White Evangelicals! What Is Your Pastor Preaching About on Sunday?

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I don’t want us to miss what happened recently. My friend Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners has, for months, called on our white brothers and sisters of faith to be bold and denounce all the isms of the Trump presidency. In this op-ed from July 18 he calls it a “an urgent moral and theological test.”

It was one of the reasons why last Sunday I told my wife we needed to go to a white church to see what the message was to white evangelicals.

It wasn’t about racism. Or sexism. Or homophobia. Or xenophobia. Or poverty. Or militarism. It was pretty bland.

But this week alone faith leaders have increased their call to renounce the racism of Trump. On Monday, faith leaders in Baltimore published a letter to Trump after a week of attacks on their community. And it is a truly ecumenical group: Episcopal. Lutheran. United Methodist. Catholic. United Church of Christ. Disciples of Christ. Presbyterian.

They end it by saying:

Mr. President, as religious leaders we implore you: in the name of all that is good, healthy and decent, stop putting people down. Enough of the harmful rhetoric that angers and discourages the people and communities you are called to serve — more than you know.


Then on Tuesday, the leaders of the Washington National Cathedral, issued a statement entitled, “Have We No Decency? A Response to President Trump.” This is the place where there have been presidential prayer services, memorials and state funerals.

In very strong language, they write:

As leaders of faith who believe in the sacredness of every single human being, the time for silence is over. We must boldly stand witness against the bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and xenophobia that is hurled at us, especially when it comes from the highest offices of this nation. We must say that this will not be tolerated. To stay silent in the face of such rhetoric is for us to tacitly condone the violence of these words. We are compelled to take every opportunity to oppose the indecency and dehumanization that is racism, whether it comes to us through words or actions.

So I wonder- what are my white brothers and sisters who are clergy preaching about on Sunday? Are they hiding from what is happening every day and going to some safe Biblical story? Or will they use, what the late United Methodist Bishop Felton May calls “Holy Boldness,” and call out this president and encourage their congregants to act like followers of Christ?

I hope some of my black and brown family will go to a white church on Sunday, and for my white family to go to their regular church. Let me know what the sermon and scripture was. And let’s see if Gandhi’s quote still rings true:

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

The Prez

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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