The greatest threat to the message of Christ is white Christians (along with BIPOC Christians who embrace white theology).
This adulteration of the gospel message fuses and confuses God with country.
Long before Donald Trump ever rode down those golden escalators to announce his candidacy, MAGA and WWJD were already synonymous in the minds of his sycophants.
Whatever the good news proclaimed by Jesus was, it has been choked to death by white supremacy’s minions who call themselves Christians. Jesus cries out, “I can’t breathe.”
His message of radical solidarity with the least of these, his call for liberation from oppression, has been neutered and domesticated.
For Supreme Court seats, a Faustian bargain was struck to implement a so-called “pro-life” agenda that perpetuates death among the lives of Latinx children thrown into cages or their parents whose bodies litter the desert.
A pro-life agenda is touted, which slowly, yet systematically, brings death to vast segments of communities of color (and poor white folk) through police violence, poverty, inadequate health care and insufficient living wages that fail to provide proper housing and necessary nutrition required to sustain life.
The ethnonationalist rhetoric of white U.S. Christianity is incongruent with the hopes, desires and yearnings of minoritized groups and, thus, is unable to provide any type of salvation for those relegated to invisibility and voicelessness.
Nothing offered by beneficiaries of oppressive structures can ever satisfy the spiritual or liberative needs of the marginalized.
For every Brown immigrant child orphaned because they were ripped from their parents’ arms, every Black person whose life in the eyes of law enforcement does not matter, every voter whose ballot was suppressed, every queer person denied the dignity to love and be loved, every woman who fears sexual predators grabbing them by their privates — white Christian cult members, regardless if they are liberals or conservatives, are responsible.
How they vote makes them complicit.
The gospel call for justice is undermined by a matrix of white lies. If Jesus is to be saved, then he and his message must be wrestled from the iron-clad grip of white Christian hands.
This last election revealed a nation that might begin to move away from a white Christianity, which is dying. Some gods are indeed better off dead.
The white god of capitalism, the white god of socialism, the white god of militarism, the white god of pax Americana, the white god of Republicans, the white god of Democrats, the white god of nationalism and, of course, simply the white god that undergirds white supremacy, are all better off dead.
And let the dead bury the dead!
We celebrate the death of these false gods when we reject all Eurocentric philosophical and theological thought (yes, I did say all) because they remain oppressive and repressive to those who occupy minoritized spaces, regardless as to how liberal or reformed they are presented.
No doubt white Christians who see themselves as loving and caring would be horrified to be accused of belonging to a dangerous cult that is life denying and death causing to those relegated to their underside.
And yet, their employment of the biblical text to justify a misogynist, xenophobic, heterosexist and classist religious truth geared to make America first are the heirs to those who previously used that same book to genocide Indians, enslave Africans and invade Latin America.
White nationalist Christianity employs the language of liberty and equality, which historically excluded those who were enslaved, colonized and targets of genocide.
This has less to do with hypocrisy and everything to do with how a Eurocentric worldview was philosophically, theologically and spiritually constructed to justify oppression while employing freedom-based rhetoric.
Atrocities then, as well as now, are masked behind religious sounding platitudes.
The reason the house is divided against itself is due to the continuous prevalence of white Christianity within U.S. society, which refuses the call for justice that might move a nation toward reconciliation.
White Christian faith, devoid of social justice-based praxis, masks the violence of dispossessing and disenfranchising minoritized communities.
These communities of color continue to be the sacrificial lamb of God whose blood is shed so that white Americans can find their salvation.
The lives of those crucified on the crosses of misogynism, xenophobia, heterosexism and classism are offered up so whites can have life, and life abundantly. Upon this spilled blood, in the minds of white Christians, America can be made great again.
For many on the underside of U.S. white supremacy, their existence in this country has been one of abuse. While a mythology is spun about being a city upon a hill, what is ignored are those relegated to the shadows of light, forced to experience a horrible inhumanity.
The so-called “Christian nation,” which arose to become the greatest empire known to humanity, was made possible through the blood and sweat of those who fell short of the white ideal – those whose redness justified their genocide so their land could be stolen; whose blackness justified their enslavement so their labor could be stolen; and those whose brownness justified their invasion so their resources could be stolen.
All so that whiteness could enjoy all that society had to offer.
The relationship between communities of color and white America has historically been an abusive relationship. And like any domestic violence relationship, the battered spouse learns to self-police so as to minimize outbursts from the perpetrator.
Among all who experience a steady diet of violence, a day will come when they finally cry ¡basta!
Editor’s note: This article is part of a series this week for the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21). The previous articles in the series are:
What a Day It Would Be If We Did It | Starlette Thomas
Beyond Symbolic Posturing about Eliminating Racial Discrimination | Wendell Griffen
The Micro and Macro Faces of Racism | Chris Smith
Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.