How does Christian love lead to white supremacy? I ask this question because of a recent headline in Time, titled It’s Time to Stop Giving Christianity a Pass on White Supremacy and Violence. Since I’m Christian, I had to ask one very simple question. What does Christianity have to do with white supremacy? I know it’s not a new thought. But is it a valid thought?
I know the idea of an alleged link between Christianity and white supremacy has been around for a long time. But unless it’s been around since the time of Jesus, how can it even be valid? It’s hard to fathom Christian love, as in what Jesus taught, turning into white supremacy. That’s where my title came from.
What is the link from Point A, what Jesus taught – that gets us to Point B, white supremacy?
There is no valid link from Christianity to white supremacy
I’ll even answer the question right up front. There’s no valid link. There’s nothing, I repeat nothing, in what Jesus taught that gives a valid link from Christian love to white supremacy. In fact, there’s no link to any kind of supremacy, except the supremacy of God.
Let’s consider the image, with the three links. The gold link represents the link between us and God. The link that Jesus taught, suffered, and died for, to save us. Sure, people can add other links, and say they’re from Christianity, God, or whoever else they care to mention.
However, that doesn’t make them valid links. They are neither from God nor lead to God. Jesus warned us about things like this two thousand years ago.
One example is when things are added from within the church itself.
The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees
Mt 16:5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Mt 16:7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”
Mt 16:8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Yes, some in the church will add things that aren’t in Scripture, not from God’s word, in order to suit their own purposes.
The other example can be from inside or outside the church.
A Tree and Its Fruit
Mt 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Again, things are brought in that are just flat out not true. That aren’t from God.
And this passage has four of the scariest words in the Bible. They are what Jesus says to these people. I never knew you.
This leads to another question I have. Is the church, those who truly follow Jesus, vocal enough when things like this happen? Do we tell everyone, including those who try to justify white supremacy in Jesus’ name, that their words are false? That their words are wrong? And that Jesus doesn’t know them?
Claimed links from Christianity to white supremacy
Here are a couple paragraphs from the Time article.
The shooting has spurred a national discussion about the mainstreaming of these concerns, often summarized under the term “replacement theory.” Most of the attention has been given to the demographic component of this theory, while the cultural aspects have been overlooked.
But the fear of cultural replacement has an unambiguous lineage that gives it specific content. At the center of the “great replacement” logic, there is—and has always been—a desperate desire to preserve some version of western European Christendom. Far too many contemporary analysts, and even the Department of Justice, have not seen clearly that the prize being protected is not just the racial composition of the country but the dominance of a racial and religious identity. If we fail to grasp the power of this ethno-religious appeal, we will misconstrue the nature of, and underestimate the power of, the threat before us.
They take it back further, to the early 1900’s in the U.S.
In the U.S., this drive to preserve white Christian dominance undergirded the worldview of the Ku Klux Klan when it reemerged in the early part of the 20th century. We rightly remember the terrorism aimed at Black Americans, but the KKK was also explicitly anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic; it existed to protect the dominance of a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant America.
And, of course, they bring it forward to Trump.
Trump’s “Make American Great Again” formula—the stoking of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-Black sentiment while making nativist appeals to the Christian right—contains all the tropes of the old replacement theory. The nostalgic appeal of “again” harkens back to a 1950s America, when white Christian churches were full and white Christians comprised a supermajority of the U.S. population; a period when we added “under God” to the pledge of allegiance and “In God We Trust” to our currency.
God is Love. And anything that’s not love isn’t from God
Things aren’t always what they may seem. Yes, it’s not uncommon for white supremacists to tie themselves to Christianity. But let’s be real. There’s nothing in Christian love for these folks to tie themselves to within what Jesus taught.
Heck – just think about what you read above. Now, realize that Jesus was a middle eastern Jew! Jesus, the namesake of Christianity, would have been a target of white supremacists if they had existed two thousand years ago! I often wonder, do any of these white supremacists realize how messed up they are by looking to an organization begun by a middle eastern Jew to support their hatred of anything and anyone who isn’t white?
Although, as I type this, maybe they aren’t all that messed up? After all, lies don’t matter anymore. Truth doesn’t exist anymore. You can say whatever you want, and half the people are going to believe it. And yes, I do mean half. This country is so divided by hatred that it’s pretty much automatic that any issue is going to be politicized. And whoever comes out against it first, they get the half that follows their party. Therefore, the other part must support whatever that issue is, and the other half of the people will follow them.
It doesn’t even matter whether issues collide within the party! How else can the party of life be so intent on making sure people live in poverty and are shot with military-grade weapons? And how else can the party that seems to want to care for the poor and underprivileged be so intent on being pro-abortion? There’s just no rhyme or reason anymore.
Which shouldn’t surprise us.
Jesus and Beelzebub – Matthew
12:25-29 pp — Mk 3:23-27; Lk 11:17-22
Mt 12:22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”
Mt 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”
Mt 12:25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Mt 12:29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.
Mt 12:30 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Mt 12:33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Yes. Satan is the prince of the earth right now. And he’s got us divided. But a house divided cannot stand.
The question then becomes, how many of these so-called, self-proclaimed “christian” white supremacists and their so-called, self-proclaimed “christian” supporters will be on the wrong side when the house does fall? Uh, how about, all of them? Every single one of them will be on the wrong side.
Final thoughts – How does Christian love lead to white supremacy?
As I said, Christian love cannot lead to white supremacy. Only a corruption of Christian love can lead to any kind of hatred. Christian love is essential.
That’s why this next part of the article is so very troubling.
There is a troubling religious double standard in the U.S.—one which threatens our safety and our democracy. If these same kinds of appeals and violent actions were being made and committed by Muslims, for example, most white Americans would be demanding actions to eradicate a domestic threat from “radical Islamic terrorism,” a term we heard relentlessly during the Trump era. But because Christianity is the dominant religion in this country, its role in supporting domestic terrorism has been literally unspeakable.
The clear historical record, and contemporary attitudinal data, merit an urgent discussion of white Christian nationalism as a serious and growing threat to our democracy. if we are to understand the danger in which we find ourselves today, we will have to be able to use the words white Christian nationalism and domestic terrorism in the same sentence.
You see, that’s just not true. Those who truly follow Jesus’ teachings, the real Christians, are not a threat to our country. However, there are problems.
- One problem is the people who claim to be Christian, but are actually white supremacists who don’t know and/or don’t care what Christianity is about.
- The second problem is those people who may or may not have been Christian at some point, but who have given up following Jesus, who have traded in Christian love for white supremacist hatred.
- The third problem is the apparent silence from too many of us who really do try to follow Jesus’ teachings when someone tries to essentially hijack Christianity for their own ends. In this case, it’s too much silence when white supremacists try to operate in the name of Jesus, when the truth is Jesus never told anyone to do anything like this.
- And all that leads to the fourth problem. Christianity has, undeservedly, gotten such a bad name because of the previous items, that too many people don’t know what Christianity is really about anymore. And I include both Christians and non-Christians in that group.
The excerpt above compared Islam and Christianity, and claimed a double standard. Yes, Islam absolutely is involved in government. It is, after all, a theocracy. Look at various Muslim countries in the middle east and you see Islam as both a religion and a governmental system with its own religious laws.
Christianity, when practiced as Jesus taught and provided examples for us with His own life, is nothing of the kind. Do Christians remember when the following took place? I included the entire passage for context, but the relevant portion for this discussion is underlined.
Jesus Before Pilate
18:29-40 pp — Mt 27:11-18, 20-23; Mk 15:2-15; Lk 23:2, 3, 18-25
Jn 18:28 Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”
Jn 18:30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”
Jn 18:31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” the Jews objected. 32 This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled.
Jn 18:33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jn 18:34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
Jn 18:35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
Jn 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
Jn 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
Jn 18:38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”
Jn 18:40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion.
Yes, Jesus is also a King to Christians, as well as our Savior. And yet, look what Jesus Himself said about God’s Kingdom.
My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.
You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.
Jesus also told us something about government and Christianity in another event.
Paying Taxes to Caesar
22:15-22 pp — Mk 12:13-17; Lk 20:20-26
Mt 22:15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
Mt 22:18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”
Mt 22:21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Mt 22:22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
This was a statement on the separation of church and state, long before the U.S. even existed.
And then there’s this, on people who don’t want anything to do with Christianity. This passage is quite long, so I’ve extracted the portions that apply to this topic. But feel free to use the links and read the entire passage.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
10:2-4 pp — Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Ac 1:13
10:9-15 pp — Mk 6:8-11; Lk 9:3-5; 10:4-12
10:19-22 pp — Mk 13:11-13; Lk 21:12-17
10:26-33 pp — Lk 12:2-9
10:34, 35 pp — Lk 12:51-53
Mt 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.
Mt 10:11 “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
There’s no violence in there, no matter what the reason is for not wanting to hear the Christian message. If people don’t want to hear it, we are to walk away. Judgement is to be determined by God, not by us.
Therefore, I want to put forth a logical argument as to why supremacy isn’t Christian. If, I repeat if, white supremacy is part of Christianity, then no violence can be carried out in God’s name because Jesus told His followers to just walk away. So, white supremacy and violence cannot be Christian. And let’s face it, white supremacy does involve violence and hatred. Both of these are against the basic teachings of Christianity.
Mt 10:24 “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!
We, as Christians, followers of Jesus, do not have the right to change anything Jesus said, taught, or provided as examples to us by His won life. Jesus was the teacher when He walked the earth. Jesus was, is, and always will be the master. Therefore, we cannot override or change anything that came from Him.
Furthermore, anyone who does try, including white supremacists, is from the devil.
And let’s look at one final passage. One that pretty much everyone should have at least heard about. And one that, even in the absence of the other previous passages, rules out white supremacy as being Christian.
Conclusion – How does Christian love lead to white supremacy?
Love for Enemies – Matthew
Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Can you even imagine a white supremacist loving someone who isn’t, well, white? You just can’t be a white supremacist and a Christian. Do you know why? Jesus even spoke to things like that.
Treasures in Heaven
6:22, 23 pp — Lk 11:34-36
Mt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Mt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Mt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Whoever tries to serve two masters will fail at one of them. No white supremacist can follow Jesus. It just cannot happen. We cannot serve God and hate people any more than we can serve God and money. And, as mentioned above, if we don’t serve God then we do serve the devil.
Do I blame people like the author of the Time article?
After all is said and done, you might wonder, do I blame people such as the author of the article in Time? No. It may not be his fault. I don’t know him. Nor do I know anything about him. I also don’t know if he has an “agenda” or not. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter.
He’s not alone in his thinking. And so, there must be a reason why people think the way he does. Why people think Christianity supports white supremacy. And the best reason I see for this is that we, Christians, don’t appear to be renouncing white supremacy. We don’t speak out when others, including some who claim to be Christian, use God’s name to do evil things.
So no, there’s no blame placed on the author from here. I just want to do my part to get the truth out. White supremacists are not true Christians. We can call ourselves whatever we want. But in Jesus’ church, white supremacy is not part of our beliefs.
People who claim to be Christian, but are in fact something else, such as white supremacists, are the ones who will hear the words at the end of the following passage when their life on this earth is over.
Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”`
So, which “God” do you follow?
The god of white supremacy?
Or the God of the Bible?
You must choose. And failure to choose is not an option. And, you cannot claim to follow both.
Choose wisely, because your very soul depends on it.
Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay