It’s easy… If your pastor, priest, or leadership is silent about the events taking place in Charlottesville, VA, you attend a white supremacist church. Simple. If your church does not spend a significant amount of time this weekend denouncing, condemning, and speaking out against the actions of the white supremacists gathering in Charlottesville, VA in the strongest possible terms, your church is racist as hell. If your leadership is silent about this, they support it. Silence is support… It’s just that simple. Silence on this issue equals support of the terrorists yelling “Blood And Soil!” (a phrase that gets its racist roots from Nazi ideology–from the German phrase “Blut und Boden”–which holds that ethnicity comes from “descent blood” and territory).
If the people you go to church with people who are able to watch confederate flag-carrying white men chant literal Nazi slogans while carrying torches on a college campus, and still try to tell you that that flag is about “Heritage, Not Hate,” you go to church with some seriously racist people.
If you go to an “All Lives Matter” church instead of a “Black Lives Matter” church, you go to a white supremacist church.
If, after seeing the KKK gather to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, while chanting “White Power” and “White Lives Matter,” the people in your congregation are talking more about “free speech” than about the clear immorality of the actions of these people, you attend a white supremacist church.
If they talk about “both sides being wrong…” If they talk about how the Anti Fascists were throwing things too… If they use the term “reverse racism” in a way that is not ironic… If they blame Black Lives Matter in any way for the violence that broke out… If they try to “whitesplain” the nonviolence of Martin Luther King, Jr. to People Of Color who are being actively oppressed… You are surrounding yourself with white supremacists.
On this point, while watching the video feeds of what is happening in Charlottesville this morning, there were two distinct points of opposition to the white supremacists gathered there. One was a group of clergy and peaceful protestors. Another was a group of anti-fascists. The clergy was dressed in vestments and collars. The anti-fascists were dressed in battle gear and ready to fight. The group of clergy sang songs like “This little light of mine,” and chanted things like “LOVE HAS ALREADY WON.” The anti-fascists were chanting “Nazi scum, your time has come,” “Get the fuck out of our city,” and “Punch a nazi in the mouth.”
It is clear to anyone who knows anything about Jesus that “Love has already won” is way closer to Jesus than “Punch a nazi in the mouth.” But if the people in your life (and in your church) are focusing on criticizing the actions and words of a small group of anti-fascists INSTEAD of focusing on criticizing that actual nazis gathering in our streets, you need to know you the people in your life are part of the problem. You are hanging out with white supremacists. And also, if you are more offended by anti-fascists’ use of the word “fuck” (or my use of the word “shitty” in the tweet below) than you are offended at the cuss-word-free slogans of hatred and racism that are shouted by angry white men, you have missed the whole point of the Bible.
To quote Tony Campolo: “I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.”
If–when you point out to the people at your place of worship that many of the slogans and chants which were shouted by the KKK, neo-nazis, and white supremacists were ALSO shouted at Trump rallies–you are accused of being “too political,” you attend a white supremacist church. Literal nazis yell MANY of the same chants that were yelled in Trump Rallies, and white people all over this country (who call themselves “christians”) still insist that Trump’s election had nothing to do with racism…
There will be a lot of churches who stay silent on the rise of white supremacy that is happening in our country, and they will say it’s because they “don’t want to get political.” This is the exact same excuse churches used in the 1930’s as white supremacy rose in Germany. And please don’t be confused… It is not that people are getting more racist–It is that people are getting more comfortable SHOWING their racism.
There are a lot of awful things about the white supremacist rally in Virginia this weekend… People are getting physically hurt, but the damage is not limited to physical injuries. We don’t have to be anywhere near the streets of Charlottesville to have these images do damage to our hope for humanity… to our hearts… to our souls. But look on the bright side: At least now you can look at how your church reacts to these disturbing events and you’ll be able to know whether or not you’ve been surrounding yourself with white supremacists. And whether or not you need to find a new place to go to church…
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