How to FINALLY make America Great: Author and pastor has 11 ways to stop the rhetoric and live a Christian life

[The following interview appeared in the Feb 6th edition of Spark Magazine, a quarterly publication of the Winston Salem Journal.]

By Jodi Stephenson Sarver

Feb 6, 2017

The Rev. S.J. Munson’s name might be familiar to readers of the Winston-Salem Journal’s Opinion pages as an occasional letter writer. Writing is one of his passions, and he is the author of two books, Christ Held Hostage and The Treasure of Israel, as well as plays, theological articles and fiction.         

          His other passion is ministry, and for three decades he has been an outspoken activist with a deep concern for the issues of poverty and justice. After years of identifying as a conservative, Munson had what he calls a “political epiphany” during the 2000 presidential election. He discerned that issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and prayer in school became the hot-button topics that politicians kept using every two to four years to hijack Christianity, exploit voters and win elections, he says. He checked into liberal candidates, and he found similar problems in how their platforms meshed with biblical principles. He looked to independent candidates, and felt that they fared no better. Like Goldilocks in search of the right bed, Munson felt as if none of the political parties fit “just right” with Christ’s teachings.
          “Jesus is neither Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. You can’t classify him,” Munson explains. “I can safely say that Jesus never conceived that the church would be joined at the hip with one political party or another.”

          In his book Christ Held Hostage, Munson explains that political campaigns and the corporations that fund them politicize issues that “point a finger at others for being the source of our nation’s problems” and never make most Americans face their own complicity in a corrupt and unjust system.

          He decided it was time to focus on the issues that are most prevalent in the gospels: poverty, injustice and caring for the weakest members of society and then support the behaviors, policies and candidates in line with those teachings, regardless of party affiliation. What follows are Munson’s ideas about how Americans can challenge their biases and start the process of making this country great.

          Don’t Tolerate Intolerance. More than 85 percent of American churches are still mostly segregated, according to a 2014 study by LifeWay Research and corroborated by the Brookings Institute. It’s a passive form of racism when we segregate to worship, and it’s not reflective of how heaven will be, Munson explains.

          “The church looks all the more out of touch when it doesn’t reflect its community,” he says. In Acts 7, the ancient church was also confronted with the problem of cultural intolerance. A committee was formed, and church leaders decided that the best way to defeat intolerance was to transfer power from the current ruling church group to the outsiders.

          “A great way to diffuse racism is by transferring power to the powerless. The church has to be proactive and promote people of different races to power positions,” Munson says. “The church should not be a haven for racism, misogyny or xenophobia. It should be a place where our bigotries are exposed, not massaged.”

           Work for Peace Not War. How to treat other people … our enemies, immigrants, refugees, the poor … is all covered in Old Testament law and New Testament gospels, where compassion and mercy are foundational elements.

          “We have to disenthrall ourselves of violence, hate, greed and empire,” Munson says. As a country, he believes that Americans have become desensitized to what’s done in our name around the world by our leaders.

          “We must realize that those dots on a map are real people crying out for food, jobs and life. Isn’t being concerned about the victims of war a family value? If we don’t hear them, how do we expect that God will hear our cries?” Munson asks. “How can we want food, jobs and life for our family but not for others? Sabre-rattling is not Christianity. It’s not conservative versus liberal. It’s right versus wrong.”

          Build Bridges Not Walls. Many people know the parable of the Samaritan helping the Jew, but the cultural significance of this act can be lost today. He got him to a safe place and paid for his medical care, despite harboring deep-seated dislike and distrust.

“It’s a radical teaching,” Munson says. “Not only is our enemy our neighbor, but he is also the example of how to behave.” When Jesus talks about loving your enemies, he’s talking about people who may want to hurt you, he says. “That may seem unpatriotic, but we’re Christians first. Our citizenship is not of this world. We have to choose our heavenly citizenship.”

          Be an Involved Citizen. Have you seen Finding Nemo? At the end of the film, Nemo and Marlin are reunited, but Dory and other fish are caught in a trawler’s fishing net. Nemo and Marlin mobilize the fish to swim down, and the combined pressure of all their fins swimming in the same direction snaps the net.

          “Swimming together is how change happens. Voting every two to four years is not enough to make positive change happen,” Munson says, adding that as citizens we have to get involved. “Positive change happens when like-minded people band together and demand change,” he adds. Throughout this country’s history, Christians have banded together to take on issues including workers’ rights during the industrial revolution, women’s suffrage and child labor. “It’s not up to our president to change the country. It’s up to us to step up and work together to change something,” he says.

          Another civic duty citizens have is to ensure that the information they’re reading is coming from reputable sources. Using reliable and vetted sources from ethical journalists helps ensure people aren’t hearing propaganda, Munson says. “Don’t just believe what you see, hear or read. Check it out. Truth isn’t relative.”

          Ditch the Partisan Politics. When President George Washington left office, he gave a farewell address that is amazingly prophetic. In it he says that partisan politics has the ability to destroy a republic, serving as a distraction for leaders and agitator of the public, and it “opens the door to foreign influence and corruption” and causes men to “seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual” who in turn brings about the end of the republic.

          “Bailing out of the political party system is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m not invested in the party. I’m invested in the truth and what’s best for our country,” he says.

          Rediscover Humility. Humility should be an important aspect of Christian life, but there seems to be an idea among Christians in America that they need to be in control to effect change, but this is not a biblical concept, Munson explains.

“Jesus said the greatest among you will be the servant. He led by example, and that example is to be servant.” History shows that change isn’t effective when it comes from top down by edict, he says.

          “Christianity is much more effective when we live scripture and become a moral influence than a political power. Political power just makes us hated.” Munson believes that atheism and disillusionment are on the rise in U.S., and it’s mostly due to political partisanship.

          Become an Ethical Consumer. Many Americans love discounts, inexpensive products and finding the best deal. But what’s behind the “sale” sign is likely the product of child labor, sweatshops or even slavery.

          “We have a discount culture, and we want to get the most for our money, but we need to keep justice in mind. Is what we’re buying the fruit of injustice?” Munson asks. Although fair trade clothing is expensive compared to going to discount stores, thrift stores and garage sales are good shopping options, he says.

           “Every purchase we make is a blow for or against justice, so be informed where products come from,” he advises. A good website to refer to is greenamerica.org. Another area of financial responsibility for Christians is in retirement choices. “It’s important to do business with companies that are trying to take a stand against bad practices,” he says, and he lists ussif.org as a resource for people to use to find socially responsible investments or SRIs. “They’re not perfect, but they’re companies that are trying to be ethical and take a stand.”

          Care for God’s Creation. “From page one of the Bible we’re told to take care of the environment. It should be a no-brainer for Christians,” Munson says. “And how do you take care of something that’s not yours? You take special care of it because you have to give it back.”

          Educating ourselves about the cost of what we consume and, for example, purchasing grass-fed local beef, would have a huge effect on reducing greenhouse gases. “In Revelations 11:18, God says he will destroy those who destroy the earth. If our interpretation of the scripture causes us to disrespect people or the Earth, then we need a new interpretation because it’s not following the spirit of Christ,” he explains.

Stand up to Corporate Greed. Have you seen the bumper sticker that quotes part of 2 Chronicles 7:14? “If my people will humble themselves and pray …”

          The ellipses replace an essential part of the verse, Munson says. It’s “turn from their wicked ways,” so what are our wicked ways, he asks? They are the corporate sins that we participate in because we’re part of a system, Munson explains.

          “Greed is the most serious threat to our survival as a species, and it permeates society at every level,” he says. The Bible has a lot to say about greed, and Munson refers to James 5 where Jesus’ brother chastises the rich for cheating workers and fattening themselves at the expense of the poor.

          Greed is also the main reason that Sodom was destroyed; its citizens were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned about the needy, he says. “We need to reread scriptures with new eyes and discover what’s important to God and why. We have cultural, political and religious filters that we need to remove and discover God’s priorities.”

          We’re in This Together. Another area where political leaders have hijacked Christianity, Munson notes, is by painting America as “the city on the hill,” a metaphor from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

          The phrase comes from a sermon delivered by Gov. Jonathan Winthrop to Puritans sailing to the New World, except he said that in order to become a shining city on a hill, its people had to be governed by justice and mercy, by love and generosity in their relationships and commerce, Munson says. Instead, to Americans it’s come to mean that the U.S. has a God-given destiny to enforce its will around the world and that its policies are supported by God, he explains.

          Relying on Isaiah 58, Winthrop did not envision a society where each member could pull himself up by his own bootstraps, Munson says. “His vision could be achieved only if all worked together, sacrificed, shared with and cared for one another. But I have faith that when the word is preached that the Holy Spirit is present, and people can be transformed,” Munson says.

 

S.J. Munson’s book Christ Held Hostage is designed for group or individual study and is available in paperback and Kindle versions on amazon.com.

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“Let the Record Show”

A worthwhile read from an honest pastor here in NC. Wish there were more like him.

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What Would MLK Jr. Say?

In honor of MLK day, Huff Po has run a series of articles about how Dr. King would view Trump’s America. Regarding the GOP’s nomination of far-right candidate Barry Goldwater, King noted in 1964,

The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, amlkjrnd extremism…On the urgent issue of civil rights, Senator Goldwater represents a philosophy that is morally indefensible and socially suicidal. While not himself a racist, Mr. Goldwater articulates a philosophy which gives aid and comfort to the racist. His candidacy and philosophy would serve as an umbrella under which extremists of all stripes would stand. In the light of these facts and because of my love for America, I have no alternative but to urge every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and to withdraw support from any Republican candidate that does not publicly disassociate himself from Senator Goldwater and his philosophy.

To read more: This MLK Quote Sums Up The Rise Of White Supremacy Post-Trump

Also: 5 Lessons From Martin Luther King Jr. To Apply To Trump’s America 

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And Now a Message from the Father of Our Country

washington

No doubt about it. We live in a time of partisan division not seen since the Civil War. Just last week, in a spirit of revenge, the GOP-dominated North Carolina state legislature voted to strip the incoming Democratic governor of some of his powers. Throughout this past presidential election cycle, voters were the targets of a relentless, partisan-driven campaign of misinformation. Emails of both parties were also hacked by a foreign power bent on influencing the election. Yet all of these outrageous acts (political revenge, misinformation, and foreign meddling) were foreseen 220 years ago by the Father of our country, George Washington.

In 1796, upon declining a third term, our first President (with the help of Madison and Hamilton, who both at some point had a hand in the writing) issued a bit of parting advice to the fledgling nation. Partisan politics and the evils bred by political parties come under  especial condemnation because of their power to destroy a republic. His words now seem tragically prophetic. (Italics mine.)

Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

To read the entire “Farewell Address,” click here.

 

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The Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism

by Chris Hedges

(This article, originally published by theocracywatch.org in November 2004, seems all the more prescient today.)

Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School , told us that when we were his age, he was then close to 80, we would all be fighting the “Christian fascists.”

The warning, given to me 25 years ago, came at the moment Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government. Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global, Christian empire. It was hard, at the time, to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously, especially given the buffoonish quality of those who expounded it. But Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors had found a mask for fascism in the pages of the Bible.

He was not a man to use the word fascist lightly. He was in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and worked with the underground anti-Nazi church, known as The Confessing Church, led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Adams was eventually detained and interrogated by the Gestapo, who suggested he might want to consider returning to the United States . It was a suggestion he followed. He left on a night train with framed portraits of Adolph Hitler placed over the contents inside his suitcase to hide the rolls of home movie film he took of the so-called German Christian Church, which was pro-Nazi, and the few individuals who defied them, including the theologians Karl Barth and Albert Schweitzer. The ruse worked when the border police lifted the top of the suitcases, saw the portraits of the Fuhrer and closed them up again. I watched hours of the grainy black and white films as he narrated in his apartment in Cambridge .

He saw in the Christian Right, long before we did, disturbing similarities with the German Christian Church and the Nazi Party, similarities that he said would, in the event of prolonged social instability or a national crisis, see American fascists, under the guise of religion, rise to dismantle the open society. He despaired of liberals, who he said, as in Nazi Germany, mouthed silly platitudes about dialogue and inclusiveness that made them ineffectual and impotent. Liberals, he said, did not understand the power and allure of evil nor the cold reality of how the world worked. The current hand wringing by Democrats in the wake of the election, with many asking how they can reach out to a movement whose leaders brand them “demonic” and “satanic,” would not have surprised Adams . Like Bonhoeffer, he did not believe that those who would fight effectively in coming times of turmoil, a fight that for him was an integral part of the Biblical message, would come from the church or the liberal, secular elite.

His critique of the prominent research universities, along with the media, was no less withering. These institutions, self-absorbed, compromised by their close relationship with government and corporations, given enough of the pie to be complacent, were unwilling to deal with the fundamental moral questions and inequities of the age. They had no stomach for a battle that might cost them their prestige and comfort. He told me that if the Nazis took over America “60 percent of the Harvard faculty would begin their lectures with the Nazi salute.” This too was not an abstraction. He had watched academics at the University of Heidelberg , including the philosopher Martin Heidegger, raise their arms stiffly to students before class.

Two decades later, even in the face of the growing reach of the Christian Right, his prediction seems apocalyptic. And yet the powerbrokers in the Christian Right have moved from the fringes of society to the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Christian fundamentalists now hold a majority of seats in 36 percent of all Republican Party state committees, or 18 of 50 states, along with large minorities in 81 percent of the rest of the states. Forty-five Senators and 186 members of the House of Representatives earned between an 80 to100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian Right advocacy groups – The Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, and Family Resource Council. Tom Coburn, the new senator from Oklahoma , has included in his campaign to end abortion a call to impose the death penalty on doctors that carry out abortions once the ban goes into place. Another new senator, John Thune, believes in Creationism. Jim DeMint, the new senator elected from South Carolina , wants to ban single mothers from teaching in schools. The Election Day exit polls found that 22 percent of voters identified themselves as evangelical Christians and Bush won 77 percent of their vote. The polls found that a plurality of voters said that the most important issue in the campaign had been “moral values.”

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Quod non fecerunt barbari… Le secret inavouable de la Renaissance

« La renaissance ne fut pas impartiale ; elle ne se contenta pas d’édifier, elle voulut jeter bas, il est vrai qu’elle avait besoin de place… » –Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris, III.ii

berninVictor Hugo avait raison. La Renaissance, malgré sa passion pour la beauté, était souvent une entreprise égoïste et aveugle. Elle aimait autant démolir que construire. Il est vrai qu’elle avait besoin de place pour ses grands projets, mais à quel prix ? Paradoxalement, quoiqu’elle prétendît vénérer l’Antiquité, combien de monuments anciens et de nobles édifices furent détruits dans son sillage ? Avec de tels amis, pas besoin d’ennemis.

Dans Notre-Dame de Paris (1831), Hugo déplore la destruction du Paris médiéval, mais à Rome, la Cité éternelle, la dévastation architecturale fut rien de moins que sacrilège. Considérons le Panthéon, par exemple, ce monument du IIe siècle vénéré comme le plus beau et le plus harmonieux de l’Antiquité, son intérieur en dôme demeure toujours une merveille technique célébrant l’empire triomphant même de la gravitation. À l’origine temple païen, il est utilisé comme église depuis le VIIe siècle. Les proportions justes de sa coupole en stuc et de sa façade furent partout imitées, jamais surpassées. Évidemment, cela n’empêcha pas un pape du XVIIe siècle (Urbain VIII de la très puissante famille Barberini) de dépouiller la couverture du pronaos de ses tuiles anciennes en bronze, qu’il fit refondre en canons pour fortifier le château Saint-Ange, la forteresse papale.

Urbain était tellement expert pour pratiquer cette barbarie architecturale qu’il inspira à un graffitiste blagueur ces mots : Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini ! (« Ce que les barbares ne firent pas, le firent les Barberini ! ») Nous savons à qui attribuer ces crimes contre l’Antiquité, car Urbain avait l’habitude d’apposer son armoirie familiale (une abeille) sur toutes ses améliorations. (Il avait peut-être mauvais goût, mais il était très industrieux). Non content de cette spoliation, pour couronner le tout, ce pape fit ajouter par l’artiste Bernin, le génie de la période Baroque, deux clochers au pronaos du Panthéon que les citoyens de la commune aussitôt appelèrent  « orrechie d’asino » (oreilles d’âne). Heureusement, ces appendices gênants furent supprimés par un siècle suivant plus respectueux.

Cependant, les gaffes d’Urbain semblent légères comparées aux atrocités architecturales commises par ses prédécesseurs, tels que Jules II et Sixte V, qui, dans leur désir de glorifier la papauté (et eux-mêmes), démolirent un nombre incalculable de bâtiments antiques en réduisirent d’autres en carrières de pierre. Tout ce qui faisait obstacle fut aplati comme une hostie. L’antique basilique vaticane, l’église charmante du IVe siècle, qui avait existé pendant plus d’un millénaire, monument datant de Constantin, avec ses colonnes antiques en marbre, ses mosaïques étincelantes et ses fontaines jaillissantes fut démolie pour faire de la place à un édifice plus magnifique qui réfléchirait la gloire terrestre de l’Église de la Renaissance. Sans aucun doute ils atteignirent leur objectif et même au delà, car avec ses gigantesques mains tendues (grâce encore à Bernin), le nouvel complexe semblait être sur le point d’engloutir tout le Borgo (et tel fut presque le cas, puisque la piazza et les colonnades monumentales du Bernin exigèrent de démolir encore plus de bâtiments anciens). Et donc le colosse s’accroupit là, sur les tombes des saints et de l’Apôtre, comme si Goliath l’avait emporté et s’asseyait pour ronger goulûment les os de David.

Il est intéressant de remarquer que le premier pape qui eût l’idée de démolir la si vénérable et si ancienne basilique fut Nicolas V (1447-1455). Surnommé « le pape humaniste », peut-être le pape le plus fidèle à l’esprit de la Renaissance, il était un grand mécène des lettres et des arts classiques. Cependant, après le retour d’Avignon de la papauté, la basilique Saint-Pierre était dans un état de grande vétusté : les murs penchaient en formant des angles effrayants et les fresques étaient couvertes de poussière. Pourtant, il y aurait eu moyen de la restaurer, même au XVe siècle, si Nicolas l’avait voulu. Lorsqu’il proposa de l’araser, les fidèles poussèrent de hauts cris. C’était un sacrilège inconcevable, en considérant en particulier l’ancienneté de l’édifice (le préféré des pèlerins) et le nombre de saints ensevelis là. Même un siècle plus tard, quand la construction était encore en cours, les ouvriers arrachaient toujours des os des gravats.

En prévision de la nouvelle construction, Nicolas pilla des charretées innombrables de pierres d’un monument encore plus ancien, l’amphithéâtre Flavien, appelé aussi le Colisée. Il est ironique (ou peut-être est-ce un juste retour des choses) que ce grand projet ait finalement fourni du petit bois pour la Reforme : pour récolter des fonds pour la construction de sa nouvelle basilique, un des successeur de Nicolas, Léon X (1513-1521), autorisa la vente des indulgences à travers l’Allemagne.

La basilique Saint-Jean-de-Latran subit le même sort. C’est Sixte V (1585-1590) qui prit l’initiative de démolir le palais du Latran (la résidence des papes pendant 1200 ans) et la basilique (le premier édifice chrétien construit en Occident et « la mère » des toutes les églises de la chrétienté). Cette dernière, à l’origine commandée par l’empereur Constantin Ier à partir de 312, avait survécu aux nombreux séismes, incendies, pillages barbares, et autres restaurations toutes aussi dévastatrices, mais entre les mains tellement capables de Sixte, elle trouva enfin son maître. Une fois de plus, l’idée d’un grand projet de restauration ne lui traversa l’esprit. Conformément au plan de l’architecte baroque Borromini (cet homme dut naître dans une congère), l’intérieur est au mieux fade, les trésors de l’Antiquité basse ensevelis dans un mausolée monochrome. Les architectes de la Renaissance étaient tellement entichés du marbre blanchi des monuments antiques qu’ils oublièrent que l’ancien monde avait brillé de mille feux. Sixte daigna, au moins, préserver l’apside et le transept, qui, dans leurs vifs aspects médiévaux, tranchent sur l’ensemble comme si on renversait un pot de confiture sur une nappe blanche. Comme beaucoup d’autres mécènes de la Renaissance, Sixte avait vraiment peu de respect pour l’Antiquité. Même les colonnes massives des empereurs Trajan et Antoni, il les utilisa comme piédestaux pour les statues des saints.

Le philistinisme architectural de la Renaissance nous sert de leçon aujourd’hui, puisque nous avons trop souvent hâte de démolir le passé pour glorifier le présent. La destruction tragique de la Pennsylvania Station à New York, la magnifique gare de style Beaux-Arts dont le hall fut calqué sur les thermes anciens de Caracalla, est un exemple très représentatif. Sa démolition hâtive en 1963 fut universellement déplorée, et le labyrinthe en béton, l’hideux Madison Square Garden, qui la remplaça, est déjà actuellement destiné à la boule de démolition. Comme dit le célèbre architecte Vincent Scully, « On entrait dans la ville comme un dieu ; maintenant, on s’y glisse comme un rat. »

En énumérant les nombreuses déprédations sauvages sur la façade de Notre Dame de Paris, Hugo fait remarquer :

« Sur la face de cette vieille reine de nos cathédrales, à côté d’une ride on trouve toujours une cicatrice. Tempus edax, homo edacior. Ce que je traduirais volontiers ainsi : le temps est aveugle, l’homme est stupide. Si nous avions le loisir d’examiner une à une avec le lecteur les diverses traces de destruction imprimées à l’antique église, la part du temps serait la moindre, la pire celle des hommes, surtout des hommes de l’art. » (Notre-Dame de Paris, III.i)

 

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Stick a Fork in Me, I’m Done!

As more than half of this country is still reeling from the blow of last week’s election, I wonder just what the church has become. Trump could not have won without the help of white evangelicals, 80% of whom voted for him. All I can ask is, “Who are these people, really, and what do they want with us?”

One thing I keep hearing lately, from white people, is “Thank God it’s over!” What a selfish thing to say, but oh so revealing! Sure. It’s over for you. You’re white, and you probably voted for that guy, which means you really don’t give a tinker’s damn about the people of color in this country, or the immigrants, who are scared right now, really very scared. It’s not over for them, not by a long shot. In fact, the nightmare is just beginning. You have no idea what you have done.

No, you voted for a candidate who hates just about everything Jesus loves. You cast your vote for a guy who is openly racist, who was endorsed by the freaking KKK, for goodness sake (which, incidentally, held a victory celebration in Raleigh this past weekend)! What does that say about him? Moreover, what does that say about you and what you value? You voted for an unabashed racist, so what does that make you?

Yes, it sickened me that, living in a battleground state, I was forced to vote for someone like her just to keep someone like him out of the White House. But no matter how poor and corrupt a candidate Hillary Clinton was, and I agree she had major flaws, huuuuuge, please don’t set up that false equivalency, comparing her with that man. And please don’t use any religious language or the Lord’s name to cover up what you’ve done, stabbing your African-American and Latino and Muslim brothers and sisters in the back. A massive betrayal of everything Jesus has taught us, to love the poor, the oppressed, the stranger.

Abortion, Roe v. Wade? If you really cared about the unborn, you would see clearly that abortion rates have never declined under Republican administrations: they rose under Reagan and Bush 1, declined under Clinton, sort of flatlined under Bush 2, and resumed their decline under Obama. That’s not an endorsement of the Democratic party (I’m not a member of either), but it shows us that if we really want to curtail abortion, we need to strengthen programs that address the underlying issues, like poverty, education, and health care, not gut them. But in the end, it’s never really been about abortion, has it? All along, it’s been about white power: you’re losing it and you’re mad.

I’m sorry, there is just no excuse for this, ever. No, at the end of the day it was that old American racism that won the day. That and the promise of power. Although if you’d read your history, you’d know that outcome is never good. The church should never seek political power. It ought to content itself with having influence, a voice. Seeking power only makes us more hated (if that were now possible).

It’s been happening gradually, O white evangelicalism, this parting of the ways between you and me. Now here is the final rupture. Like many Americans, I spent 30 minutes last Wednesday morning vomiting the remains of my breakfast into the sink. Perhaps I was eliminating the last vestiges of you in my system. The mask has fallen and the world can now see your true face. You have chosen your path; I have chosen mine. May God forgive you and grant you repentance and peace. No, none of us is perfect, and yes, we’re all hypocrites in some way, but I cannot worship nor raise my biracial child in a church that is so apostate, one that worships power and cruelty, war and wealth, selfishness and…well… whiteness.

No, I’m not abandoning Jesus Christ or Christianity or the church as a whole, just one expression of it, one that I find painfully, inexpressibly horrid. So I am embarking on a journey to find something of real Christianity and real Christians, if they exist. Who knows what I may find.

But as for now, stick a fork in me, I’m done.

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