I made an observation this week that this country is addicted to its belief in and adherence to white supremacy. It is an addiction that displays as do all addictions; the desire for the power of white supremacy is part of the political circulatory system of this country, and because of that, the country cannot just declare that they are over it. America needs to be detoxed of its poisonous, destructive tumor.
There have been spates of time in our history where there has been a kind of remission. Following the horrifically toxic years following Reconstruction, Black Americans, and women for that matter, were allowed into the political system.
But Black political and economic progress has almost always been followed by a white backlash. It’s the addiction, made evident. Once a person is addicted to a substance, his/her body needs it and their body is forever challenged and threatened by that need re-emerging. The blessing or evidence of healing is revelatory when the addicted person’s physiology and spirituality have risen above raw desire. America’s addiction to white supremacy is no different; when it comes to white supremacy, she simply does not want to let it go. And so she has not.
This addiction to white supremacy exists in spite of the historical Jesus, his teachings. Some white supremacists have declared that Jesus’ mission was really to minister to and save the most wealthy, not those who suffer from political, economic, and social oppression. (https://www.salon.com/2022/02/27/jelani-cobb-on-the-anti-crt-campaigns-high-stakes-and-the-deep-roots-of-fascism-in-america/) Historian Anthea Butler says:
White Christianity is a Christianity that is based on the following: Jesus is white. Jesus privileges white culture and white supremacy, and the political aspirations of whiteness over and against everything else. White Christianity assumes that everybody should be subsumed under whiteness in terms of culture and society.
White Christianity assumes that it does not have to look at poverty. We see this in the form of the so-called prosperity gospel, and that any blessing you get from God is because God favors you. If anybody else is out of favor, let’s say some poor kid in Northwest Philadelphia who doesn’t have enough to eat, well, that’s just too bad because they’re not blessed of God.
If you grew up in a home where the Gospel was taught, this remaking of Jesus as the champion of white supremacy is puzzling, confusing, and troubling, but in all truth, the only way to understand what is going on, and the role of Christianity in all of it, is to understand the ethos of white Christianity – a belief system that exists North, South, East, and West.
What, then, do Christians who believe in the Biblical Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospel, do to effectively combat a nation that is addicted to white supremacy and that justifies its actions on their re-make of Jesus and Jesus’ purposes? How does one fight a group of people who have effectively de-defied the Biblical Jesus and God, the parent of Jesus?
It is scary, watching what is going on, but it is also a fact that a re-made Jesus has been used to justify racist violence and terror throughout our history. “The Left” has been too silent, while those who burn crosses and use fire and fear to maintain control have continued to pursue their goal to keep America white.
In the name of the historical Jesus, we should say, simply, “no.”
A candid observation…