PNBC Social Justice CommissionThe New York Declaration
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (1 Kings 18:21)
We come to this historical moment deeply disturbed by the overwhelming confluence of troubling dynamics that have converged in a potentially devastating tide of spiritual, political and cultural chaos. For some it appears that the current crisis emerged rather suddenly with the ascent of the present presidential administration, which through a torrent of lies, innuendo, perverted public policy initiatives and Machiavellian machinations simply overwhelmed our capacity to absorb and process it all. But the current crisis is no flash flood. The debris laden tide swelling around us is laced with pathogens years in the making. Were the waters to recede with an overnight impeachment, the landscape of American life would yet remain scarred for years after and the soil of our republic, poisoned by the toxins left in its wake. Nor will the unwholesome aftermath be so easily cleared, nor the atmosphere so quickly cleansed of airborne disease. And it’s still raining
As with any flood the thin veneer of carelessly laid coverings is washed away exposing what is often the wretched corruption of what lies beneath. Issues declared dead and long thought laid to rest but merely buried alive eddy to the surface in swirling conflict. Issues of race, of labor, of economic justice, of the bill of rights, issues of education such as the fair administration and allocation of resources, of criminal justice etc., all covered by the thin sediment of sentimentally cheap religious ideologies of togetherness and glib, self-congratulatory discussions of incremental progress re-emerge as the deep fractures in the bedrock of our socio-cultural topography are once again exposed. And the fissures run deep.
The marauding waters of our current historical surge, running roughshod and reckless has failed, in the nature of the case, to discriminate between our cherished social institutions leaving the Church of Jesus Christ no less damaged and exposed than the other artifices and edifices of our cherished American experiment.
Exposed is the spiritual rot, moral corruption and the delusional racism at the heart of White Conservative Evangelicalism.
Exposed is its root and ground in an idolatrous worship of Whiteness masquerading as the Christian Faith.
Exposed is the idolatrous worship of Whiteness as the ultimate ground of value and final arbiter of all values heretofore referred to simply as American or Christian, such as Democracy, freedom, the rule of law, Justice and Christian Faith.
Exposed is the complicity of many African American preachers and parishioners who betray their worship at the same altar, gouging their own eyes in an act of devotional sacrifice to tap the source of their supreme validation.
Exposed is the intersection where the worship of Whiteness and an adulterous Christian religion are wedded Ideologically to an exploitative and predatory economic system.
Exposed is the virtual identity of White Christian Nationalism and White Evangelical Christianity betrayed by the invocation of the Divine to sanction the subduction of our deepest value claims, shameful crimes and transparent political corruption for the sole purpose of shoring up the decaying underpinnings of Western White Supremacy and identity. In the end the Conservative Evangelical Right is no less nihilistic than they claim the relativistic liberal left to be. And it is no wonder since each share in the same self-righteous presumption of Whiteness filtered through related but alternative semantic grids. But at the core of both is an identity that supersedes God as the Supreme source of human worth and the arbiter of value.
Exposed is the false narrative of a White righteous America, to which all others are at best an addendum and at worse a contaminant of its otherwise God ordained perfection. We see clearly what you are.
Over against the collapse of the more popular expressions of the Christian Faith into the spiritual rot of a Materialistic, Nationalistic, Corporatized Americanity thinly veiled by the sanctimonious odor of enthusiastic Pentecostalism, comes THE CLEAR CALL OF GOD IN CHRIST TO RESIST!
Unlike the objective of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter From A Birmingham Jail this is no plea for cooperation but rather the wholesale condemnation of the complete prostitution of the Christian Faith; of the idolatrous worship of Whiteness and the heretical synthesis of God and Nation. We condemn and resist the moral bankruptcy of a perverted form of the Christian Faith in Black and White that affirms as Divinely ordered and sanctioned an economic system that places profit over people; the religion of wealth, the idolatry of celebrity; the culture of greed that encourages a criteria of success defined by the abundance of one’s possessions or American Middle Class status as the summum bonum of life; and finally the merciless exploitation of ignorant but trusting sentimentality to the detriment of the spiritual wellbeing of persons, the environment, the other or the most vulnerable among us.
We hear anew, in this hour and in THIS world the summons of the Apostle Paul, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
Likewise we reject and resist the claim of the more cynical among us that the Christian Faith is the White Man’s religion or that justice is tangential to the thrust of God’s redemptive work in human history declared in and through the person of Jesus the Christ and sustained through the activity of the Holy Ghost. The fact that slave holders and those who trafficked in the souls of folk throughout Western History sought to either excise, dilute or otherwise obscure the Biblical testimony to God’s emancipatory providence gives eloquent testimony to the revolutionary potential of God’s Word wherever oppression abounds. For, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:24-27). We are the Christian Resistance. And this is the CRM, the Christian Resistance Movement.