Now is the time to hear white evangelical leaders refute white supremacy – Baptist News Global

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are faced with the fierce urgency of the moment. … Now is not the time for apathy or complacency. Now is the time to act vigorously and positively.

These words of Martin Luther King Jr. resonate clearly in the wake of the latest incident of white supremacist terrorism in Buffalo, NY Surely by now you are aware of the reports of what happened. A young white man walked into a grocery store in a predominantly black neighborhood where he fired more than 70 rounds from an assault rifle with the word N written on the barrel. He shot a total of 13 people.

As a result of this heinous act, 10 black people have now died, ranging in age from 32 to 86. This is further proof that white supremacists are the greatest domestic terrorist threat in the United States.

Joel Bowman

The suspect, like other white men in similar situations, was arrested alive. He wrote a 180-page manifesto in which he described himself as an anti-Semite, white supremacist and fascist. His diatribe told of his radicalization. He wrote about his belief in the “great replacement” theory – the misconception that a cabal is trying to replace white Americans with non-whites through immigration, interracial marriage, and ultimately violence.

What I say here will shock some of you and irritate others, but it still has to be said. While the young man who perpetrated the Buffalo Massacre is ultimately responsible for his evil actions, white Christian leaders are complicit in the white supremacy that inspired him.

I can hear the often-used objections:

  • “But some of my best friends are black!”
  • “I am not a member of the Ku Klux Klan!”
  • “I’ve never called anyone the N-word!”
  • “My family never owned slaves!”

If these reactions sound like yoursthen you really don’t understand white supremacy.

White supremacy is not limited to extremist groups like the Klan. Moreover, white supremacy is not only manifested in blatant or violent ways, but also in very subtle and covert ways.

During a difficult white supremacy workshop held in San Francisco, one of the presenters explained: “White supremacy is a system of exploitation and oppression of people of color based on historical and perpetuated by white institutions for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege.

“White supremacists are not just in hoods, but can also be found in elected offices, corporate boardrooms, police departments, and preaching in mega-churches.”

Based on this definition, white supremacists are not just in hoods, but can also be found in elected offices, corporate boardrooms, police departments, and preaching in megachurches.

You can ask: “How was I complicit in white supremacy? In his book The color of compromise, Jemar Tisby said: “The most egregious acts of racism occur in the context of compromise. The failure of many Christians in the South and across the country to decisively oppose racism in their families, communities and even in their own churches has provided the fertile soil for the seeds of hatred to grow. I would say compromise makes you complicit in white supremacy.

One form of compromise is to speak of white supremacy only as acts committed by demented individuals, rather than as an ideology by which institutions harm whole groups of people. Those of you who engage in such compromise speak of white supremacy only generically, so as not to offend those invested in perpetuating its institutional power. King had this in mind when he said in his Letter from Birmingham Jail“I’ve seen white clergymen stand aside and speak pious talk and moralizing platitudes.”

To me, the most sickening form of compromise is to remain silent on the issue of white supremacy. Many of you as white Christian leaders have said nothing from your platforms to repudiate white supremacy. While you had a lot to say about the reversal Roe vs. Wade, your views on same-sex marriage, your opposition to critical race theory, your Second Amendment rights, and your desire to “own the freedoms,” most of you have said absolutely nothing about the various manifestations of white supremacy. As Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, and yet you have neglected the most important matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

“Many of you as white Christian leaders have said nothing about your platforms to repudiate white supremacy.”

When nine black people present The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was massacred by a white supremacist, you didn’t say anything. When Ahmaud Arbery was lynched while jogging by three white vigilantes, you said nothing. When Breonna Taylor was killed by police in a failed raid on her apartment, you said nothing. When George Floyd had his breath of life snuffed out by a police officer for the whole world to see, you said nothing. So far most of you haven’t said anything about the 10 Black people who were massacred in Buffalo. Your silence speaks louder than your words!

Joel A. Bowman Sr. is a Detroit native and is the founder and senior pastor of Temple of Faith Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky. He also maintains a practice as a licensed clinical social worker with nearly 30 years of experience in the field of Mental Health. His commentaries and poems have been printed in numerous publications. Joel and his wife, Nannette, have three children, Kayla, Katie and Joel Jr. Follow him on Twitter @JoelABowmanSr.

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