“Freee-domm!!!” At the top of his lungs, the so-called “QAnon Shaman” – also known as Jacob Chansley – walked the hall of Congress and breached the Senate chamber with his fellow “patriots” during the January 6 insurrection crying for freedom.
In the name of this freedom, they gathered at the citadel of democracy to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a free and fair election.
For them, freedom means imposing a fringe minority view upon everyone else. Or, to adapt an often-quoted adage: their freedom to swing their fist does not end where my nose begins.
In the name of freedom, women cannot decide what to do with their own bodies. In the name of freedom, lovers cannot choose which gender to be intimate with. In the name of freedom, the transgendered cannot determine the identity they wish to possess.
In the name of freedom, educators cannot teach anything which contradicts eurocentric propaganda. In the name of freedom, children cannot read books which offend the snowflake sensitivities of freedom-loving patriots.
If the truth will set you free, then what they call freedom cannot be truth for it is very restrictive, very suffocating, very authoritarian.
Freedom’s definition has been so colonized in the minds of those minoritized by eurocentrism that some of their self-appointed leaders use the white Christian nationalist definition to justify the oppression of those who share their skin pigmentation.
Take the example of Mark Robinson, North Carolina first Black Lieutenant-Governor and front-runner in the 2024 gubernatorial race. During a recent speech, he repeatedly reproved what he called the “so-called” civil rights movement of the 1960s, lamenting that “so many freedoms were lost.”
He is right, though. Whites lost the freedoms safeguarded by Jim and Jane Crow: the freedom of not having better qualified Blacks compete against them for jobs and housing, the freedom of not having Blacks sit next to their children at schools, the freedom of lynching whomever they want for whatever reason they desire. Yes, so many freedoms lost.
Freedom, as defined by white Christians, is deadly to all who fall short of whiteness. Freedom, as defined by white Christian males, is deadly to all who lack the proper chromosome. Freedom as defined by white heteronormative Christian males is deadly to all who embrace their queerness.
As a small boy in Jackson Heights, New York, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at Blessed Sacrament School, when I got to the line “with liberty and justice for all,” I instinctively knew – based on my then limited experiences – that I was excluded from the “all.”
Too many eurochristians – both historically and presently – offer soaring rhetoric about freedom while simultaneously grounding white supremacy.
When the French cried out Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité during their revolution, it was assumed that their colonized people in Vietnam, Haiti or Algiers were not included.
When Thomas Jefferson wrote those immortal words, “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” it did not apply to, or interfere with, the continuous rape of his 14-year-old slave child Sally Hemings.
The U.S. Declaration of Independence ensured freedom for white wealthy men only. To “Make America Great Again” is to return to the original intent of our Founding Fathers, to ensure and secure the freedom of white men – ideally, rich white men.
Eurochristianity’s purpose is – and has always been – to justify a MAGA-based political structure, which seeks to reconcile the liberty, equality and fraternity reserved for whites by excluding the descendants of those victims of genocide, enslaved or colonized on the margins of whiteness.
But the minds of those relegated to the underside of whiteness are so colonized that they cleave to the eurocentric thoughts, which are historically responsible for their marginalization believing they offer salvation.
Why, then, embrace a eurochristian understanding of freedom and the theology, which undergirds it as a touchstone for creating a worldview truth?
For centuries, those minoritized by eurohristian seekers of freedom have turned to their oppressors’ rhetoric to understand, define and express their own liberation. Embracing eurochristian freedom is, by extension, to embrace the social, political and economic structures which have always undergirded white supremacy.
For the descendants of those originally enslaved and colonized to either celebrate the Fourth of July as the signification of their freedom or embrace the religious worldview responsible for justifying their oppression – then and now – makes them (and us) complicit with our own disenfranchisement.
To seek and define freedom through eurocentric Christian motifs undermines the ability to implement the justice called for by the gospel message.
The tragedy of those relegated to non-white spaces within society is that they bend their knees to the white Jesus of eurochristianity or define freedom through the lens of the Fourth of July – worshiping the social structures this white Jesus signifies.
Liberation begins with discarding and dismissing eurochristianity and its white God created in the image of oppressors, along with the political structures it justifies.
Why is such a radical rejection necessary? Because euroamericans’ definition of freedom normalizes and legitimizes a worldview complicit with white supremacy, obstructing those seeking the liberation of the oppressed.
Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, and a contributing correspondent at Good Faith Media.