Exclusion and supremacy ARE the White Christian way (though they don’t have to be)
A grating and woefully-naive line of thinking which had been making the rounds for the better part of the last year has more recently reached a fever pitch with the very palpable reality of Muslim bans and the pathologizing of immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, to justify oppressive restrictions and bans on their entrance and possibly mass arrests and deportations:
Well-meaning White Christians people: You can’t call yourself a true Christian and support Donald Trump/Want to build a wall/Hate Immigrants and Refugees!! It’s not The Christian way!
Meanwhile, everyone else whose peoples, values, governments, bodies, lands and cultures has ever been attacked, devastated, dismantled, dehumanized, violated, raped, kidnapped, enslaved, undergone realized or attempted genocide, forced assimilation, banned and criminalized, all under the idea that it’s “The Christian Way” are just sitting there like “Huh. Sounds fake but OK.”
White Christians, face it: Ya’ll are like the Regina George of the world. Nearly everyone has been personally victimized by you and you’ve invested quite a lot of energy and time into a pretty twisted PR campaign that instead paints you as the benevolent and misunderstood victim who only is trying to do what’s best for everyone, which to you means observe and maintain a vicious social and institutional hierarchy that solely benefits you (it’s not your fault other people just aren’t beautiful, white Christian winners like you, after all).
My dear Jewish friend and writer Chloe put it like this:
The “This isn’t the Christian Way!” rhetoric is a lot like the “We are all immigrants” or “America Is Already Great” jargon. We know what you’re trying to say, but what you’re saying is yet so fundamentally whitewashing and wrong and grossly dismissive of those people who that slogan erases and excludes, which, in all three instances, there happens to be a lot of overlap. People Indigenous to Turtle Island and/or Black people kidnapped to work the stolen settler land are not and have never been immigrants to any colonized nation they currently inhabit. We can speak at length about how, over centuries of institutional cultural and violence, this country has never been “great” to us. And, we can speak to the atrocities committed against us because by law, being non-white and non-Christian, for centuries we were left unprotected by mandates that would otherwise recognize the basic, unalienable protections and rights that any other (white, Christian) human being under European crowns and law had.
Genocide, rape and pillaging, land theft (“manifest destiny”), colonialism, erasure and destruction of non-Christian culture (which, after the conquest of Pre-Roman Europe, was exclusively and very specifically non-White), cultural and religious hegemony, Islamophobia, Antisemitism, faith-based Missions and missions trips-these are the inextricably Christian practices of white supremacy and white supremacist behaviors of Christianity-one does not exist without the other. Today’s increasingly vile and hegemonic political and social climate justified via Conservative white ideas of Christian values all completely falls in line with the history and practice of Western White Christianity in literally every single place it has taken hold over the soon of the past hundreds of hundreds of years. It is intrinsic to the legacy and theology of European Christianity, violence and whiteness inextricable. “This isn’t how Christians behave”? Yes, it absolutely is. Wholly and totally. You have shown us this fact repeatedly for centuries.
In truth, a deviation from white Christianity would be acceptance, kindness, cultural competency and sensitivity, and an acknowledgement of the past and a full, comprehensive and intentional atonement for those sins. An a-typical Christianity we have never seen on a mass scale would be humane, inclusive, and not interfere with other peoples and their cultures, religions and lands on the shaky, colonialist grounds of “wanting to bring the light of the gospel to their lives”.
Yes, one could very easily argue that these atrocities, while truly horrible and done under banner of Christianity, are yet incongruent with Biblical teachings and figures. In the very least, it isn’t Christ-like, a man who was targeted for the way he challenged institutions and authorities both outside of his community and within them and was ultimately murdered as a double enemy to those institution and the state.
But it doesn't matter because this as-of-yet lofty hypothetical, a truly kind, culturally-accepting, justice-minded and marginalized-focused White Christianity hasn’t ever been observed or practiced on a large scale, only just given lip service by a few progressives sometimes. It could, theoretically, be, but we just haven’t seen it. And it certainly never happened in the past.
So instead of saying “This is not the Christian way,” Christians need to say “This legacy has been our way, but it ends now.” Make the claim that it “Isn’t The Christian Way” true for the first time in like, forever.
Ignoring White Christian history does not make it go away, it does not make it cease to exist, it just ceases to be your burden and responsibility. It instead remains the burden and responsibility of those who were affected. Ignoring it causes it to continue and adds more pain, suffering and violence for those who have been traumatized and suffered at white Christianity’s hands and are hearing white Christians extol the inherent goodly nature of their religion and adherents, something they seldom if ever in their lives witnessed or experienced.
Instead of hollow pleasantries, take responsibility for the role White Christianity has taken in the current rise in populism and fascism, do not merely pretend you can wash your hands of communities you have been an active member of for your whole life and whose atrocities feed and nourish your religion.