- Hope on Union
Celebrating Black History Is Rooting Out White Supremacy
I loved History, but one of the reasons I did not major in History in college was that it was focused on western Europe. Since the white western European economic refugees created the U.S., the U.S. education system was focused on connecting its history to its ancestry. However, this myopic view of the U.S. is also the foundation of the greatest evil of the last half of millennia: white supremacy.
Religious institutions, in particular the Christian Church, must bear the blame, not only for legitimizing racism but the responsibility for its propagation. Under the guise of enlarging God’s kingdom or bringing salvation to the “unsaved,” the Church legitimized labeling non-white- non-western Europeans as heathens, pagans, and savages and proclaimed themselves as superior.
The sad reality was that economic exploitations of African, Asian, and American continents were all encouraged by the white western European Church leaders under the false pretenses of bringing the love of God to them. It is difficult to comprehend how Christians thought they would share heaven with those they were not going to share the earth with. How a racist who could not live out the Golden Rule expects to be forgiven by God, who only forgives as they have forgiven others (at least in the prayer Jesus taught his disciples), never made sense to me.
The lie of white supremacy is deeply embedded in the life of the Church through its placid acceptance of capitalism. For many, the Sunday offering is dependent on their level of satisfaction with the Church, or how much they “enjoyed” the sermon or the service. This has led to a consumeristic relationship with the Church, where pastors are peddling their sermons for donations. Churches are no longer speaking out on the issues of justice out of fear of someone withholding their pledge. Selling its soul for the almighty dollar has enslaved the Church to white supremacy.
Systemic racism has created an economic disparity in the U.S., and economic segregation has normalized white supremacy. By worshipping avarice, the Church has equated God’s acceptance with an accumulation of wealth. The character of individuals and the worth of people has been correlated with their level of compensation. The rigged economic system has been used as evidence to support the lie of white supremacy. The Church’s tacit approval of the capitalistic economic system is its indictment.
Black History Month is a reminder that we must root out the evil of white supremacy from our consciousness. As we celebrate the contribution of the myriad of African Americans in the life of the U.S., we must remember that they were successful, not because of the Church, but in spite of the Church. How the Church remains vigilant in fighting to root out racists, and racist attitudes from itself will determine the future of the Church. The soul of the Gospel depends on how we can free it from our racist culture and the lie of white supremacy.
Let us celebrate Black History Month by examining how we may have accepted the lie of white supremacy.