It is absolutely vital to denounce the brutal legacy of colonialist plunder that set the capitalist system in motion over 500 years ago. Neither Trump’s explicitly racist vitriol nor the paternalistic “pro-immigrant” discourse of corporate liberals and the multicultural elite challenges the structures allowing for the exploitation and oppression of immigrants and migrant workers. [Capitalists’] ability to earn a profit is literally dependent on an endless supply of highly racialized and deportable bodies. A structural crisis of the global capitalist system reduces human beings to the commodities they either produce, consume, or — in the case of their labor power — are forced to sell. The systematic repression of racialized surplus populations is clearly an attempt to keep a lid on growing discontent among the most socially marginalized, who come to serve as scapegoats for the system’s growing instability. Moral pleas and strident denunciations of xenophobia and hate that are not simultaneously buttressed by an anti-capitalist critique practically invite co-optation by the multicultural corporate elite.
Racial discrimination? Check. Gender inequality? Check. Class warfare? Check. Prejudice based on physical ability and differences? Check. The choice between family values and power? Check. The undying pursuit of the American dream at all costs? Check. The Greatest Showman is an allegory about what the church should be. If we don’t address the fissure currently dividing the church now, we will never put out the fire currently raging through our halls and hearts. Like Barnum, we have forgotten to love. To love people who look, sound, think and feel differently to us. To love other Christians who didn’t vote the same way we did.
The growing gap between rich and poor in this country is consigning people to a fate that is largely inescapable. If you are born poor in America today you are likely to die poor. If you are born rich, the same. Poverty is not really an economic question. It’s a question of power: Who gets their needs met, which communities get their needs met and which communities don’t.
It turns out that for a lot of people “evangelical” is itself just another cultural signifier, a tribal designation rather than a serious adherence to Christian teachings. They undoubtedly go to church from time to time and think of themselves as Christians [but] are being seduced by Trump’s crude nationalism and nativism, largely as result of religious leaders politicizing religion and turning it into a vehicle for their own secular power.
When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn’t suit him “fake news,” it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press. Mr. President, every word that a president utters projects American values around the world. — Senator, Jeff Flake (Jan 2018)
James 4:4 says, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.” For early church fathers like St. Basil, “friendship with the world” meant attachment to wealth, power, and other worldly idols that get in the way of our connection with God. But for many white evangelicals today, being addicted to wealth and power is not a problem as long as you don’t associate with liberals. Whenever anything good or beautiful or true happens, God is at work no matter whose human agency God is using to accomplish his work. — Morgan Guyton
Morgan Guyton is director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, which is the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola University in New Orleans, LA. He is also a United Methodist pastor, blogger, and author of dozens of articles featured in Red Letter Christians, Huffington Post Religion, Think Christian, Ministry Matters, and others.0
Without a clear commitment to telling the truth about the impact and manifestation of white power and white privilege within the church, and within the culture because of what the white church fulminated with both sins of commission and sins of omission, if there is any contemporary meaning of the Antichrist, the white church seems to be a manifestation of it.
“If the poor are to become a “new and unsettling force” with real political might, we must first achieve the unity of the poor.”
“When burdens seem to overcome, there’s a higher power. Whose faithful and refuses none, there’s a higher power. Then why ask men to help you through, there’s a higher power. They’re helpless pilgrims just like you, there’s a higher power.” – Buddy Miller, There’s a Higher Power
Buddy Miller is an American singer, songwriter, musician, recording artist and producer. Miller is married to and has recorded with singer-songwriter Julie Miller. Universal United House of Prayer is Buddy Miller’s fifth solo album, released in 2004. “There’s a Higher Power” was written by Charlie Louvin and Ira Louvin.0
“I believe in the power of love, not the love of power.” — Brian D. McLaren
Brian D. McLaren is a prominent Christian pastor, author, activist and speaker. His latest book is The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian.0
“The far right of the evangelical movement in the United States has a highly organized campaign to impose biblical law on every aspect of American society. As the church becomes more aggressive and militant in its political cause, this may precipitate a seizing of religious freedom. Jesus had very little to say about the political power of His day. “Legislating morality” was not a platform for Jesus or the apostles in their ministry in the good news of Christ.” — Paul Vieira
“Religious apologists for Trump such as Rev. Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. continue to disgrace themselves by making an idol of access to power.” — John Gehring
John Gehring is the Catholic Program Director of Faith in Public Life, author or The Francis Effect and contributing editor of Commonweal Magazine, an independent journal of religion, politics and culture edited by lay Catholics. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/gehringdc0
“The church was established to serve the world with Christ-like love, not to rule the world.” — Gregory A. Boyd
Gregory A. “Greg” Boyd is an American theologian, pastor, and author. See: The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church
Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/greg_boyd0
“No movement or political revolution will ever be built within the confines of the Democratic Party. And the repeated failure of the American left to grasp the duplicitous game being played by the political elites has effectively neutered it as a political force. The Democrats, like the Republicans, have no interest in genuine reform. They are wedded to corporate power.” — Chris Hedges
Christopher Lynn Hedges is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, professor at Princeton University, author of several New York Times best-sellers, and Presbyterian minister. See: Bernie Sanders’ Phantom Movement
Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/chrislynnhedges0
“When the Left speaks to people with a condescending tone, creates a culture of suspicion toward men and whites, and projects an intense religiophobia and contempt for a large swath of the American public, it ensures that it will never have the political power to implement a progressive agenda.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner
Rabbi Michael Lerner is an American political activist and the editor of Tikkun, a progressive Jewish interfaith magazine.
See: Overcoming Trump-ism: A New Strategy for Progressives
Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/rabbilerner
“Grasping for power, as Brueggemann notes, ‘is never innocent or disinterested; it is always, to some important extent, a front for self-interest perpetrated through violence.’
The evangelical church detours from its true mission by seeking alignment with the rich and powerful instead of calling them to account and speaking for those whose voices have been silenced. Self-interest and self-protection run counter to the gospel. So does silence in the face of injustice.” — Evangelical—When a Good Word Goes Bad
Carolyn Custis James is a popular speaker for women’s conferences, churches, colleges, seminaries, and other Christian organizations.
Walter Brueggemann is an American Protestant Old Testament scholar and theologian who is widely considered one of the most influential Old Testament scholars of the last several decades.0