Shaking the dust off their feet

Shaking the dust off their feet July 18, 2017

Here’s evangelical historian John Fea, writing in The Washington Post yesterday, “Trump threatens to change the course of American Christianity”:

The court evangelicals are changing the religious landscape in the United States. The Trump presidency is only six months old, but it is already beginning to alter long-standing spiritual alignments. It seems as though Christians are not changing Trump, but rather that Trump could be changing Christianity.

The 20 percent of white evangelicals who did not vote for Trump — many of whom are conservative politically and theologically — now seem to have a lot more in common with mainline Protestants. Some in my own circles have expressed a desire to leave their evangelical churches in search of a more authentic form of Christianity.

Other evangelicals are experiencing a crisis of faith as they look around in their white congregations on Sunday morning and realize that so many fellow Christians were willing to turn a blind eye to all that Trump represents.

Meanwhile, at the same time over at The New York Times, the Rev. Lawrence Ware writes about “Why I’m Leaving the Southern Baptist Convention“:

I’ve had enough. Today I am officially renouncing my ordination in the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant body, with about 15 million members, and the world’s largest Baptist denomination.

My reasoning is simple: As a black scholar of race and a minister who is committed to social justice, I can no longer be part of an organization that is complicit in the disturbing rise of the so-called alt-right, whose members support the abhorrent policies of Donald Trump and whose troubling racial history and current actions reveal a deep commitment to white supremacy. …

Not enough has been done to address the institutional nature of white supremacy in the convention. Many churches are still hostile to the Black Lives Matter movement, and even more were silent during the rise of Mr. Trump and the so-called alt-right. For all of its talk about the love of Jesus Christ, the Southern Baptist Convention’s inaction on the issues of racism and homophobia has drowned out its words.

I’ve discussed my concerns with many other black ministers my age, and virtually all of us have questioned our membership. At least five of them have quietly left the convention over the past year. …

I want to be a member of a body of believers that is structured around my Christian beliefs of equity, not one that sees those issues as peripheral. The equality of all people should be a fundamental principle that is a starting point of the convention’s existence, not a side issue to be debated.

I love the church, but I love black people more. Black lives matter to me. I am not confident that they matter to the Southern Baptist Convention.

Why should we seek the living among the dead? Let the dead bury their dead.

Come forth. It’s time.

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