It has been a week since the 2016 Presidential election. I wish I could say that the dust has settled and I’m feeling optimistic, but that is so far from the case. I am not calm, and I am not settled. I’ve moved out of the silence of shock and into the mess of processing and facing reality. And in that mess, I’ve uncovered some deep wounds inflicted upon me and others like me by a community of people that call themselves my brothers and sisters. White evangelical Christians, it turns out that we’re not so close. In fact, I don’t know you at all.
You’re not racist, you say.
You care about all people, you say.
You just want to be like Jesus, you say.
White evangelical Christians, you say a lot of things that sound progressive, inclusive, and all around loving, but what you actually do was brought into the limelight during this year’s election.
You see, stats show that 80% of white evangelical voters voted for Trump.
Well, in short, it means that white evangelicals are willing to overlook minority rights and minority lives in order to further their own systems of power and privilege, whether it be political or otherwise.
Whoa, that’s harsh.
Yes, it is. And it’s also true.
But why are you calling out all White Christians?
I’m not. Of course it’s not as easy as calling out every white person in America. There are in fact some self-aware and racially aware white folks in the world and in the church. So no, I am not calling out all white evangelical Christians. Not all of them are pushing the wheel of white supremacy. What I’m saying is that enough white evangelicals are pushing this wheel—so much so that Donald J. Trump is now President-elect. So much so that people can somehow look past the misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, and flat out racist comments and actions of Donald Trump because these comments and actions do not immediately affect them. That, my friends, is what’s at the core of white supremacy—refusing to recognize (let alone stand up for) the betterment of people of other races, ethnicities, sexes, genders, and beliefs because it has nothing to do with you. Allowing hate to rise to power because that hate isn’t directed at you and your whiteness.
Okay, but WWJD?
Look, I get it. To some, there are many hot button issues upon which the Bible and the GOP seem to align. But one thing is absolutely clear—Jesus constantly and consistently went out of his way to make sure that the oppressed and the underrepresented were not overlooked. He called us to be one body. He did not call us to be many parts literally separated by walls. He did not call us to profile certain ethnic groups and deem them unworthy of our hospitality. And when tempted with political power and privilege, Christ himself exclaimed, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matt. 16:23). What would Jesus do? I can’t say for sure what he would do now, but in view of his historical pattern of radical justice, he clearly calls us to turn away from the pursuit of power and supremacy (Matt. 20, Mark 10, Luke 13—to name a few) and to instead turn towards seeking justice for the oppressed (Matt. 25, Jer. 22, Micah 6, 1 John 3, Romans 12, and many, many more). If you’re letting your moral beliefs about abortion and marriage become the basis for your entire line of thinking regarding your political stance, you’re doing Jesus wrong.
White supremacy won again last week. It will likely continue to win in the days and years to come. But there is no room for this type of self-serving power in the Kingdom of God, and there is no room for it in the church.
Do better, white Christians. Do better.