And Christianity goes to meet its friends over in the corner, Mercy, Hope, and Peace, and never talks to the two ideas it happened to walk in with because they are totally antithetical to it.
Is how that should go, right? So even someone like me who lives under a rock (a.k.a. in a hospital pretty much ALL THE TIME—I had my last 24-hour shift this past weekend and it was brutal) is aware that shit went down this week in Charlottesville, Virginia. And as a white person, it is incumbent on me to take every platform on which I have a voice to say unequivocally that I denounce that violence, that I denounce that idolism, that I denounce the idea that it is ever okay to talk about “getting our country back” as though it was ever ours and as though there’s some kind of fight over it right now. It is incumbent on me to call out racism and refuse to accept it in any form because, being white, my voice has the kind of power that carries. It is incumbent on me to work to dismantle that kind of power because my black and brown brothers and sisters are fierce and wonderful creations of God who deserve every ounce of humanity given them at their very birth.
Because here’s the thing—so much of the alt-right/Nazi-istic/KKK shit going down in Virginia claims connection to Christianity and that does not work. Christianity is a religion built around a brown Jew from a poor provincial town, an insignificant carpenter’s son Who was executed for threatening the secular power system by saying things like hey, maybe we shouldn’t put God and money on the same level and perhaps prostitutes are people, too. There is literally no place in the Bible where I can see any kind of support for violently marching through a town in defense of an icon of a treasonous general supporting a slave state based on the color of people’s skin, and yes I am including the Old Testament in that statement. If you feel like I’ve missed something, I very seriously and honestly want you to let me know because there is no Christ in the Christianity I hear from the alt-right. There is no love, there is no reverence for life, there is no hope, there is nothing but hate and blindness in the dim light of those tiki torches.
It is not only my color that demands I speak against this but my faith. I am a preacher, I am a chaplain, I am a pastor, I am a faith leader and it pisses me off to see the God Who has loved me to a state of wholeness in which I might actually be okay in this life be dragged through the mud like this. BUT I do not get to say that the people in the march are thus less human, because that same God laid in His own blood in the dirt while men hurled insults at Him and His death was for them, too. The men in Virginia are my brothers, my fellow humans, God’s created children, and the reason that God blows my mind and keeps pulling me back in is that I am called to denounce them utterly and love them completely at the same time.
As are you, whether you’re Christian or not, because all faith systems save maybe Satanism have an inherent recognition that the other person is bound to you in some way and that you can’t treat someone else like they are less to make you more. Even atheism, if done with any morality at all, has a certain appreciation of other people. If I’m going to say that my black and brown friends are valuable and wonderful and beautiful if only because they are human, then I better be prepared to say that these white supremacists who scare the hell out of me are also valuable (if not wonderful or beautiful) because they are human and I do not get to take that humanity away from them. Even if I really, really want to.
But I do get to call out hate where I see it and say that isn’t okay. I do get to refuse to let my silence be my complicity, as President Trump has so cowardly done. I must do these things, because I call on the name of a God Who will look me in the eye at the end of days and ask whether I gave food to Him when He was hungry, whether I gave Her drink when She was thirsty, whether I clothed Him when He was naked, whether I gave Her housing when She was without shelter, whether I visited Him when He was in prison, whether I looked at Her and saw God in every shade possible.
White supremacy has no place with God. Racism has no place with God. The idea of America has no place with God, for “My kingdom is not of this world.” And I will say that plainly, baldly, forcefully from every platform I can find and call upon everyone who reads this to do the same because I cannot pray with any patient or preach from any pulpit if I do not. That would be hypocrisy of the highest order, and I have had enough of being a whitewashed tomb.
Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10, NET Bible)