Monday, August 21, 2017

The Christian Response to White Supremacy

To achieve and maintain a credible, public Christian political witness, truth must be valued. So must humility, temperance, consistency, brotherly kindness, and other qualities that are perfectly reflective of what it means to be Christian and to uphold Christian character.

 

The responses to the white supremacy rally and the resulting violence in Charlottesville have metastasized out of proportion to what happened. The media’s amplification and exploitation of last weekend’s events, the surrounding tensions and virtue signaling reactions have been irresponsible and destructive. The renewed push to erase history by removing Confederate memorabilia from public view are misguided acts – superficial symbolism that won’t have a meaningful effect in reducing white identity politics or racial discrimination.

What’s also been irresponsible are some of the responses and reactions by Christian onlookers.

To achieve and maintain a credible, public Christian political witness, truth must be valued. So must humility, temperance, consistency, brotherly kindness, and other qualities that are perfectly reflective of what it means to be Christian and to uphold Christian character.

Sadly, much of that seems to be lacking from many Christian responses. Rather than responding in a manner morally reflective of the Sermon on the Mount, many of these reactions are merely self-serving sermons on soapboxes that serve and misplace blame or are steeped in racial moral grandstanding.

For example, several written reactions and responses from black Christians have been as foolish as they are discouraging. These “Christian” reactions have amounted to scolding white Christians and pastors for contributing to white supremacy (and by extension, the racists in Charlottesville) and demanding apologies for their contributions to it. After berating alleged Christian sympathizers of white supremacy, these black Christians suggest that their fellow white brothers and sisters in Christ sit down, shut up and obediently listen to embellished, politicized accounts of racial victimization cloaked in a Christian veneer. They then oblige white Christians to clean up the racial mess white Christians created with the possibility of earning a few racial penance points for challenging the guilt and sin of white supremacy.

It’s certainly self-serving and beneficial for any black Christians that support this program of coerced repentance. But this doesn’t solve the extremes of Charlottesville (which isn’t related to Christianity) or soothe interracial (or interethnic) tensions and inequalities in the American Church.

And it’s certainly not Christian.

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