Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Speak Out, and They Will Silence You: John Pavlovitz on "the Heart Sickness American Evangelicals Have Inherited"

If you speak out, they will shut you down — or try to do so. As happened to me this past weekend when I insisted on talking about racism in my own neighborhood and community, and was told repeatedly by a young punk — a young straight white male — to shut up.

As happened last evening in the U.S. Senate, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — a white male — told Senator Warren to shut up as she read a statement of Coretta Scott King — a woman of color — about Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III — a straight white male. 

As happened recently when the √©minence grise behind the empty Trump throne, Steve Bannon — a straight white male — instructed the media to shut up about the man on the empty throne. Speak out, and they will silence you, or try to do so. And they will, many of them, be brandishing a bible or a catechism as they order you to silence.

This week while reflecting on the disheartening Evangelical Christian support for Donald Trump's Muslim ban, I tweeted out these words: 
Equality means believing that a child living 5,000 miles away is a precious as the one sleeping in your nursery right now. 
The Tweet was shared by renown[ed] metrosexual hipster Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, whose black boot-licking fan boys swiftly descended from their parent's basements, to hurl all sorts of online vulgarity at me from behind the safe anonymity of fake Twitter handles with photos of German stormtroopers and fatalistic Nietzsche quotes. 
They marched lock-step to call me vile and evil, and to let me know that my "Jewishness" was showing. (Never mind that I'm not Jewish, but that's another conversation for another day). They began to inundate me with all sorts of hypothetical situations where my son and some imaginary Muslim boy were both hanging from a ledge and I could only save one of them—illustrating in their minds the inherent flaws of my position. (These are the kinds of things people say to try and justify their contempt for entire people groups, and I'm used to it.) 
The responses weren’t a surprise coming from these Urban Outfitters wannabe Fourth Reichers, who view everything and everyone through the lens of their perceived (and unearned) superiority. This kind of entitled, bratty bigotry is their daily bread and butter. I expect hatred of people of color from them. 
The more revelatory and concerning feedback came from people like Amy, a Conservative White Christian mom who replied to the same Tweet: 
"If you have children, I feel sorry for them." 
Her words joined a similar outpouring from professed Bible-believing, God-fearing Jesus folk, punctuated by lots of venom, familiar FoxNews cut-and-paste criticisms of Islam, and lots of references to making America great. They too rushed to join the pseudo-Fascists in disputing the idea that a child in Syria was as important as their child, seemingly oblivious to the red flag that such agreement should raise. 
This is a symptom of the heart sickness American Evangelicals have inherited, one revealed in a growing Christian nationalism as well as a highly selective pro-life position, where apparently life isn't just more valuable inside the womb than outside of it—but inside America than outside of it as well. 
At the core of this inconsistency is a deeply embedded, subconscious belief that a child is worth more if their trip through the birth canal happens to deposit them within our borders. This is especially true if it looks like them, is likely to worship and believe and vote like them—if it will replicate them.  
Amy's response and the responses of many white Christians to my Tweet were telling. They imagine that my capacity for compassion is so minuscule that it can only accommodate my own children. They assume that love for one, must come at the expense of another. They reflect a fearful religion which instills in them that they are perpetually in danger. They reveal a faith rooted in superiority and self-preservation; one that breeds hostility to those it sees as outsiders. 
Far too much of American Evangelicalism has become this—and it's a problem.

I feel sorry for Amy's children. If she has any. 

A reminder: Bannon is a white Catholic, not a white evangelical. And he's in cahoots with Ray-Ray Burke in the Vatican, and former Legionary of Christ priest Thomas Williams, who is now married to the daughter of Mary Ann Glendon, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican who has, to my knowledge, never admitted that Legionary founder Marcial Maciel molested generations of his seminarians while fathering several children out of wedlock and supporting them and their mothers secretly with Legionary funds — which were also used to support his own drug habit.

White-supremacist Christians can have some . . . odd . . . ties while they preach to the rest of us about the moral decay of Christian civilization, can't they?

The image is from the website of Alberta (Canada) Human Services. I am assuming the image may be shared online, since I find it used at multiple sites online, without mention of its original source.

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