Opinion: White American Christianity Has a Disturbing History of Anti-Black Racism

Walter Rhein

Image by Walter Rhein

There have been many discussions lately about bringing mandatory prayer to public schools. As a parent, I think this is a terrible idea.

I believe that our media and our politicians too often assume that there is general public support for prayer in school. This is a misconception.

One of the problems facing our society is how hostile Christians become if anyone offers any constructive criticism on how they could better serve our community.

I feel this attitude is hypocritical. Christians have no problem telling you what behaviors they believe to be “sins.” They have no problem telling you who they think you should marry. However, they become insulted if anyone dares to tell them what to do.

Frankly, I don’t think that it’s appropriate that these entitled attitudes are spread in public places and funded by my tax dollars.

Racism is a significant problem in our country. One example of racism is how many churches depict Jesus as a white man when that’s a historic impossibility. This is yet another example of erasing history.

Leading up to the Civil War, Biblical passages were often cited as justifications for maintaining the institution of slavery.

If we are to have a true perspective of American history, schools must teach the true influence of the church. The truth is that sometimes the church stood on the side of oppression and slavery. This is simply a fact. There’s no point arguing about it. You can’t erase history.

I have a lot of people write comments on my articles and insist that things started to go bad in the United States when prayer was removed from school. This is a widely held belief, unfortunately, it’s hard to substantiate with facts.

People assume that our society would be better if we had a government-mandated prayer in school, but they don’t ever supply evidence for that belief.

Lately, there has also been a social push to not discuss the history that makes us uncomfortable. Throughout human history, there are many examples of how the power and influence of religion are used to oppress and exploit people. I’m talking about all religions.

The drawbacks of religion shouldn’t be “off limits” in our institutions of public institutions. We can’t pick and choose history. We shouldn’t only study the events that make us feel good about ourselves. That’s irresponsible.

The result of not studying the truth about history is that people start to harbor beliefs that things were “better” when the government mandated school prayer. The truth is that before the civil rights era, the black community was subjected to terrible treatment in the United States. Even since the civil rights era, our society has a long way to go.

If you want an example of a highly influential religious figure, look no further than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. However, I’m not even sure if schoolchildren are allowed to read his work anymore. In many parts of the country, teachers are losing their jobs over false accusations of teaching critical race theory. This is happening even though critical race theory is not taught in K-12 schools.

You will not have to look any further than in the comments section of this article to see the hostility that is often present in the American Christian community. In many of my articles, I’m subjected to insults and threatening language. I don’t want this behavior in schools.

When somebody says that there is a problem with racism, the appropriate response is, “How can we help to change that?”

It’s never appropriate to say, “How dare you suggest such a thing!”

There are problems confronting the United States of America. We can’t solve these problems by continuing to make the mistakes that we’ve made throughout history. We can’t solve these problems by not teaching the history that makes us uncomfortable.

The idea of bringing prayer back to school is one of the most disrespectful concepts I can imagine. No ideology should be considered “above criticism.” For too long, religion in the United States has been allowed to do whatever it wants without being held accountable.

Our children have a right to know about the dangers of religion.

We need to have responsible conversations about whether or not American religion is hurting or helping our society.

Comments / 182

Published by

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

Chippewa Falls, WI

More from Walter Rhein

Comments / 0