This concept of “Christian Supremacy” came to me this morning as I was contemplating (with agitation) several of the latest Supreme Court decisions that seem, on the surface, to be “victories for religious liberty,” as some joyfully claim.
Christian Supremacy, like White Supremacy or any other kind of superiority, has fooled a great many people, even some brilliant people, even judges on the High Court. Decisions are made that sound like they are protecting “rights and liberty” when in actuality they are poking holes in the wall of separation that is supposed to protect all of us from Religious Privilege. It’s not about rights, but privilege, giving religion a pass, making religious beliefs “exceptional” rather than equal.
Consider the recent news that billions of dollars in small business “loans” have gone to churches. Tax money going to ministries, saving souls and clergy salaries. Unheard of. In itself, this is outrageous, but remember: churches are not taxed like the rest of us. So, bottom line: You and I are paying the salaries of megachurch preachers, funding evangelical ministries, and these folks never have to pay the “loans” back!
Question: What do we do when Congress is primarily ruled by self-identified Christians, the White House is controlled by extreme Right Christians, the majority of the Supreme Court is “under the influence” of conservative Christianity and most of these branches of government don’t understand what I’m talking about? They don’t seem to get the fact that giving One Religion special treatment (tax breaks, free loans, funding for sectarian schools, a reserved place at the tables of power, etc) is a violation of the First Amendment that warned us away from “establishment” of Religion, or any religion.
Question: Are “religious rights” superior to human rights?
Peak behind the curtain of the major issues that divide us … Race, Sexuality (Women’s health, Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage, Trans-rights, etc), Individual Freedoms and more, and what do we find? Consistently, we find religious beliefs driving the “debate,” the wedge that divides. Just as in the days of slavery (and the world is still poisoned by it), powerful elements of Religion lie behind much of the support, the force, the foundation behind and beneath the arguments. If these were only arguments, I suppose we could handle that. But these divisive belief systems are being set in stone, legislated into the law of the land.
Enough for now.
I’m simply observing–and ringing the alarm– that what we are really facing right now in America is Christian Supremacy in many forms. As dangerous, if not more dangerous, than White Supremacy.
And, by the way, if I have to say it, I know that huge numbers of Christians are unhappy about this situation too.
I recommend the work of Americans United as well as the new book by Katherine Stewart, The Power Worshippers, and Andrew Seidel’s The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American.
What are your thoughts? Are you alarmed?
I actually agree with you, Chris! Yes, I am still a practicing Christian, but as you know, I am quite liberal and certainly do not condone most of what is happening in the name of Christ. The White conservative evangelical churches have captured the Christian narrative.. The progressive, left wing churches are trying to sway the conversation back to defining Jesus as more compassionate and inclusive, but their voice rarely is heard over the noise of the right. I will continue to fight for justice in all it’s forms (racial, gender, reproduction, immigration, etc) in the name of Jesus.
Hey, Rob, I got you on that. Married to a liberal, progressive Christian minister (and having been one for those many years) I’m well aware there are many who follow a different Jesus (as I say in the post). In my view the churches on the “Left” could do a whole lot more to balance the narrative. If the moment we live in doesn’t bring that voice out to ring like a bell, I’ll be more convinced of the irrelevance of the Church in general. Be well my friend.
your outrage over the support of religious organizations using government taxpayer funds is absolutely correct. Major religions such as catholic, evangelical, etc., etc., have all been used for political and financial greed of many types for eons. Where is the real separation between politics and religion? Power (no matter it’s source) corrupts.
Well, I’m agitated but don’t use the word outraged much. Yet, this give-away is indeed outrageous. We can’t forget there are large numbers of religious folks who find this agitating too. We just need more to speak out and challenge the loss of a wall of separation.