Thursday, November 8, 2018

More on White Evangelicals & Election: "Majority of This Country's Washed-in-the-Blood/Now-Whiter-Than-Snow Christians Supported the Peculiar Institution and Jim Crow and Segregation Forever"

As a companion piece to what I posted yesterday about the role that white evangelicals played (yet again) in Tuesday's election, please see the following:

As to the apparently deathless meme of the still-redeemable evangelical white Christians: I don't want to hear any more apologias for how evangelicalism is really, truly changing and how younger white evangelicals will yet rise up to save the Republic. Exit polls thus far show more of the same, with white evangelicals overwhelmingly supporting House Republicans over Democrats, 75 percent to 22 percent. 
I spend a lot of time absorbed in 19th century U.S. history, and (yes) I do experience a slight sectarian thrill whenever I read of instances of Bible-thumping white Christians standing up boldly against race and class oppression. Those thrills are few and far between. The majority of this country's washed-in-the-blood/now-whiter-than-snow Christians supported the Peculiar Institution and Jim Crow and Segregation Forever. Even now the born-agains can’t disentangle "Christian" from "white" in the depths of their psyches. Some of their young may be abandoning the ship, but they have neither the will nor the resources to sink it.


Stay tuned. It's said that God's patience with sinners knows no bounds. It's impossible not to draw hope from the outspoken evangelicals of color who can't and won't abide the colonized and whitewashed Christianity they inherited. And we must never fail to give thanks for the many Christian scholars and theologians, including many whites, who know what's up and who invite us to take and eat. 
But our national salvation will not arise from this quarter. It will come, if it comes at all, from outraged and fired-up younger people, proudly colorful and often queer and often with their own hard-won spiritual grounding, who have very little use for the ancient creeds, let alone for the faith leaders who have ghosted the place of real engagement.

Something important to watch for next month: as a press release this week notes, on 2 December, a CBS Interfaith Special entitled "Deconstructing My Religion" will be broadcast. It will feature interviews with Linda Kay Klein, author of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free; with Chris Stroop and Blake Chastain of the #EmptythePews and #exvangelical movement; and with Julie Ingersoll, author of Building God's Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstruction.

In other words, the CBS program promises to let us hear the voices of some of those Christian scholars and theologians who are tracking the whitewashing of American Christianity, about whom Peter Laarman writes, as as the voices of some of those fired-up and outraged younger people who have very little use for the ancient creeds — and who played a significant role in this week's election, as the youth vote surged by 188 percent as compared to 2014. I am marking my calendar for this program, and am hoping that a subsequent CBS Interfaith Special might focus on those outspoken evangelicals of color who refuse to put up with the whitewashing of Christianity, who are also part of Laarman's analysis above.

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