Friday, March 25, 2022

White Evangelical Racism by Anthea Butler

Source of book: Borrowed from the library

 

This short book is one of a few that are on my list of books to give people who are starting to question their association with white evangelicalism. (Others that come to mind are Jesus and John Wayne and The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.) It will not persuade the committed evangelical, for reasons that Anthea Butler makes clear in the book. Those who have stayed during the Trump Era have already tipped their hand - the racist politics are their core values, not anything connected with the example or teachings of Jesus Christ. 

 


For those who follow my blog, you will know that our family left organized religion five years ago, in the aftermath of the election of Trump. In retrospect, we were forced out of our longtime church for speaking out against Trump and his racist rhetoric and policies. As we later came to find out, open white supremacists (as in, the sort that follow and repost neo-Nazis like Steve King and Milo Yiannapolous) are and remain in leadership positions. And this is not at all unusual within white evangelicalism. You can be a Proud Boy and be comfortable in church, but not a Democrat. 

 

While there are a few things I learned from White Evangelical Racism, most of what is in there are things I already discovered from other sources. Butler is not breaking any truly new ground with this book, but rather distilling down to the basic facts and history the longstanding connections between white supremacy and the evangelical movement. This starts back with the Puritans, of course - they were big supporters of enslavement and genocide of indigenous peoples. But the evangelical movement as we know it got its real start and its name in the early 19th Century. 

 

Butler notes in passing that even the genesis of the name has some issues. “Evangelism” for the last few hundred years hasn’t so much meant spreading the teachings of Christ, but in spreading white theology and culture to the supposed “savages” with browner skin. It is as much a form of cultural imperialism as it is anything else. All of my grandparents were missionaries to countries that had already been “Christianized” hundreds of years before by the Spaniards. They were already colonized, conquered, and brutalized. And their populations were already overwhelmingly Christian. But not the right kind of Christian. They were Catholics, not Protestants, to start with. And their cultures were a fusion of Spanish and indigenous, and not northern European/American. So, my ancestors set off to convert Christians to a more WASPy culture and theology, essentially continuing the old imperialist wars between the Spanish and Anglo-American empires. Sigh. 

 

So even the origins of evangelicalism have a lot of the worship of whiteness built in. 

 

But, as Butler lays out, evangelicalism as a whole, isn’t really a religion, but a political movement, one dedicated to maintaining the status quo, the political power of white males over everyone else. I discovered this to my horror when I became the enemy for pushing back against the politics and racism. Never mind that I made an argument from Christian theology. That was unimportant compared to the political values. 

 

Rather than specifically reiterate ideas from the book, I think I will just put some quotes out there for consideration. I do recommend reading the book. If, like me, you want to go deeper, Butler gives a suggested reading list at the back. There are also plenty of resources available online that can be helpful in seeing how the politics have driven the religion, rather than the other way around. I have cited many of them over the years on this blog. 

 

The bottom line is that evangelicalism has numerous denominations - including the larges, the Southern Baptist Convention - which were founded during splits over the issue of enslavement. And the current evangelical mainstream consists of those who were on the pro-slavery side. The Ku Klux Klan consisted of white evangelicals. Most evangelical denominations and churches were segregated for 100 years after the Civil War, and loudly fought against the Civil Rights movement. The Religious Right was founded to preserve segregation at evangelical colleges, and has been wedded to the Republican party ever since. And, a higher percentage voted for Trump than for any candidate in American history - not in spite of, but because of his racism. There is no person who more perfectly embodies evangelical values than Donald Trump. And that is the problem. (And also why we are done with organized religion.) 

 

Without further ado, here are some highlights. 

 

It is racism that binds and blinds many white American evangelicals to the vilification of Muslims, Latinos, and African Americans. It is racism that impels many evangelicals to oppose immigration and turn a blind eye to children in cages at the border. It is racism that fuels evangelical Islamophobia. It was evangelical acceptance of biblically sanctioned racism that motivated believers to separate and sell families during slavery and to march with the Klan. Racist evangelicals shielded cross burners, protected church burners, and participated in lynchings. Racism is a feature, not a bug, of American evangelicalism.

 

I will add that it is racism that causes evangelicals to oppose universal healthcare, the minimum wage, and other social programs. It was this realization that racism is a feature, not a bug, that was the end for me. And it was the words of so many I thought were better that made me realize this. 

 

Furthermore, it isn’t exactly hatred or prejudice that drives this. It is greed and a lust for power and privilege. 

 

The ubiquitous support demonstrated by white evangelicals for the Republican Part made them not just religiously or culturally white: it made them politically white conservatives in America concerned with keeping the status quo of patriarchy, cultural hegemony, and nationalism.

Evangelicals are, however, concerned with their political alliance with the Republican Party and with maintaining the cultural and racial whiteness that they have transmitted to the public. This is the working definition of American Evangelicalism. 

 

Butler also lays out the history of evangelical belief in the inherent inferiority of black people, bolstered by the Calvinist idea of predestination adapted to the idea that God created people for specific roles - and some were designed by God to be slaves. 

 

From using the Bible to support slavery to opposing the civil rights movement, integration, and interracial marriage, evangelicals have long employed a presumed moral authority to hide their prejudices.

 

Using a presumed moral authority to hide their prejudices. Man, that is spot on. And it continues today in evangelical politics. 

 

Butler, a black woman who grew up in evangelicalism, admits to struggling for decades with what she calls the “presumption of whiteness.” That is, the assumption that white is the norm, that white culture is the norm, white theology, white politics. 

 

I have taught and written about American evangelicalism for the past twenty years, and questions about the movement have always haunted me: Does being evangelical really mean being white? Does it mean that anyone who embraces evangelical beliefs has to give up parts of their culture? Does it mean that evangelicals always have to vote Republican?

To be honest, I have always known the answers. Evangelicalism is synonymous with whiteness. It is not only a cultural whiteness, but also a political whiteness. The presupposition of the whiteness of evangelicalism has come to define evangelicalism, and it is the definition that the media, the general public, and politicians agree on. 

 

I very much feel what Butler is saying about those decent people who haven’t left yet. They have to twist themselves into knots to try to identify with non-white evangelicals, but it is increasingly untenable. She, like myself, realized that the whole thing is rotten. It cannot be saved. There is no baby - only dirty bathwater. 

 

Butler, by the way, is hardly the first to criticize white evangelicals this way. She quotes Frederick Douglass, 180 years ago:

 

“For all the slaveholders I have ever met, religious slaveholders are the worst. I have ever found them to be the meanest, the basest, the most cruel and cowardly, of all others.”

 

And this is true today. When I think of the cruelest people I know, the ones who call for the most draconian punishment of immigrants, the most mass incarceration, the most police brutality - every single one is an evangelical. 

 

Probably the most appalling chapter in this book is the one that takes an honest look at Billy Graham. He has been canonized within white evangelicalism, and like most saints, his many faults have been covered up. The problem is, on the issue of race, he was mostly really terrible. Martin Luther King Jr. likely had him in mind when he railed against the “white moderate” who was even worse than the open bigot. Butler cuts away the hagiography and looks at the disgusting truth. Graham did a lot to further the cause of racism in America, and fed the “fear of the other” which drives evangelicals today, and led to the election of Trump. 

 

His brand of Christian fervor, fear, and fatalism defined American evangelicalism from the 1940s to the 1970s. He exemplified a kind of religion that combined Christianity, patriotism, and politics into a potent mix of respectability that was predicated on fear of the other. The other, for Graham and his followers, often was communists, Catholics, and immigrants. Graham convincingly instilled in his vast audiences an urgent sense that only by means of their individual salvation through Christ could America be saved.

 

And, perhaps the worst was Graham’s insistence that white hegemony shouldn’t be challenged politically. 

 

But Graham also preached about race in America. “Only when Christ comes again will little white children of Alabama walk hand in hand with little Black children” he famously said in 1963, when asked to comment on Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

 

Let that sink in for a minute. MLK calls for a desegregated America. And Graham says “that ain’t happening, bro, before the end of the world.” Just disgusting. And you know what, Billy Boy? My white kids have walked hand in hand with black kids, and not because your imaginary white sky daddy came back, but because MLK and others ended Jim Crow. Despite your best efforts otherwise. It doesn’t get better. 

 

Women, immigrants, and people of color; especially African Americans, were expected to wait in docile obedience for their turn to achieve the freedoms available to available to white, male, Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Evangelicals’ quest to win the world for Christ - a quest promoted by a white male leadership exemplified by Graham - was to save souls and make believers of all races conform to white, Western Christian ideals. Their quest helped dramatically to solidify for postwar America the racism that was embedded in evangelical beliefs, behaviors, and social prohibitions from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

 

While I have been aware of the National Association of Evangelicals since my childhood, I was not aware of its history. Did you know, for example, that while it took the bold step of including Pentecostals - controversial at the time - NO black denominations were invited? None. Segregation wasn’t just for busses, as Butler points out. 

 

There is more in this chapter too. Graham started to openly oppose MLK after the “I have a dream” speech. Other prominent evangelicals were even more openly racist - some joining the John Birch Society. W. A. Criswell went so far as to say “true Ministers must passionately resist government mandated desegregation because it is a denial of ALL that we believe in.”

 

Holy fuck. This was during my parents’ lifetimes, by the way. It isn’t ancient history. It is literally what was in the water when they were raised. (And unfortunately, it shows.) 

 

On a related note, I highly recommend The Paranoid Style in American Politics for a much deeper dive into the unholy alliance between racist evangelicals and the John Birch Society. The official platform of that disgusting group is pretty much mainstream Republican doctrine now, and has nearly complete overlap with white evangelical political positions. I was shocked at how many of the anti-Christian beliefs that are now core evangelical beliefs can be traced back to the John Birch Society. It is good evidence in favor of Butler’s premise that white evangelicalism is a political movement, not a religion per se. 

 

After the civil rights acts were passed, for a time it became socially unacceptable to be openly white supremacist. In fact, during my childhood, it went mostly underground, only to reemerge as a backlash to the election of President Obama, and with the rise of Trump, saying racist shit in public has become resurgent. 

 

But, although I didn’t notice it until later, there was always a believe that Christianity and whiteness were largely synonymous. 

 

The general expectation of white evangelicals in both the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries was that nonwhite believers would take on the practices and viewpoints of white members and leadership, no matter the cultural contexts in which Black evangelicals had been born or raised. As a result, tensions surrounding race and ethnicity commonly lodged in harsh criticism of Black cultural practices of dress, singing, or worship expressions. In order for Black evangelicals to belong, they had to emulate whiteness.

 

Oh man, this is so true. I have mentioned many times on this blog the teaching that Bill Gothard promoted - although like everything else, he stole it from others - that music with “African” roots was demonic. This certainly hasn’t gone away either. While I was homeschooled, my high school diploma is from a school affiliated with fundamentalist college, PCC. Those video courses were good academically, and some teachers were subversive. But I do not remember seeing any non-white students. So, it was unsurprising to find this in the news feed recently. Gothard too believed that “godly” hair was….white hair. Specifically, of course, styles popular in the 1950s - peak Jim Crow. 

 

(Side note here: Gothard also HATED facial hair. I have it on insider information that he had sparse hair himself, and thus couldn’t grow a beard. And also that my decision to grow a beard while attending the law school affiliated with his cult pissed him off. That makes me so happy. Also, apparently, those of us who went to see Les Mis√©rables during a school trip to London caused a sensation. I mean, there are prostitutes in the musical. Let the pearl clutching ensue. Never mind that Les Mis is arguably the most Christian musical ever written. So that makes me happy too.)

 

Moving on, the book looks at the founding of the Religious Right. I have talked a lot about this as well, and recommend reading Politico’s 2014 article - cited in the book, by the way - about the real reason the Religious Right exists. Literally to preserve segregation. Butler adds to this the infamous quote by Paul Weyrich. 

 

“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” 

 

This idea is alive and well, and is currently being expressed by a wave of voter suppression acts in Republican dominated states. Unsurprisingly, they are doing exactly what was intended: keep non-white, non-Republican voters from voting. Note that the Weyrich quote is from my childhood - this isn’t ancient history - it is still happening today. 

 

Ah, speaking of my childhood….let’s talk about that notorious Sodomite, James Dobson. His teachings dominated my childhood, and eventually destroyed family relationships when my wife chose to have a career. Oh, and he came out as full-on white supremacist a few years back. But apparently, he always was, I just didn’t realize it. 

 

Butler examines the various para-church organizations that arose during this time. The American Family Association (which deserves its designation as a hate group), Focus on the Family, and a few others. Butler puts her finger on the underlying belief system:

 

All of these seemingly benign organizations had the specific purpose of lobbying government on evangelical concerns about the family, marriage, abortion, and education. They were also important in fostering an evangelical culture that promoted color-blindness and conservatism. The groups were not overtly racist, and all would at times feature African Americans in promotional materials, on radio shows, and as speakers at conferences. Yet the underlying message of these groups was that morality was essential to preserving the nation and that the sexual immorality of America, including race mixing, would be its downfall. Much like the nineteenth-century admonitions to protect white womanhood and discourage miscegenation, the message from evangelicals, specifically white evangelicals, was that they were poised to save the nation and civilization. If people would follow their lead - including adopting their agendas on abortion, education, voting, and nationalism - America would be much better off than it would be in the egalitarian, openly integrationist future being pursued through the civil rights and youth movements of the sixties and seventies.

 

And guess what? This too hasn’t gone away. I have been shocked at the re-emergence of people opposed to interracial marriage (particularly black-white marriages.) And an elected official recently had a classic Kinsey Gaffe where he said that Loving v. Virginia was wrongly decided, and that states should have the right to ban interracial marriage. This is the freaking twenty-first century. And we are still debating whether interracial marriage should be allowed or not? And literally the only people who seem to have this viewpoint are white evangelicals. 

 

Later in my childhood - the 1990s - evangelicalism, realizing it had a perception issue, tried to promote some degree of integration. Although it consciously avoided any talk that they might owe restitution for their behavior. I was a teen during a lot of this - we attended a very integrated church, and I learned a lot from being in a more multicultural subculture. This was also, unfortunately, where my parents got into Gothard, creating an untenable situation for me where I was literally playing “African” influenced music while my parents were increasingly opposed to it. Good lord, I still feel the trauma of that. And I still feel like my parents have no intention of listening to me on anything related to race or politics. They have their ideology, and that is all that matters - even more than a relationship with me. 

 

All that to say that Butler is correct that this small step in the vague direction of integration was also a careful doubling down on the political ideology. It was “safe” - that is, white-conforming people of color who were promoted. And, most importantly, racism was reduced to an individual sin, with no place for examining systems and certainly no need to change political affiliations. As Butler puts it, they were able to use stereotypes about how “spiritual” black people were to reinforce their existing political views. In essence, they promoted an “interracialism based in religion, not rights.” See how that works? It’s all fine because we have the same religion. So shut up already about equal rights. 

 

[E]fforts to combat racism over the years have been about comfort, not about substantive change.

 

Um, yep. That’s exactly it. And then we start getting into people who were also part of my childhood. I almost need to do a whole post on John MacArthur, who I think is one of the nastiest men I have experienced. Even as a kid, he seemed arrogant and condescending, but whatever. Now, having already advised parents to disown their LGBTQ kids, he is on his hobby horse of how any calls for racial social justice are anti-Christian. Again, people of color should just shut the fuck up already about injustice and just let the old white dudes tell them the true meaning of Christianity. Gag. 

 

But another person comes into this book, Jack Hayford, of The Church on the Way. While we never attended, it was really close to where we lived, and I have always known people who went there. Hayford never seemed as small-minded as MacArthur, so it was disappointing to read Butler’s personal experience there during a “racial reconciliation” campaign. 

 

For me, it was the moment I found out that despite my frenetic activity and full-stream participation in the church, I was invisible. For the service, I was sitting by Hayford’s mother, who knew me from several other events. She turned to me at greeting time, and said, “Welcome to Church on the Way.” At that moment, I knew that no matter how much I had worked or served or prayed with people, I was simply a Black person visiting the Church on the Way. Much like many evangelicals of color, I was just a Black person in this woman’s white space. I had been welcomed due to the situation, but I couldn’t possibly be a member of the church she belonged to. That moment encapsulated for me what evangelical attempts at interracial cooperation accomplished. Invisibility.

 

Man, that just absolutely breaks my heart. And in my soul, I know this is true. And even though I am no longer an evangelical, I deeply apologize for being a part of the system that did this. I want to do and be better than this.

 

Butler also nails it on another issue. For those who are not aware, the SBC did not apologize or repudiate its history - its founding on the issue of slavery - until….wait for it….1995. Yeah, I was an adult by then. Yeesh. Of course, not much has changed substantively. White Southern Baptists overwhelmingly voted for Trump, just like other white evangelicals. But a few other things happened. Like, for example, the near-failure of a resolution to condemn white supremacy. It was going to get tabled until the most prominent black pastor threatened to walk. Russell Moore was forced out of the denomination due to his opposition to Trump. And Al Mohler is rattling on about “critical race theory.” The SBC is still a deeply racist organization, which is why I would choose hell over attending an SBC church. (They are also patriarchal and bigoted against LGBTQ people, so that would be a dealbreaker already. But I have been shocked at the casual racism of many Baptists I know.) 

 

Back to the issue of the apology. Here is what Butler has to say about it. 

 

Let us take a closer look at the resolution and Land’s statement in light of the history of evangelicalism and racism. First, while it is commendable that the convention’s statement acknowledges the role of slavery in how the Southern Baptist Convention was founded in the nineteenth century, it does not consider the theologies that were constructed around slaveholding or the perpetuation of those beliefs in the denomination. It does a great job at apologizing, but it does not address restitution for the structural racism within the denomination.

 

I agree. If it doesn’t address restitution, it is a bullshit apology. Butler further explains what that would entail. 

 

But my point is that, even while white evangelicals may have begun to change their social attitudes and habits in order to accommodate African Americans in churches and schools, in the political realm white evangelicals supported candidates and positions that were unremittingly conservative and designed to keep African Americans and other ethnic groups out of positions of power. 

 

Unless and until white evangelicals stop supporting the candidates, parties, and policies of white supremacy, all the rest is just words. It is just bullshit. You cannot have reconciliation without restitution. You cannot have restitution without true repentance. And you cannot have true repentance until you embrace the truth. And the truth requires rejecting the theology that was created to preserve the hierarchies. Which is one thing white evangelicals continue to refuse to do. 

 

And now we come full circle to the Trump Era. This has been, as a friend put it, “the great unveiling.” The mask has come off. The fake pretenses have been stripped away. And what is left is the disgusting truth that white evangelicalism is just racism and patriarchy with a bad spray paint of religion over it. Nobody outside of the bubble sees white evangelicalism in a positive light anymore. 

 

As we have seen in this trip through American history, racism consistently figured in the very structures of American evangelical life. Over the course of the twentieth century, racism persisted as poisonously as ever, though evangelical leaders learned how to deploy it covertly when they wanted to. Evangelical visions of political power would become a reality in the twenty-first century but came at the expense of the shield of morality that cloaked their ambitions. This vision and the activism that accompanied it have come at great expense to evangelicals. 

 

Hey, I wrote about this recently! The stink of Trump isn’t coming off. And evangelicals aren’t fooling anyone anymore. 

 

The last couple of chapters are more contemporary. I think that Butler is right that evangelicalism really gained power with George W. Bush. I also learned something I had not known before. 

 

Did you know that the Bush campaign (through its proxies at Bob Jones University - yeah, the one that prohibited interracial dating until 2000) created a bald-faced and very racist lie against John McCain, one that likely tipped the election in his favor. They accused McCain of having a black child out of wedlock, which was red meat to the southern evangelical base. 

 

It was, of course, a fabricated falsehood. In reality, Bridget McCain is neither black nor the product of an affair. She was an orphan with special needs in Bangladesh who McCain’s wife adopted after a visit. While she is a private person, what she has said about John McCain shows him to have been a thoroughly decent man in his private life. And also shows just how despicably he was treated by his own party, culminating in the insults Trump lobbed after his death. But this attack on a young girl, stoking racist fears and hatreds, was done by white evangelicals. And the book quotes them as considering it fine to lie about someone if the goal was lofty enough. 

 

I also want to note another thoroughly disgusting practice by white evangelicals. Pat Robertson is probably the most well-known for it, but so many do it. Butler cites Jerry Falwell after 9/11, which may have been one of the least defensible ways it was done. 

 

I call Falwell’s method of using a great tragedy as a way to signal the loss of morality of the nation or of individuals “evangelical hostage taking.” By making these kinds of statements to ascribe blame to groups they deem “sinful” or lacking morality, evangelicals draw their followers closer to them while at the same time broadcasting their issues loud and clear….Evangelical hostage taking has racial overtones as well. It upholds white Christian morality as the gold standard for living, while blaming anything antithetical to evangelical beliefs about sex, morality, and capitalism for the existence of suffering, death, and pain. 


Nailed it. This is personal to me as well. I am sick and tired of the existence of my LGBTQ child being blamed for everything bad that happens. Evangelicals, you are so disgusting when you do this. Can you even hear yourselves talk when your mouths move? 

 

It wouldn’t be a complete book without a mention of Sarah Palin, the proto-Trump. And oh my god was she horrible. I was not aware of all of the truly bat-shit racist stuff she said. (And that was the first election that I broke with the Republican party.) Just a few samples:

 

“I’m afraid if he [Obama] wins, the Blacks will take over. He’s not a Christian! This is a Christian nation! What is our country gonna end up like?”

 

Shades of “our good Christian race” there, yes? (Also, Obama is a devout Christian – unlike, say, Trump…)

 

“When you got a Negra running for president, you need a first-stringer. He’s definitely a second-stringer.”

 

And then there were the endless dog whistles she used that Trump later used to full advantage: “real Americans” “small town” “good old days” “Make America Great Again.” 

 

I’m only going to mention the shit from the AFA using the word “dark” to whistle about race, or James Dobson’s panicked “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America” that hit every fear that he had stoked for decades, including Christians being put in concentration camps. (Note: didn’t happen.) 

 

I’m not going to even talk about the Trump Era - it is still too painful, and it was hard to read that chapter. 

 

The concluding section is a prophetic word. White evangelicals have revealed themselves to be inseparable from racism, and indistinguishable from the KKK in their political values. This is not really disputable if you are looking from the outside. The ones who disagree have left - or, like us, been forced out. Butler is willing to state that obvious truth. 

 

After taking this journey through the history of American evangelicalism, I know why evangelicals overwhelmingly support conservative Republicans and right-wing political positions and why they supported - unwaveringly - Donald Trump and his administration. That is, I know the answer to the question obsessively pondered by the popular press, pundits, and even experts in the study of American religion: Why do people who identify as evangelicals vote over and over again for political figures who in speech and deed do not evince the Christian qualities that evangelicalism espouses?

My answer is that evangelicalism is not a simply religious group at all. Rather, it is a nationalistic political movement whose purpose is to support the hegemony of white Christian men over and against the flourishing of others. 

 

I wish I could quote the whole chapter. But you should read it. I have to quote this bit, though. 

 

[E]vangelicals embraced racism because it reinforces a theological imperative buried in a practice of missionary endeavors. It is easy to consider other races and ethnic groups to be “less than” if they are either non-Christian or don’t practice Christianity according to Eurocentric cultural norms. Getting saved didn’t mean just leaving the world behind - it meant leaving whatever racial or ethnic or religious world you came from behind. It meant receiving the white version of Christ. Once saved, many new evangelicals of color tacitly accept cultural whiteness in order to be accepted by evangelicals. This cultural whiteness also lends itself to white American political concerns. 

 

I’ll end with this parting shot, which is badass. 

 

Access to power made evangelicalism brittle, and unforgiving. Ideology trumped the gospel. Loving your neighbor turned into loving only those who believe as you do. As a result, evangelicals live in silos to keep themselves pure. Theological, social, and cultural boundaries keep them from moving forward, leaving racially and ethnically different members with the cruel choice of having to deny their communities in order to be accepted or being kept on the fringes for “entertainment.”

As a result, evangelicals are regarded with disdain by the broader public. Evangelicals wear this as a badge of honor and as a sign of persecution of Christians. Evangelicals are not being persecuted in America. They are being called to account. Evangelicals are being judged for not keeping to the very morality they asked others to adhere to. They have been found wanting. Evangelicals comfort themselves in the arms of power, in symbols that Jesus disdained. They are the Pharisees. 

 

As I recently wrote, white evangelicals have left nothing but a smoldering wreckage in their wake. They have destroyed their reputation, they embrace hatred and abuse of power. If given their way, they will persecute “uppity” women and LGBTQ people and immigrants. And for what? So that your children and grandchildren inherit all this destruction? Butler notes that even a white evangelical “victory” will be a failure, because the greatest issue will remain unresolved, that of racism. You will never create that 1950s (or is it 1850s?) that never really existed. All the hierarchies in the world have never made it a better place. 

 

Looking at the wreckage of our nation, our society, our churches, and of my own extended family, I can reach no other conclusion than that the fruit is rotten. It causes nothing but death and destruction. It has been abundantly clear that white evangelicals love their racism more than they love their relationships. I know this first hand. Many I know - my own parents included, sadly - have been willing to lose the relationship rather than hear a call to repentance. That’s how and why we were forced out of our church. It really was just about racism the whole time. I know that now. It makes me sad to know that. But the truth that you know - and embrace - is what sets you free. 

 

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