Smart people saying smart things (1.21.23)

Smart people saying smart things (1.21.23) January 21, 2023

Tressie McMillan Cottom, “Breaking Up With White Supremacy Was Always The End Game”

These explicit white racial identities are kind of what we wanted to have happen. Only an explicit identity can be named and negotiated, ideally to better social outcomes.

The confusion seems to be a latent belief that white racial identities are only progressive, that is that they get better as they are surfaced. Which, uh-oh. Nope.

We are watching clashes of white racial identities, between explicit and implicit frames, worked out through implied loyalties of kinship and resource-sharing.

White double-conciousness was always going to be brutal. Break-ups are always hard. Breaking up with empires is always bloody. If we forgot to tell you.

Amanda Tyler, Testimony Before the House Oversight Committee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, December 13, 2022

Christian nationalism is a political ideology and cultural framework that seeks to fuse American and Christian identities. It suggests that “real” Americans are Christians and that “true” Christians hold a particular set of political beliefs. Christian nationalism seeks to create a society where this narrow subset of Americans are privileged in law. In reality, the Gospel is not limited by national borders. A cursory examination of American history reveals that people of many different religious backgrounds have shaped the character of our country.

The “Christian” in Christian nationalism is more about ethno-national identity than religion. Christian nationalism is a gross distortion of the Christian faith I hold dear. Christian nationalism uses the language, symbols, and imagery of Christianity – in fact, it may look and sound like Christianity to the casual observer. However, closer examination reveals that it is using the veneer of Christianity to point not to Jesus the Christ but to a political figure, party, or ideology. Christian nationalism seeks to manipulate religious devotion into giving unquestioning moral support for its political goals.

David Dark, “When will their churches condemn the Christian nationalism of MAGA politicians?”

I think church organizations that house repeatedly abusive public figures, especially those who’ve been accorded public trust, are responsible for answering the question of where their witness stops and the abuser’s begins. Otherwise, their organization merely serves as free political capital for bad faith actors. And if Christian nationalism is a violation of the core values of the churches themselves, they owe it to their congregants, including their famous ones, to say so loud and clear.

Audrey Clare Farley, “The Anti-Abortion Movement Is More Conspiracy-Addled Than Ever”

Because Rose and her ilk—mostly white women—seem so very unserious about eradicating the grooming and sexual abuse of children and young women, it may be tempting to consign them to the “QAnon” corner of the right-wing fever swamp. But that would be a mistake, as these figures are actually legitimating the antisemitic conspiracies that animate the deranged devotees of Q. In their crusade against abortion, they are synonymizing Judaism and “baby murder.” As hate crimes against Jews climb, and as Jewish groups continue to challenge abortion restrictions on religious grounds, it’s crucial to understand this hideous project.

Mallory Challis, “The story of Tamar and the epidemic of sexual violence in evangelical churches”

Because of the evangelical church’s theological emphasis on forgiveness and repentance, many survivors are silenced and, instead of proper legal action, advised by church leaders to forgive their abusers. Survivors also often are blamed for speaking out, as churches make excuses for sexual abuse committed by members and pastors, or discipline survivors for being in situations that led to their own abuse.

Although many pastors and church leaders are aware that abuse occurs within their church, there is often little done about it. In fact, abusers often are welcomed back into the church community if they repent from their sins. This high-stakes forgiveness pattern may be connected to beliefs in things like premillenial dispensationalism and other eschatological beliefs in which Christians feel pressured to evangelize as many people as possible before the world ends.

And although this forgiveness may seem noble on the surface, it typically just enables offenders to continue abusing, as they maintain access to vulnerable women and children who are members of their faith community.

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