Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"I'm Done Believing That Religion Will Help Black People Get Justice in America": God, Guns, and Race in America, July 2016

John Pavlovitz at Stuff That Needs to Be Said blog: 

[T]he defiant refusal of so many white Christians I know to even utter the phrase "Black Lives Matter" or to recognize the disparity of experience across color lines or to name the violence against black men by police, even armed with crystal clear video evidence, tells me that they still unknowingly worship and serve a very White Jesus and still probably see God as ultimately in their image. 
And this is rendering too much of the white American Church a quiet, complicit spectator right now, when it should be fully engaged on the front lines of the messy work of peace and justice. It should be confronting its own. It should be facing itself.

David Waters, Religion News Service: 

This isn't about law and order. This is about a disorder in God's creation. 
And besides, this isn' t a black problem. It's a white problem.
What sort of sermons would you be hearing this Sunday if Philando Castile and Alton Sterling had been white Christians killed by Muslim police officers? 

Paul Raushenbush on Facebook: 

It's time to get out of the pew and into the streets --- and if you do, please invite me as I want to be where the Spirit of God is really moving. We must not let these people die in vain, something has to change.

Robert P. Jones, New York Times

Mr. Trump's ascendancy has turned the 2016 election into a referendum on the death of white Christian America, with the candidate appealing strongly to those who are most grieving this loss. Mr. Trump instinctively understood this from the beginning of his campaign. Take his speech at an evangelical college before the Iowa caucuses in January: "I’ll tell you one thing: I get elected president, we're going to be saying 'Merry Christmas' again." He added that Christianity will be resurgent "because if I'm there, you're going to have plenty of power — you don't need anybody else."
How white evangelicals respond will be important for the future of the American democratic experiment. If their powerful feelings of nostalgia and vulnerability lead them to embrace Mr. Trump as a straightforward means back to power, we can expect, if he wins, more lawsuits and civic unrest, accompanied by more politicized churches and increasing political polarization along cultural and racial lines.

Joan Walsh, The Nation

In 2008, 54 percent of the country was white and Christian (that doesn't include Catholics, as I'll explain later). By 2015, that number had dropped to 45 percent, making them a minority of Americans after more than two centuries of dominance. In his provocative new book, The End of White Christian America, Jones writes a respectful obituary that doesn’t spare tough criticism of the flaws of the majority whose time has gone. He shows how much the project of white Christian Americans has involved exclusion, yet tries to point a way for its most stubborn, backward-looking adherents to see themselves as part of a multiracial, multi-religious democracy nonetheless. . . . 
Now evangelicals have to explain their own decline, especially among young people. While 27 percent of Americans over 65 are white evangelical Protestants, only 10 percent of millennials are—the exact same percentage as white mainline Protestant millennials. In PRRI surveys, those young white evangelicals overwhelmingly say they're fleeing their childhood religion because of its intolerance, especially on issues of sexual identity and gay marriage.

Wendell Griffen, Sermon, 10 July 2016, New Millennium Baptist Church, Little Rock, Arkansas: 

It is time for people with Amos-like vision to declare lessons to this nation from God's plumb line. This nation's wall is tall, but it is not straight! It is well moneyed, but not straight! It is glorified by religious and media sycophants, but it is not straight! It is not the same measurement at the top and bottom. It is not straight on purpose. The wall of justice in this society is deliberately out of plumb!

Anthea Butler, Religion Dispatches

Three years ago this month, I wrote about America's racist god. As a result of the threats I received, I had to move from a place I loved. I got used to being called a nigger, and to having my university and department faculty barraged by white racists calling for me to be fired. 
Three years later, and after countless black deaths by police, I find myself being asked by the editors here at RD to write about the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and about the five policemen shot and killed in Dallas. 
I know. You want me to say something profound, the hard thing. You want me to say something passionate, something to rally you, something to make you feel like there is hope, and that we're going to change. 
But that's not what this piece is about. 
You see, I'm done believing. I'm done believing that writing words about this shit is going to make it better. I'm done believing that religion will help Black people get justice in America. It isn't. Black men and women are still dead, Police are still jacking us up and shooting black people for minor infractions, and white Americans are still yelling, "We want to take our country back."

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