Friends and passers-by: we have a problem. Two mass murders in a week. Seven mass murders since the beginning of this year (source). We experienced a lull this last year in gun violence because of the pandemic. That’s not good news. Because we also have lost over half a million brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends to the pandemic. Both epidemics have been made worse by the same thing: White, Right-Wing Christianity.
I do not have the space or energy to get into all the reasons we suffered more from the COVID pandemic and we suffer more from gun violence because of right-wing White Christianity. The short answer: far-right religious support in the election of the former president. My goal in this post today is not to connect all the dots for you; either you agree that Christian Nationalism is idolatrous, evil, and should be resisted, or you are a Christian Nationalist. For a longer and better discussion of American Christian Nationalism, head over here to this post. Equally obvious are the connections between who the right-wing religious groups vote for and the activity of the gun lobby: both favor the Republican Party. I’m tired of the deflection surrounding “2nd Amendment this” and “personal freedoms that.” I’m tired of trite “thoughts and prayers” as politicians reject and sidestep the overwhelming support we have for commonsense gun legislation.
But mostly, I’m tired of White Christians in the US who speak feebly about these problems out of fear of alienating church members. Jesus was pretty blunt when he disagreed with people; we suffer from a culture of niceness. Even when we don’t own guns ourselves or do and believe that they should be made difficult to obtain and personal responsibility, such as that required for people who own cars, should be legislated, we are not yelling loudly enough. When it comes to racism, sexism, and hate, we are not yelling loudly enough. When it comes to God’s love for everyone, and the dignity and worth of every person, we are far too silent. The right-wing elements scream about the ‘right to life’ for nonviable groups of cells, but feign care when it is first graders. When six Asian women are murdered in cold blood, the right gaslights us, trying to say it wasn’t a hate crime as if race or sex could possibly be separated from this act. Only if you don’t see Asian women as fully human, made in the image of God, can that argument possibly be made. White American Christianity has been very good at denying the full personhood of those who do not look like it.
As a mother and teacher, I’ve had it. I’ve had it with white-washed and White washed gospels and churches that refuse to take on evil power. I’m over pandering to conservative members “or otherwise they’ll join the megachurch down the street.” I’m sick of a feel good message that crucifies Black Americans, Asian Americans, women, the LGBTQ community, the poor and unhoused, and other marginalized groups through polite non-engagement. I refuse to worship my country and its culture. My child will know there is sin in the world, it goes by many names, and you will know it by the fruit it bears: violence, hate, gaslighting, power plays, misdirection, manipulation.
Jesus didn’t live by some “cause no offense” pact. He turned over tables when he confronted economic manipulation. He chided his followers and closest friends when they failed to live into their potential. He thoroughly angered a LOT of people. Certainly, we must be careful and reflective enough to know we are acting out of love and not out of a love for attention and power. We are not Jesus, and we won’t always get it right. But God is not on the side of hate. And our acceptance of this reality is entirely out of our fear of confrontation, of making waves and losing members. And that’s really why the White Christian church in the US is dying.