losing my religion

American Jesus: Where are your priorities?

This post was originally shared on my Medium page. Slowly but surely, I’m coming back to my own site.

In my lifetime, I have seen clergy from all over North America bend themselves over backwards and twist themselves into pretzels, determined to despise certain people over so-called sins. Yet said sins involve behaviour that is none of their business.

Their insistence on doing this tells me two things. First, it reveals the truth about their commitment to loving each other. Jesus himself said that we are supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves. Yet time and again, people look for loopholes.

After all, it’s much more fun to judge others. White Evangelicals are, above all, white. Whether they acknowledge it or not, they play a role in North American society as a part of its dominant race of people. And there’s something that a number of them seem to enjoy about playing God.

In my experience, meddling in other people’s lives is a part of (White) Christian culture. Many of them have been hardwired to believe that everyone outside of their bubble is pitiful and needs “saving”. Not just spiritually, either. The idea of Black people as inferior is embedded into the faith’s colonial heritage. Throughout history, our culture has been mined and undermined by dominant members of society.

Secondly, the energy that they put towards hating people because of their “sins” is a declaration of their insecurity. To be specific, it reveals to me the truth about just how much they really trust God.

If God truly hates people because of anything that they do of their own free will on their own time, He will deal with them. He is MORE than strong enough and BEYOND capable.

I know that you know I’m right.

Some spiritual paths refer to this as Karma.

What you put out into the world comes back to you.

Jesus himself said, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”

Therefore, I have one question for Certain Christians: Why do you think it’s YOUR job to pursue personal sins so vehemently?

Racist words and deeds are pure evil. In the here and now, they hurt living, breathing human beings. They can diminish a person’s spirit and deeply scar their soul. They can leave people like me questioning our sanity and humanity.

For hundreds of years, racist WORDS and ACTIONS have done everything from putting people in SERIOUS socioeconomic jeopardy, to COSTING THEM THEIR LIVES. By words, I don’t only mean slurs. Racism is perpetuated via the way you speak to and about Black people. Microaggressions leave scars.

And racist actions involve more than physical violence.

Consider this diagram.

Thankfully, over the past week or so, “Police murdering POC” seems to have moved from the Socially Acceptable category into its rightful place as being Socially Unacceptable. But take a look at the rest of the items that lie under the line near the top of the pyramid. If you’re white, do you know what all of them are? And do you understand how they can harm Black people? If not, please head over to Google. It’s time for you to start studying.

Whether blood is shed because of it or not, racism has DEVASTATING, real-world, PRESENT DAY consequences. Yet earlier this year I had to listen to a popular pastor make a “declaration” against homosexuality. (For what it’s worth, it was a Black pastor. And I’m calling on Black church leaders, too, to have courage in the fight against racism within the church. If ever there was a time to “Tell the TRUTH and SHAME the DEVIL…” this is it.)

Regardless of your position, if you are a Christian leader, you need to step up and recognize the power that you have. People’s world-views are dictated by what you say.

There are adults who are in therapy because as a child, their parents led them to believe ridiculous things about themselves, in the name of God. There are people whose mental health has been shattered because so-called Christians have been determined to deny their humanity over things that are a matter of personal choice or identity.

Yet funnily enough, what another person does in their private life has never managed to snuff out mine.

So, I’ll ask: When it comes to the evils that you preach against, where are your priorities?

Last week when I was first drafting this, a sentence came to me.

If the church went after racism the way it went after certain other issues, racism would be OVER by now.

Now, to some that may sound far-fetched.

If so, I’d like to ask you to think of the examples that I mentioned earlier. I stand by what I said. There are people who still feel traumatized today, because in their youth, as Christians, they were humiliated over things that cause others no actual harm.

Stop wasting time wringing your hands over other folks’ life choices. People need to feel a deep sense of shame over genuine evils that actively hurt others. And you can start with racist language and behaviour.