Smart people saying smart things (8.11)

Smart people saying smart things (8.11) August 11, 2015

Yolanda Pierce, “When Our Truths Are Ignored: Proslavery Theology’s Legacy “

We often fail to deconstruct how proslavery theology still influences American Christianity. But simply put: Theological arguments upheld the institution of slavery long after every other argument failed. American Christian theology was born in a cauldron of proslavery ideology, and one of the spectacular failures of the Christian church today is its inability to name, interrogate, confront, repent, and dismantle the cauldron which has shaped much of its theology. We are daily living with the remnants of a theological white supremacy, coupled with social and political power, which continues to uphold racist ideologies.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, “Speech Before Congress on Voting Rights”

The most basic right of all was the right to choose your own leaders. The history of this country, in large measure, is the history of the expansion of that right to all of our people.

Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about this there can and should be no argument. Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right.

Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes.

John Oliver, “Sex Education”

Robert Chao Romero, “Montesinos and the Birth of Brown Theology, 1511”

As you can imagine, Montesinos’ sermon did not go over well. Nonetheless, he left the pulpit head held high and retreated to his straw thatched hut.

Sculpture of Antonio de Montesinos by Antonio Castellanos. (Creative commons photo by Wilmer.)

In the words of Latin American historian Lewis Hanke, “Montesinos thereupon strode out of the church…leaving a muttering crowd of colonists and officials behind him, who were astounded, but not one was converted. He came as near to convincing his hearers of their wrongdoing as would a theological student in our day who delivered a soapbox philippic in Wall Street on the biblical text, ‘Sell that which thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.’” The Spanish colonists were pissed! They met together in the house of Diego Columbus (the Governor, and son, of, yes, Christopher Columbus) and condemned the sermon as a treasonous act against King Ferdinand of Spain. They also sent a delegation to the Dominican monastery to demand an apology and recantation of the contents of the sermon.

Undeterred, Montesinos returned the next Sunday to a crowded audience of leading Spanish officials and colonists and preached another sermon, even more infuriating than the last. He declared, “Suffer me a little, and I will show thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.” Then, putting them on blast, he compared them to highway robbers and told them that they would be denied confession and absolution from that point on until they repented and changed their ways.

Tina Dupuy, “Pro-Life Is Anti-Gun”

But let’s say I’ve misjudged the pro-life movement. Let’s say they’re not currently using an activist’s hoax in hopes of sparking a moral panic alleging Planned Parenthood sells body parts. Let’s pretend abortion clinics haven’t been under constant “pro-life” terrorist attack/threat; bombings and harassment and that Dr. George Tiller wasn’t shot in the head while attending church. Let’s just take them at their word — that they really believe every life is sacred and they really care about children.

Then I welcome pro-lifers to join the anti-gun movement. There’s not as much raucous slut-shaming — but there are a lot of actual children dying. Pro-lifers can be more than just pro-birth. If it really is a moral conviction that life is sacred, then get out of women’s birth canals and grow up.


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