Anthea Butler's - White Evangelical Racism - a Review

 Anthea Butler paints a compelling picture of our current toxicity- through: White Evangelical Racism:  The Politics of Morality in America.    Examples of her words may be helpful.

In the summer of 2019 in Mississippi, a couple was turned down when trying to rent Boone's Camp Event Hall for their wedding reception.  Why?  The couple, a Black man and white woman, was told by the event hall owner, "First of all, we don't do gay weddings or mixed race... because of our Christian race, I mean our Christian belief."  The hall owner's slip of the tongue was telling in its equation of Christianity with whiteness.  (p.8-9)

Evangelical preoccupation with race. communism, and Catholicism would only ramp up in the 1960's.  (p.52)

Understand that for those of us in the Black community, it was not the evangelical who came and taught us our worth and dignity as Black men.  It was not the Bible-believing fundamentalist who stood up and told us that Black was beautiful.  It was not the evangelical who preached to us that we should stand on our own two feet and be men, be proud that Black was beautiful, and that Good could work his life out through our redeemed Blackness.  Rather, it took Stokely Carmichael, Rap Brown, and the Brothers to declare to us our dignity.

(quoting Tom Skinner, p.61-62)

The hot-button issue of interracial relationships would prove to be an important facdtor in how evangelicals would eventually eventually come together... (p.63)

Words like "poor" and "entitlement" are used to describe  people of color, especially African-Americans, as lazy and unwilling to work.  (p.123)

(Concerning the Tea Party and its inter-connections with white evangelical Christians) - Posters displayed signs depicting President Obama as a witch doctor with the caption "Obamacare" and others read "Obama's plan is white slavery.", "We don't need a Kenyan Marxist", and "Monkey see, monkey do".  Sarah Palin became one of the movement's darlings, and Tea Partiers helped figures like Palin and Glenn Beck gain traction on the political scene in 2009-10.  (p.124-5)

"Maybe Darren Wilson is the true victim" -- imagine that.  He's not dead, but somehow the true victim of the crime in which this twenty-eight year old police officer put six bullets into eighteen-year old Michael Brown, ending his life.  (p.132)

My answer is that evangelicalism is not a largely religious group at all.  Rather, it is a nationalistic  political movement whose purpose is to support the hegemony of white Christian men over and against the flourishing of others.  (p.138)

Early on in the book, my initial reaction was,  "She must be"  or "I hope she is" - "exaggerating how bad it is".   Reading the entire book taught me (not that I need a lot of teaching here) that we must look at things systemically, not at individual people - who may actually not be "that bad".   The silence - or relative silence - of those white Evangelical people - who confront racism and the general xenophobia of the Political (Right Wing Conservative) people - speaking as "religious people" - is deafening.  

Butler explains most clearly how reproductive rights was Not an issue with most white Evangelicals when Roe vs. Wade came out.  She further documents how it became highly significant related to covering for racism as an issue as a clear political decision of the right years and decades later on.

When those of us - from "outside" - confront either the ideology or the Movement, we are helping reinforce the paranoia, fear, and more importantly the - self-centered essentially corruption of this movement.

When we believe something, that's all right!   When we use our beliefs to hurt others - huge numbers of other people, we have no grounds for speaking of our "rights".   Sure, one has a right to do horrible things, but to mask this is essentially cynical hypocrisy is essentially criminal.   Blaming victims and punishing survivors of oppressive behaviors - is simply wrong!

Black People - are not to be blamed for how they are oppressed!

Gay, Lesbian and Trans People - as well as all non-gender conforming people - are not responsible for how they are oppressed.

We, white people (most commonly white men) - are responsible - for standing up - and helping end how others are exploited due to race, gender, gender-identity - and often most significantly class.

This book is a start!  We have a long way to go!





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