The (literal) Idolotry of White Supremacy: A Golden Calf for our Time

I read a couple of books this weekend, spent a little time online, watched a bit of TV, and went on a walk with my wife.  Except for the walk, there was definitely a common thread.  Some excerpts . . .

From Zach Beauchamp, in Vox:  

“The Golden Calf is one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament. The Israelites, newly freed from Egyptian slavery, have a crisis of faith while God is speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai. They melt down the golden jewelry to construct a physical god — a statue in the shape of a calf — to worship in place of their abstract, invisible deity. It’s a story about the allure of idolatry, how easy it is to abandon one’s commitments to principle in favor of shiny, easy falsehoods.

“This biblical tale trended on Twitter in the US Friday morning because of the following video, filmed on the first day of the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Someone involved in the conference constructed a golden statue — not of a calf, but of Trump — and wheeled it out to cheers from conference attendees. “That is so cool,” one of the onlookers says.”

From Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, in a speech to the 1963 Religion and Race conference in Chicago:

“Any god who is mine but not yours, any god concerned with me but not with you, is an idol.”

“We are all Pharaohs or slaves of Pharaohs. It is sad to be a slave of Pharaoh. It is horrible to be a Pharaoh.”

From the University of Twitter:

From Lisa Sharon Harper on Anti-Racism as Spiritual Practice, with Simran Jeet Singh:

“[P]eople of European descent who declared themselves white, who put together a taxonomy of human hierarchy and human belonging and place themselves at the top and made it their business to define and control everyone and everything—that’s exhausting. And it’s not possible. And I believe that people of European descent are exhausted by their own project, which has been a war with God for supremacy.”

From Joshua Jamerson and Alex Leary in the Wall Street Journal, on Donald Trump’s CPAC speech:

“[Mr. Trump] singled out Mr. Biden’s proposals in a broad immigration bill, such as creating an eight-year path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living in the country without a permanent legal status. Mr. Trump likened that to amnesty and called for Republicans to oppose it.”

From Raymond Chang and Michelle Reyes, Let the Church Declare:  Asian Lives Matter, in Religion News Service

“On Tuesday (Feb. 16), two Asian women were randomly attacked in New York City; one was punched in the face, the other in the back of the head. This is but the most recent in a spate of anti-Asian violence since the start of a pandemic that was harmfully characterized as the “China virus,” the “Chinese Flu,” or the “Kung Flu” by former President Donald Trump.

“It is exhausting to appeal over and again to the commonalities we have as image bearers of God (Gen. 1:27).

“The doctrine of the imago dei is the reformation of our time, and its application must extend to Asian Americans. All lives matter because they are made in the image of God. To this end the church must raise its voice.”

From Christena Cleveland, Why Jesus’ Skin Color Matters, in Christianity Today:

“Since Jesus belonged to an ethnic minority, we are compelled to reevaluate who Jesus was andwith whom he identified as he fulfilled his mission. When people who were on the outskirts gathered, Jesus was among them—not only because he ministered to them but because he was one of them. As an ethnic minority, Jesus didn’t simply care about people who were victims of Rome-sanctioned violence, he was a victim of Rome-sanctioned violence. Jesus didn’t simply care about refugees, Jesus was a refugee. Jesus didn’t simply care about the poor, he was poor. To Jesus, ministry meant knowing from the inside the pain of society’s most marginalized.”

From Reuters: 

“A photo of the CPAC stage went viral on social media on Saturday, with thousands of Twitter users sharing posts comparing its distinctive design to an othala rune, one of many ancient European symbols that Nazis adopted to “reconstruct a mythic ‘Aryan’ past,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.”

From George Yancy, Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly about Race in America

“N*****!” “N*****!” “N*****!” “N*****!” “N*****!” “N*****!”

“That and so much more vileness is the backlash that I had to contend with after many white people read my letter Dear White America that was published in the New York Times’ column, The Stone, on December 24, 2015.

“In retrospect, though, I was given a foreshadow. On one white supremacist website, there could have been others, in the same space that I was being berated and belittled, I noticed that there were already images glorifying Donald Trump. Staring at me, there was an image of his face right there, easily blending in with white supremacist maliciousness. I should have seen it coming.”

John Pavlovitz, The Terribly Tiny God of MAGA Christians

“People deserve a God who touched the leper and healed the sick and fed the starving and parted the seas and raised the dead—not a quivering idol who builds walls and drafts bathroom bills and launches social media crusades against migrant families.”

“I hope and pray that these people soon find a God who is big enough so that they stop living so small.”

Robert P. Jones, White Christian America Needs a Moral Awakening

“Through the entire American story, white Christianity has served as the central source of moral legitimacy for a society explicitly built to value the lives of white people over Black people. And this legacy remains present and measurable in the cultural DNA of contemporary white Christianity, not only among evangelicals in the South but also among mainline Protestants in the Midwest and Catholics in the Northeast.

“White Christians think of themselves as people who hold warm feelings toward African Americans, while simultaneously embracing a host of racist attitudes that are inconsistent with that assertion.

” . . . the version of Christianity that our ancestors built, “the faith of our fathers” as the hymn celebrates it, was a cultural force that, by design, protected and propagated white supremacy.”

Otis Moss III on position and power, from The Black Church, Episode 1, 3:24 – 4:58

Never confuse position with power. Pharoah had a position, but Moses had the power! Herod had a position, but John had the power! The cross had a position, but Jesus had the power! Lincoln had a position, but Douglass had the power! Woodrow Wilson had a position, but Ida B. Wells had the power! George Wallace had a position, but Rosa Parks had the power! Lyndon Baines Johnson had a position, but Martin Luther King had the power! We have the power!

Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer

 Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer

“[Jesus’] appearance in our midst has made it undeniably clear that changing the human heart and changing human society are not separate tasks, but are as interconnected as the two beams of the cross.”

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