A RACE TO THE POLLS

Carpenter (2012). CC BY-SA-NC
Retrieved from Microsoft Word Online Image Library.

I would like to say the above image from 2012 is a hoax and a photo-shopped image. I would like to say it as an image someone crafted to prove a point. But it is not. It was a true event restricted to white’s only. If you want to verify this fact, do a Google search of “Alabama all white pastors conference” and you will find numerous credible sources to see that the conference was real. The mere fact this poster exists, and the conference was held, is indicative of the rise of Christian Nationalism in the United States today. 

Christian Nationalism views the United States as God’s chosen place and the Christian’s in the United States as God’s chosen people. Before you think we can identify these alleged extremists by their white sheets, shaved heads, or swastika tattoos, think again. Today’s nationalists look more like me – a white man in his 50’s, or you – if you’re white and vote. Christian Nationalists played a major role in getting Donald Trump elected as the 45th president of the United States of America in 2016 (Whitehead, 2018). It is that fact alone that scares me the most as we draw near to the 2020 presidential elections.

Christian Nationalism is closely tied to Islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-black prejudice

(Whitehead, 2018).

For a better understanding of the power of Christian nationalism, I refer you to the video below from the American Sociological Associations Facebook page (2020).

American Sociological Associations Facebook page (2020).

While I truly did not want to get into the politics of racism, at some point, it becomes inevitable. Racism is a social construct and inherently political. Like it or not, money, power, prestige, and property perpetuate overt and covert Christian Nationalism, and thus racism.

I do not mean to imply that all voters (Christian and non-Christian alike) who supported Donald Trump in 2016 are racist. However, because of Christian Nationalists’ ties to Islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-black prejudice (Whitehead, 2018), and because of the role Christian Nationalists played in successfully electing Donald Trump in 2016, a vote for Trump is inherently and subversively racist.  If there is any concrete action you and I can take to fight racism, it is in the polling place in this year’s 2020 election.

References

American Sociological Association. (2020, April 8). An embrace of Christian nationalism [Video]. American Sociological Association. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2885967914851299

Carpenter, L. (2012, July 5). The face of fundamental Christianity [Photograph of conference poster for all white Christians]. Copyright CC BY-SA-NC. Retrieved May 7, 2020 from Microsoft Images Online and http://rationalnationusa.blogspot.com/2012/07/face-of-fundamental-christianity-in.html

Whitehead, A. L., Perry, S. L., Baker, J. O. (2018). Make America Christian Again. Christian nationalism and voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election. Sociology of Religion: A quarterly Review 70(2), 147-171. https:/doi.org/10.193/socrel/srx070

Dead Wrong

Ahmaud Arbery
Ahmaud Arbery [Photograph in the public domain] (Andone et al., 2020).

I am sickened, distressed, saddened, and dismayed by how our society continues to defend Stand Your Ground culture as a defense for murder. Two semesters ago, I read a book that opened my eyes to how good-intentioned white people still unknowingly perpetuate racism while vehemently declaring they/we/I are not/am not racist(s). I talk about that briefly in Why this Blog and Why this Topic.

The book deconstructed my own social constructs about racism and left me wanting to be part of the change. I began blogging about that read in Fall 2020. Part of that blogging effort was also to provide examples of assignments for my students to use in completing their research efforts on any topic of their choice. A process I now do every semester on the same topic.

In Spring 2020 , I enrolled in a year long facilitator training through my church denomination’s program, Sacred Conversations to End Racism (United Church of Christ, 2020). As I blogged about that during Spring 2020, part of the information I learned is that race is not a biological construct, but a social one, that all humanity has its roots in Africa, that a 23 and Me DNA test shows my own African heritage of 1.3% Angolan and Congolese, and the role of the Christian church in perpetuating racism, slavery, murder of indigenous Native American’s, and Eurocentric perspective within which it is embedded supports tacit racism whether we/they know it or not.

Because I remain committed to the topic, I will continue my blogging efforts for my Summer classes as I teach (a Maymester 3-week class and a Summer Session 1 8-week class). In my last entry for my Spring 2020 semester, I revised my research question to, “How may I work towards restorative racial justice within the Christian Church?”.

And that question stands. It stands because it is relevant. It stands because restorative justice does not just include education, it includes action. It stands because of Ahmaud Arbery. It stands because of Trayvon Martin, Onesimo Marcelino Lopez-Ramosand, Ziad Abu Naim, and Jordan Davis (Grimes, 2019). And it stands because of all the black and brown people murdered under the auspices the capital “C” Church’s Doctrine of Discovery in the 15th century that has evolved into today’s Stand Your Ground culture that allows this murder to continue.

References

Andone, D., Barajas, A., & Morris, J. (2020, May 9). Ahmaud Arbery [Photograph in the public domain]. Retrieved March 13, 2020 from https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/08/us/ahmaud-arbery-mcmichael-arrests-friday/index.html

Grimes, J. N. (2019). Hate, conflict, and public space: Stand your ground laws and potential immunity for hate crimes. Journal of Hate Studies, 15(1), 83-104. http://doi.org/10.33972/jhs.163

United Church of Christ. (2020). Sacred conversations to end racism (SC2ER). Retrieved March 13, 2020 from https://www.ucc.org/sacred_conversations_to_end_racism