You cannot claim to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and endorse white supremacy — either explicitly or implicitly. Period. There is no room for justifications or caveats. None at all.
This is not about whether you identify as a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent. It is about whether you actually believe the red letters of the Gospels, where Jesus gave us the law of love and taught us that God loves all people equally. No favoritism. No caste system. No pecking order. No legacy admission status.
You cannot claim — as pastor John MacArthur and friends have done — that the worship of God is more important than love of neighbor. Jesus hooked the two things together in a knot that cannot be untied: The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
You cannot claim — as Donald Trump has done — that there are “very fine people on both sides.” No, there are not. “Very fine” people don’t consider themselves superior to others because of their skin color, and “very fine” people don’t want to cause physical harm to people who aren’t like them.
You cannot claim — as Southerners aplenty continue to do — that you are honoring a cultural or historical legacy when that legacy hung innocent Black men from trees and blew up innocent Black girls attending Sunday school. As someone else has aptly said: If someone kidnapped your child, tortured them and murdered them, where would you like the monument to that person to be erected?
Listen to the stories. America continues to incarcerate Black men at a rate highly disproportionate to the rest of the population. Black citizens are stopped, charged and murdered by police officers in numbers disproportionate to the rest of the population. The statistics do not lie.
You cannot claim — as some police officers and way too many politicians do — that this situation is overblown. Look at the numbers. Listen to the stories. America continues to incarcerate Black men at a rate highly disproportionate to the rest of the population. Black citizens are stopped, charged and murdered by police officers in numbers disproportionate to the rest of the population. The statistics do not lie. They are not fake news.
As our nation continues to reel from the necessary racial justice reckoning now in the public spotlight, white Christians have not been moved in their opinions or their sense of justice. This fact is astounding. What, in God’s name, are people learning at church?
In this context, and within less than a week of yet another injustice being carried out in the wrongful death of a Black woman in Louisville, Ky., the president of the United States once again refused to condemn white supremacists. In the Sept. 29 presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace — who works for the not-liberal Fox News — asked Trump if he would condemn white supremacists and tell them to stand down during the ongoing demonstrations across the country.
Trump repeatedly declined to do so. Instead, he advised one of the notorious groups, the Proud Boys, to “stand back and stand by.” In case you think we’ve misunderstood his meaning, understand this: That not-so-thinly coded language was quickly picked up by the Proud Boys on social media as an affirmation by the president.
And the president told a bald-faced lie by saying violence at these protests has not been caused by conservatives. “This is not a right-wing problem,” the president said.
If you believe Trump is the best candidate for president, you have the right to vote for him. And you may have reasons to do so. But as I’ve written previously, if you are a Trump supporter, you have a special opportunity — indeed, a special duty — to call him out for his racism. Otherwise on an issue of this urgency, you are complicit with his virulent white supremacist views and the racism of those around him.
The Jesus of the Gospels allows no room for being a racist or enabling racism. White supremacy and racism are wholly incompatible with a Jesus way of life. Or as Jesus said about another matter, “You cannot serve two masters.”
Mark Wingfield serves as executive director and publisher of Baptist News Global.