Opinion: White Christianity Is One of the Main Drivers of American Racism

Walter Rhein

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I receive a lot of hostility from white Christians. This comes in the form of aggression in everyday life and in threatening language in comments on my articles.

I only have one thing to say to white Christians: you should be ashamed of yourself.

Christianity is supposed to be a religion about love and tolerance. I can honestly state that no white Christians have ever shown me anything that approaches love and tolerance.

I’m tired of being told that I’m a “sinner.” I’m tired of being told I’m going to “burn” (which is a threat by the way). I’m tired of white Christians looking at me with judgment and disrespect.

There is a reason that the Ku Klux Klan used to burn crosses. The United States of America needs to recognize the shameful history of how white Christianity supports basic American racism.

Today, there has been a concerning rise in Christian nationalism. Christian nationalists have been known to be violent. Every law-abiding citizen should be concerned about this movement.

The very concept of Christian nationalism goes against the Constitution. We all know that the Founding Fathers provided protections against religious extremism in the First Amendment. The problem is that many white Christians want to remove that Amendment.

Whenever I see an illuminated cross in my community or when I’m out on the road, I think of the burning crosses that were used to terrify black Americans. They didn’t have artificial illumination in the days after the Civil war.

The Christian cross isn’t a symbol of hope to many people. It’s a symbol that has come to represent violence, terror, and hatred.

Again, all you have to do is scroll through the comments section of many of my articles and you’ll read insults and threats.

At some point, all Americans will have to recognize that racism is a real problem in our country. However, many Americans deny that racism even exists.

Some of them also deny that January 6th was an insurrection.

Some of them also deny that global climate change is a growing problem.

Some of them deny the effectiveness of vaccines.

Some of them even deny that the Earth is a globe.

It’s bizarre that the United States of America entertains so many viewpoints that should rightfully be called “unhinged.” In my opinion, white Christianity is one of the main engines behind the proliferation of these beliefs.

People will lecture you on the contents of the Bible as if they are citing an academic source. You might as well cite a passage from The Lord of the Rings or the Harry Potter series. Why not cite a passage from Greek mythology? What does Zeus have to say about the problems confronting American society?

I don’t care what Zeus has to say. Zeus is irrelevant.

We’re told not to discuss religion. We’re told we must be “respectful” of religion. Those conventions only serve to help religion proliferate at the expense of reasonable, compassionate action.

If you are part of a church and you are resentful of the content of this article, then go out and be a positive change in the world. Prove me wrong.

But I don’t expect that to happen. What I expect will happen is that my comments section will once again be flooded with angry comments from virulent white Christians. Don’t you realize that with every angry word you further prove my point?

There is always a push to put religion into schools in the form of government-mandated prayer. Any true American that has respect for the ideals upon which this nation was founded should resist that idea.

The problem is that many people put their loyalty to their religion over their loyalty to their country. They say, “God, country, family.” The problem with that statement is that it puts religion first. They are making no secret about where they place their true loyalties.

Schools need to instruct the general public about the historical influence of white Christianity on our country. If you read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, you’ll learn how the curse of Ham was used to justify slavery.

Beliefs that are disconnected from reality can have a compounding, negative effect on a country. It’s time that the United States of America adopted a more responsible attitude about the prevalence of racism in our society.

There is no justification for racism. There is no justification for hatred. There is no justification for violence. People need to recognize that if their religion influences them to engage in hateful behaviors, they need to reassess their beliefs.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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