Friday, November 11, 2016

In Which I Attempt to Respond to the Election

We live in at minimum, two Americas.  I've known this to be true since the time we started truly delving into what life would be like for us to raise a Black child, but I've never seen it so clearly as I do this week.  And it is a strange reality to have one foot in each of these worlds, particularly in the Church.  Because if the division is clear and decisive anywhere, its in our churches.

This is most clear this week as we watch the response to the election results and having to say the words "President Donald Trump".  On one hand I see White Evangelical Christians.  This is the group I grew up as a part of and still have plenty of connection with.  They overwhelmingly voted for Trump, some estimates say numbers as high as 80% did.  And these are direct quotes from some:

  • We need to look 'em in the face and laugh.
  • You guys lost.  Learn it, love it, live it, and leave us alone.
  • The Right has seized their chance to take a stand - speak against the righteous accusations founded in "social justice".
  • A vote for Trump was a vote for the freedom to promote truth.
  • Thankfully there will be more babies to adopt now.
  • The media has painted him only one way.
  • God cannot bless our country through Hillary.
  • We cannot pre-judge Trump.

And I read these words and see these responses over and over and over in various forms and levels of vitriol on my friends and families social media comment sections and I want to openly weep.  And I do sometimes.  Because how in the world does any of that represent Christ?  How does any of that speak to the hurting, the broken, the beaten down, the marginalized, and the forgotten?  How easily and quickly do we forget the very words of Jesus, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed."

And thus I come to the two Americas.  Because you know what I don't see from any of the people of color in my world who are believers?  ANY OF THAT.  None of it.  I see mourning.  I see prophetic lament.  I see willingness to step into the pain and brokenness and sit with those who are afraid and lonely and oppressed.  This is what I see:

  • White evangelicals, you could have stood up and said that following Christ and the body of Christ is greater, but you chose to pursue power.
  • When you say let's move forward without even a hint of an apology for all that has been said and done, you are re-traumatizing people of color.
  • Until the White church is ready to have internal dialogue about the idol of "whiteness" they will fail to have a credible Gospel witness.
  • Stop telling people they'll be ok.  There are a lot of people in this country that Donald Trump, himself, has promised won't be ok.
  • Division isn't healed by ignoring issues, but being honest about what divides.

But these are not the voices that the majority of White Christians are listening to.  And you know why?  It goes all the way back to post-slavery America where White Christians refused to let Black people have a non-marginalized place in the church, so they left and formed their own churches.  And still to this day Sunday morning is the most segregated time of the week.

So not only were the voices of the marginalized not heard by the majority of White Christians before the election to have that influence how they viewed the candidates, we had White pastors around the country championing Trump's cause.  So Christians of color in this country are crying out in lament with good reason while White Christians are quite literally telling others to laugh in their faces.

White Christians are proclaiming "God is on the throne and is in charge!" while Christian immigrants are wondering how to keep their family together when Trump starts his mass deportation plan.  They proclaim "Give him a chance!  Pray for him!", all while refusing to fully step into mourning with and praying for the children who had to go to school this week and read, "go back to Africa niggers!  Trump is making America great again!"  They say, "well at least we will have conservative Supreme Court nominees to try to overturn abortion!" while the woman who just got pregnant is looking at her insurance being stripped away when the ACA is repealed and knows she can't afford to sustain her pregnancy if that happens.

Meanwhile the biggest pushback I get from trying, begging, pleading with White Christians this week is that they aren't racist.  So be it.  Stand on that ground if you want, but you have to deal with the implications of your vote, White church.  You have to deal with not only your vote, but your leaders championing him and refusing to speak against his bigotry, misogyny, racism, and xenophobia.  You need to be protecting and housing Muslim families that are living in fear of being branded.  You need to be covering the costs of the pregnant woman who would rather not chose abortion but feels like she has no choice (and not just cover those living costs if she chooses adoption).  You need to be physically standing in the gap for our Mexican brothers and sisters who are afraid to walk out of their homes right now.  You need to be a safe place for the woman who is sexually assaulted and doesn't know who she can trust because her president and the pastors who championed him don't seem to care about the bodily autonomy and safety of women.

Stop trying to justify your vote as not racist, and see the far reaching implications that it had.  Then work your ass off to fix that.