The election of Donald Trump embodies White supremacy theology that is hostile toward non-whites Black — in particular Black men. He began spurring flames of discord, as the driving force of the birther movement, and also called Mexicans rapists and targeted Muslims with a travel ban. These are underpinnings of the hate of the Ku Klux Klan and a deeply seeded Evangelical apocalyptic theology of a Holy Race War. It is a fact that White evangelicals voted at a rate of 81 percent for Trump.
As someone who attended Vacation Bible School, in the conservative bayou of Louisiana, one of the first songs I remember was “Yes, Jesus Love Me”. Winan United Methodist Church was the place where a White, blonde hair, and blued-eyed Christ was introduced to me as the Savior of the world. This Christ and his church was a place of safety from our personal sins, the social ills on the outside, yet assuredly as place of his love.
The fact that, in 1915, a UMC minister, William J. Simmons, played a major role in the new charter of the KKK, was either unknown or accepted by many. Simmons’ first public order was consecrating their Christian morality by setting a fire to the old rugged cross atop of Stone Mountain, Georgia. And yet there is an idea of racial hierarchy, embedded into religious teachings, that has been a part of our culture for over 400 years.
While confined within the chattels of slavery, religion was an outlet that gave hope in this faith of a suffering servant. The idea was that suffering with him might make it possible to reign with him in eternity. His blood shed, on the cross, was the horror of death and yet the beauty of a saving grace for all. However, it is the same symbol of the cross that is burned, as a form of intimidation, to remind Black people that even this White Savior can’t save them from the venom of White hate.
It seems that daily, throughout America, another Black life is suffocated to death at the hands of someone, in a blue uniform, who is protected by the government. Recently, the death of Botham Jean of Dallas has created a deeper level of anger and outrage. Now it is being communicated that not only are Blacks in danger while driving, standing on a street corner, and in their back yard. But, there is no safe place – even in the sanctuary of their own home.
While Muslim mothers and children have been caged like animals. And, in the last 48 hours, Jews are being reminded of the never-ending antisemitism through the loss of 11 lives during a baby naming ceremony.
The use of religion to stoke racial strife and violence is prevalent in our societies. This past August 2018, while meeting with Evangelical Christian leaders, Donald Trump told them that there would be “violence” if Republicans lost their majority in Congress, as a result of November’s mid-term elections. He told them to take to their pulpit to tell their followers that this is a referendum on him, their religion and freedom of speech. The same religion that teaches love thy neighbor, don’t steal, cheat or commit adultery, is seemingly using white-out to affirm this American president. The adulterer, one who pays for sex and speaks freely about being able to walk down 5th Avenue and shoot someone, is touted as the one to save and make America great again.
The duality of religion and vulnerability was something I Iearned a long time ago from my father who was a lover of dogs. As he would sit out back on a stump, he would give me world wisdoms. He often told me that “if you keep kicking a dog, he will bite back.” The preaching of “whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also”, seemed to apply only to those seen as less than human while these White Christians raged injustice and violence against our communities and leaders. Just over 50 years ago the KKK offered a $100,000 bounty for the assassination of the non-violent Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., resulting in the cowardly shooting of James Earl Ray.
The snuffing out of his life led to anger and biting back with people taking to the streets in over 125 riots in American cities and around the world. This isn’t 1968 when impassioned response for a revolution, from was Pittsburgh to Paris to Prague, happening with protest in the streets. It would appear that this indignation of these Whites is ushering Jesus’ sign of the end, “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” The word nation is translated from ‘ethnos’ which is the root of ethnicity.
It is clear that the White House is being led by an Imperial Wizard and king, the GOP is serving as his Klexter (outer-guard), and his latest US Supreme Court Associate Justice is his Klarogo (sergeant-at- arms). By invoking an evangelical theology and using the Bible to justify their cruel actions, while also trying to subjugate Black people under that same God, there appears to be no recourse but to go to war.
A war for the soul of the country is the true meaning of a righteous doctrine. This hatred under the guise of religious teachings can no longer be met with patience, peace talks or Twitter protests. And, if there’s resistance in it being met with preaching the gospel of Jesus’ love to a Christian sect who apparently welcome the KKK’s, “So I’ll cherish the bright fiery cross, till from duties at last I lay down, then burn over me a bright fiery cross, the day I’m laid in the ground.”
Nor can we have any hope that this President, who just affirmed to his Texas supporters that he’s a proud nationalist and believes that if the synagogue had an armed guard there would have been a different outcome. The only thing that he can do is continue to spark and ignite more flames of discord and hatred.
It calls to question: Do we have to accept that non-White Christians, along with White Christians, who don’t believe this rhetoric, won’t be able to enter paradise through the same pearly gates? Possibly there’s a backdoor for the rest, on a lower level, because of an unequal salvation? Or perchance there’s a difference in how Jesus loves me verses them?
It is obviously that this sect of Christians has completely forgotten the Jew, from Nazareth, who came to fulfill the law through the good news of love. It was his belief, and that of his father, Yahweh, that his death would save the entire world, regardless of difference – through his selfless act and message of love. It is that love that most dominates all of our hearts and theologies, so that we can have peace on earth.