©Wendell Griffen, 2017
Justice Is A Verb!
November 15, 2017
Like many other people in the United States and elsewhere, I have observed the daily events and controversy surrounding the candidacy of Roy Moore for election to the U.S. Senate from the state of Alabama. Like many other people, I do not know why people would elect a politician to higher office who has consistently dishonored his sworn duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and who has twice been removed from judicial office for doing so.
I do not know why people who say they care about decency would support a middle-aged candidate whose former co-workers confirm allegations that he repeatedly engaged in questionable – no, predatory – conduct toward teenaged girls.
I do not know why I should believe people who profess concern for women and girls to be sincere about that concern when they now support Roy Moore after having previously overwhelmingly endorsed, supported, voted to elect, and now continue to defend Donald Trump, a known and serial misogynist.
And I do not know why I or any other follower of the gospel of Jesus should believe white evangelicals are followers of Jesus who support Donald Trump, Roy Moore, and the policies and practices associated with them.
What is clear, however, is that there are people – in Alabama and elsewhere throughout the United States – who profess belief in democracy while supporting politicians such as Donald Trump and Roy Moore, persons whose personal and professional histories are defined by bigotry and other forms of oppression towards vulnerable people, including women and girls.
And, it is clear that Donald Trump, Roy Moore, and their white “evangelical Christian” supporters are determined to return the United States to an era when white patriarchy, white supremacy, and white nationalist militarism were the defining features of every level of government (local, state, and national) in the United States.
Donald Trump, Roy Moore, and their white “evangelical Christian” supporters are not patriots to democracy. They are neo-fascists.
Donald Trump, Roy Moore, and their white “evangelical Christian” supporters are, also, not followers of the Jesus who respected women, who included women among his closest followers, and who ordained women the first prophets of the resurrection gospel of grace, liberation, justice, peace, and hope. Donald Trump, Roy Moore, and their white “evangelical Christian” supporters are heretics to that gospel.
The hard reality is that white “evangelical Christians” support Donald Trump, Roy Moore, and politicians like them, including people like former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio (who received a presidential pardon from Trump from his federal criminal contempt conviction for refusing to stop using his office to racially profile and terrorize Latinos).
The hard reality is that white “evangelical Christians” must be denounced as political and religious bigots, neo-fascists, and heretics. They are not devoted to democracy. They are not devoted to the Jesus of the New Testament gospels whose life and ministry was defined by inclusive grace, truth, compassion toward vulnerable persons, justice, peace, and resurrection hope.
Instead, their true devotion is to white religious nationalism. That is why white “evangelical Christians” overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump’s candidacy for president of the United States in 2016. That is why white “evangelical Christians” are now determined to elect Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate from Alabama.
That devotion to white religious nationalism – a mixture of white supremacy, white patriarchy, and religious nationalism – means white “evangelical Christians” will turn out in record numbers to vote for Roy Moore in Alabama.
Devotion to white religious nationalism will inspire them to engage in or disregard overt and covert efforts to suppress, intimidate, and otherwise interfere with efforts to vote by people who are poor, persons of color, progressive minded women, students, senior citizens, and naturalized citizens of the United States when voting occurs in Alabama for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Devotion to white religious nationalism is what inspires white “evangelical Christians” to claim a divine right to rule the United States, and to impose their will on the rest of the world in the name of American Empire.
So what should people who truly believe in democracy do?
What should prophetic-minded followers of the gospel of Jesus do?
People who believe in democracy should resist the politics and religion of white religious nationalism and white “evangelical Christians” and call it what it truly is – neo-fascism, not democracy.
Prophetic followers of Jesus should denounce white religious nationalism as moral and theological fraud and a heresy to the gospel of Jesus.
People who believe in democracy and prophetic followers of Jesus should organize against white religious nationalism and neo-fascism. We should join forces to expose, challenge, resist, and inform ourselves and others about the hateful claims of Donald Trump, Roy Moore, and other favorites of white religious nationalism. Working together, we should defeat politicians like Trump, Moore, and Joe Arpaio – along with the hateful and fear-mongering policies they champion – at the ballot box in local, state, and national elections.
That is how we can, and should, protect and honor our cherished belief in democracy. That is how we can, and should, protect and preserve the United States as a free, inclusive, and welcoming society. That is how we can, and should, prevent our society from being controlled by bigoted religionists who lust for power to impose their notion of American Empire on our nation and the rest of the world.
The issue for us is not what neo-fascists and white religious nationalists do or what they will do. The issue is what will people like you and I do. We have the power to determine the future of our society. We have the power to step up together and defeat the forces and menaces threatened by white religious nationalism and the politicians embraced by white religious nationalists.
Do not draw back from this challenge. Lean into it as people who believe in and love democracy.
And if you are a follower of Jesus, lean into it because you refuse to allow white supremacists, lovers of patriarchy, and white “evangelical Christians” to hijack the gospel of Jesus in the name of American Empire.