Religion teachers claim evangelical Christians are white racists who ‘could end up killing us all’
“If evangelicals don’t change, they pose an existential crisis for all of us… their racism, their sexism, their homophobia, their lack of belief in science, their lack of belief and common sense can end up killing us all”
Racism and the lost cause of Confederation are alive and well among today’s white evangelical Christians, argued three religion professors featured at a recent University of Virginia panel titled “White Evangelical Racism : the politics of morality in America ”.
“I think a strong and convincing argument can be made that it is not just this lost cause narrative that still animates white evangelical Christianity wherever it exists, be it on the west coast, in the south. Said Larycia Hawkins, assistant professor of politics. and religious studies at AVU.
“I lived in Chicago for 10 years and came away telling my friends, after some thought… that the Midwest is Confederate. America is actually Confederate, ”Hawkins said at the event.
“The WASP religion of white evangelism so deeply penetrates the ethos and myth of the United States. The lost cause is alive and well, not just among the people who stormed the capital, not just the people who showed up in Charlottesville in the summer of 2016, ”she said.
the sign also presented Anthea Butler, associate professor of religious and African studies at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the new book “White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America.”
Butler, during the panel, argued that evangelicals who say they “don’t see the color” promote “color blind racism” since those in evangelism are expected to act “white” and vote in a way that is. maintain white supremacy.
“When people tell you, ‘I don’t see the color, I see what Jesus sees in you,’ it actually means they only see white,” she said.
“And that people who are in evangelism, like I was before, are considered white if they behave in certain ways. And if you don’t behave that way, or if you don’t adhere to white evangelical cultural norms, that means you are not acceptable, ”Butler said, noting later in the webinar that“ evangelicals are ready to die for whiteness.
Butler said it was not a question of theology, but a position that evangelical Christians have taken “that takes us everywhere.”
“And because they are selfish and because they don’t care, their racism, their sexism, their homophobia, their lack of belief in science, their lack of belief and common sense can end up killing us all” , said Butler.
The third panelist, UVA Religious Studies Professor Charles Mathewes, who is white, suggested that Butler’s book helps explain why so many evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump and “reversed” their position that “morality personal importance in the choice of leaders ”.
He argued that his book does a “tremendous service” by exposing “the idea that there is a convenience in white silence” and “actually saying the things that need to be said”.
In addition to accusing evangelical Christians of being white supremacists, Hawkins argued during the webinar that it was wrong to be entrepreneurial and patriotic.
“This is one of the things that I hope we can discuss further, is this feeling that American entrepreneurship is woven through white evangelism, which is Americanism, which is patriotism. To be American is to be white, to be Christian, at least modally, fair. And that it is a seductive white racism that is described here, ”she said.
Hawkins is no stranger to controversial statements. In 2015, while working as a teacher at Christian Wheaton College, she wore a Muslim headscarf during Advent and argued that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
Butler also often makes headlines, most notably when she called God a “white racist” in 2013.
A one hour panel transcript was published by the University of Virginia.
UVA panel raises concerns, complaints
A concerned alumnus argued that statements made by Professor Hawkins and the other panelists during the April 6 webinar constituted “school-sponsored hate speech” against evangelical Christians.
“Members of the Faculty of Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at AVU looked at white evangelicals in an example of college vitriol as vast and comprehensive as you will ever be able to watch or read,” wrote James Sherlock in a May 16. column at Bacon’s rebellion, a Virginia-based political blog.
Sherlock noted that he would file formal hate speech complaints against Hawkins and Mathewes as well as the religion, race and democracy lab at the AVU, which hosted the event.
On May 22, Sherlock informed readers that the President of the University of Virginia, James Ryan, had written to him to tell him that the university was studying the matter.
UVA spokesperson Brian Coy provided The college fix a copy of the email President Ryan sent to Sherlock and confirmed that the university was aware of the webinar as well as the concerns some have raised about its content.
But administrators have since ruled the matter no longer needs to be revisited.
“Our provost and the college dean looked into this issue and concluded that while the panel raised some ideas that could certainly be found controversial, this was a very appropriate academic endeavor. and did not violate any university policy, ”Coy said. The college fix in an email.
“The free exchange of ideas, even though these ideas are controversial, has been a core value of the University of Virginia since its inception. University leaders constantly strive to protect this principle, while fostering a civil environment where speech and scholarship advances people’s understanding of one another rather than dividing them.
“ If evangelicals don’t change, they pose an existential crisis for all of us ”
Hawkins, in his comments during the seminar, also criticized Christians for their “failure to see that the capitalist economy could be the antithesis of the economy of God and even radically different from that envisioned by Adam Smith.”
“This kind of entrepreneurial awakening that’s kind of baked into white evangelism is pretty limited,” she said. “He cannot envision a world beyond colonialist Christianity. They are not even neocolonialists. It is simply colonialist Christianity to this day. Cedric Robinson talks about black Marxism. And I think this conversation can’t even be engaged in alternative economies. “
In the webinar, Butler describes how she wrote “White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America” to answer some questions she personally had about American evangelicalism.
“One of the questions that came to me, first, was why race was often not mentioned in evangelical writings… And why, secondarily, whenever we hear the media talk about evangelism, what is evangelism really coded as white? We don’t think of this as being black evangelicals or Asian-American evangelicals or Latin American evangelicals. We always think of evangelicals as white, ”she said.
“Why is morality so important to evangelicals?” is another question Butler said she originally addressed and thinks her book answers.
“I think the book does a good job of showing you why they are using these moral issues as a shield. They use moral issues to really hide the fact that they want to be politically powerful, that they want certain things out of government, despite the fact that they believe in limited government and also the way that morality has sometimes turned out. turned against them, “she said.
In his book, Butler argues that “evangelism is synonymous with whiteness.”
“It is not only a cultural whiteness, but also a political whiteness”, she writes. “The presupposition of the whiteness of evangelism has come to define evangelism, and it is the definition on which the media, the general public and politicians agree.”
At the very end of the webinar, Butler goes so far as to assert that evangelicals pose an existential threat to humanity itself.
“As much as I hate to say it, I’m going to say it this way. If evangelicals don’t change, they pose an existential crisis for all of us. They have divided the nation politically. They don’t want to believe in climate change. They don’t want to get vaccinated like we saw in The New York Times. They are an integral part of why we cannot move forward because they say they have religious beliefs, ”she said.
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