A Soul Check for White Christians
In the words of MLK, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
If you are white, Christian, and American, and want your fellow citizens to flourish and prosper together, you should be deeply troubled right now. In fact, “troubled” is too soft a word.
2020 has brought an assault on our senses and a challenge to our very ability to live together as a people. It began with the rancor and strife of the impeachment process—which now seems like a lifetime ago. The coronavirus onslaught ravaged bodies and beat down our spirits. Then came the wave of economic devastation from the lockdown and 40 million Americans filing for unemployment. Now, in rapid-fire succession, the no-knock raid and death of Breonna Taylor, the hunting and killing of Ahmaud Arbery, the execution of George Floyd, and the rioting and looting of America’s urban centers.
As Michelle Goldberg of The New York Times has pointed out, we have revisited some of the most traumatic experiences of the past century all in the space of five short months—from the Spanish flu in 1918 to the economic crash of 1929 to race-related killings and urban unrest in 1968 to impeachment in 1974. Throughout all this, our leadership, especially in the political and media worlds, has brought more heat than light. There are exceptions, but in general we don’t know whom to trust.
Given everything, we feel disoriented, and many may wonder whether we have lost our moorings about who we are as Christians and Americans. It’s not only natural but right, in response to the mistreatment of our brothers and sisters and fellow citizens, to feel angry. There is a time for righteous anger, and that time is when children of God are robbed of their humanity and denied the most basic of dignities (to freely walk or breathe). …
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