Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The Frightening Revival of White Supremacist Rhetoric

I grew up among white supremacists, homophobes, misogynists, anti-Semites, and xenophobes (I had an uncle by marriage who was truly a despicable bigot in almost every regard). I was surrounded by violent rhetoric, fear, anger, hatred of the other, and all strangely wrapped in the language of Christianity...but it wasn't a Christianity that promoted peace, goodwill, tolerance, love of neighbor, welcome of the stranger, or a celebration of human potential. Jesus wasn't presented as a model of integrity, as a symbol of healing, or as an example of living in communion with infinite Goodness, but rather was a "savior" who was the key to the cosmic country club for some and the great avenger who was going to kick ass and take names at the end of time (and those who were going to face peril far outnumbered those who were going to find heavenly rewards)...and the worst part of this scenario was the agitated and perverse glee that many expressed while yelling their threats of damnation while being oh so certain that they were exempt from it. It was not religion at its best, in fact, it left wounds that took decades to heal from; it inspired my life's work of offering an alternative narrative, an option of being "Saved From Salvation" (note my book of the same name).

I mention this, because the same demographic of people who used Jesus as a gate-keeper and the bible as a weapon and who embraced racism, heterosexism, and misogyny at least as passionately as they embraced their version of religion (though, their prejudices were often affirmed as central tenets of their faith) are the ones (that I see) who are now rallying with horrifying boldness around the anti-immigrant, anti-Brown, anti-Muslim rhetoric being touted in recent days.
Franklin Graham, Donald Trump, and Anthony Scalia have embraced without apology or timidity the language of white supremacy, and are gaining political ground by doing so.
It is devastating to realize that over 60 years of civil rights work and advances are being undermined so openly, so energetically, and with the support of so many Americans. Of course, I dare not give up hope that "the better angels of our nature" will prevail, but in many ways they seem to be bringing up the rear right now.

Those of us who value diversity, the rule of law, opportunity, and equality must speak out, and we absolutely must vote in every single election.

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