that eventually killed millions. He believed that it was Divinely ordered to deal with the LGBTQ community.
Fast forward to 2015, Trump and his accomplices saw the rage and phobia brewing inside the evangelical Christian and used it as a political model for election. He tapped into their bigotry and hatred to crown himself their leader.
They were duped into believing that Trump gave a damn about their religion or values, and his dangerous rhetoric was music to their radicalized ears..
However, those of us who are not bigoted zealots knew exactly how this would end.
Despite it all, good will prevail because people are opening their eyes.
The radicalized Christian has been fully exposed in their complicity in a deadly insurrection.
Just like their forefathers who left their homes and church pews to fight for their right to shackle and enslave Black men, women and children.
Christians that yoked themselves to evil depravity years ago, desperate to remain in power, rationalizing political corruption as justified and ordained by God.
It is not.
This slow march to January 6, 2021 has been coming for years.
It will be forever known as our day of awakening.
A new America has dawned.
One that has finally wrenched the hateful hands of radical Christianity from the neck of democracy.
America is for everyone. Not just those who look, love and believe like the white, American Christian.
It’s time our politics and our spirituality expand to reflect all of us.
That is the table that Jesus set.
*Side note: For those who will come at me about this not being the entirety of Christianity, I know this. But let’s be honest, regardless of your denomination or beliefs, you also know that little has been done within Christianity itself to push back on its toxic rhetoric. You know they’ve been influencing politics for years. You know they believe they can suppress the rights of their fellow Americans based on their beliefs.
If you didn’t know, you do now - and you also know that more should have been done to stop this. It is largely to blame for the steady defection of people who reject Christianity, opting for the spiritual-but-not-religious path…