Friday, January 20, 2017

"Christendom Adjusts Itself Far Too Easily to the Worship of Power": Theological Bases for Resistance in the Trump Era

And so right now a large portion of the American Evangelical Church sits pretty, believing itself victorious; momentarily giddy at its spoils, gloating in its apparent advantage, and oblivious to the cost. 
The cost, is that the Church itself, though winning this political battle has lost the greater war for its humanity and its dignity. It has been fully separated from its namesake. It is no longer synonymous with Jesus. It is no longer good news for the poor, the marginalized, the hurting, the downtrodden. It is an exclusive brothel where power lusting white Christians fornicate freely. 
The Evangelical Church is no longer a brilliant beacon of God's love in a dark place, it is simply another building upon which Donald Trump will slap his name, exploit for a bit, and eventually abandon, leaving behind lots of people hurting who are broken and bankrupt.

He wants America to become powerful again. I couldn't understand that thinking because at this tick of the watch, America is the most powerful, richest nation in the history of the world. What do you mean become powerful again? He means empowering the white elite. 
A good portion of his platform is erasing the achievements of the Obama presidency and wiping out the programs that Obama brought to our nation. His director of strategic planning is an avowed racist and de facto president of the white nationalist movement. Trump also nominated Jeff Sessions for his attorney general, someone who is an opponent of mass incarceration reforms despite America leading the world in prison construction and prison confinement. On top of that, the person he wants in charge of the Department of Justice has a reputation as being a racist and anti-integration. 
Trump was elected by a legacy. We decided 250 years ago we wanted to be a democracy, but from day one, we've had challenges with racism and genocide. The first five presidents owned slaves. Our country went through different stages of slavery, first by chains, then by law and finally by custom. Our bloodied history isn't dead, and we are not "post" anything. More people are realizing that with our new president-elect—someone who has questioned women’s rights, LGBT rights, minority rights and immigration rights.

During the Obama years, many Americans became angrier, more defensive, and more afraid. The rise of Donald Trump, built on the message that there are barbarians at the gate, is a testament to that. But for me these eight years have had the opposite effect. I was more afraid at the beginning. My joy at Obama's Inauguration could only exist because white racism had terrified me for decades, and I hoped that Obama would be my protector. 
He couldn't be. America's illness is bigger than him. Nonetheless, his Presidency had a surprising effect for me: it changed my sense of what racism is. Obama was impeccable as a President and a politician: deeply informed, thoroughly prepared, intelligent, and forthright. He treated his job with a seriousness befitting the office. I did not agree with many of his policy decisions. But I believed that he undertook them with integrity, and with a conviction that they would yield the greatest good for the greatest number of people. 
And still he was called names and branded by the opposition as a failure. His citizenship and religion were called into question. Republicans in the House and Senate preferred to nearly tank the country rather than appear to be in league with him. Newscasters vociferously questioned his fitness for the job. These reactions moved beyond the terrifying and into the cartoonish. White racism, which I used to take so seriously, came, more and more, to seem childish and pitiful to me.

*As I check the links in this posting, I'm finding that John Pavlovitz's blog is persistently returning an error message ("failure to establish internet connection") as I click on the link to it — though at some other times when I click, the site will open up. I'm sharing that information with  you to let you know about this issue if you click on this link.

No comments: