Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Conservative white men are allowed to call America sinful. Black preachers...not so much.


At about the same time that Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson was talking publicly about obstructing justice, he sent out a fundraising email.


It's fine with me if an individual thinks that America needs more God. But Johnson is attempting to raise money for Republicans as Speaker of the House - not for a church or ministry. In that context, WTH does me mean when he talks about "returning America to God's good graces?"

Beyond that question, I'd like to highlight a few lines from this email.
I fear that America may be beyond redemption...

I fear God may allow our nation to enter into a time of judgement for our collective sins...

America needs to recognize that we have much to repent for if we want to avoid the judgement we so clearly deserve...

That's pretty standard fare for Christian nationalists (aka, MAGA Republicans) these days. And as Tim Miller noted, it's also pretty standard fare for Johnson, who said this not too long ago:

We are at a civilizational moment. The only question is: Is God going to allow our nation to enter a time of judgment for our collective sins which his mercy and grace have held back for some time or is he gonna give us one more chance to restore the foundation, to return to Him?

In an absolutely brilliant move, Miller compared that sentiment to something Rev. Jeremiah Wright said that came close to toppling Barack Obama's candidacy in 2008.

The government gives [citizens of African descent] the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing “God Bless America.” No, no, no. Not “God Bless America”; God Damn America! That’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating her citizens as less than human. 

What's striking is that both men believe that America is sinful and deserves God's judgment. In the end, both men also believe that through God, we can be redeemed. Here's what Wright went on to say:

But I’m fixing to help you one last time. Let me tell you something. Where governments fail, God never fails. When God says it, it’s done. God never fails. 
I'm old enough to remember that the entire county practically lost it's mind when they heard about Rev. Wright's sermon. Things got so bad that Obama had to give an entire speech reminding us that the story of America is all about "perfecting our union."

And yet, other than not using a four letter word, we hear the same sentiment from folks like Johnson on a daily basis.  It's almost as if conservative white men are allowed to say that America is sinful and call forth God's judgement. But Black preachers aren't. Imagine that!
 

2 comments:

  1. On the positive side it rates as one of his finest orations. History will be much more open to Obama than a Beltway media that cannot stand that Obama is the smartest man in the room

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  2. For me, it's not that Black preachers aren't allowed to say that the country is sinful; they are. The real issue is how racism is either challenged or upheld through religious channels. In Jeremiah Wright's case, he is calling America sinful because of systematic racism (prisons, drugs, three strike laws, etc.). Therefore, the blowback from conservatives is predictable because in their minds Rev. Wright crossed the line and actually called out the country's racial hierarchy (the biggest sin of all). It is exactly this mindset that Obama was partially trying to address in his speech on Rev. Wright.

    On the other hand, Mike Johnson, like all Christian Dominionists, sees anything that doesn't conform to their interpretation of the Bible as being sinful (LGBT, secularism, etc.). This worry over non-conformity comes from the fact that Straight, White, "Christian" men are becoming a minority and they are losing their power, which as previously mentioned, is really the biggest "sin" of all.

    After all, what the entire MAGA movement and their acolytes (especially White evangelicals) are about is holding on to the traditional power/racial hierarchy by any means possible. That's what Mike Johnson is dog-whistling in his fundraising message: our power is slipping from our fingers and we need to use any means possible to stop that from happening.

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