We are pleased to share an excerpt from Dr. Miguel De La Torre’s recent book, Burying White Privilege: Resurrecting a Badass Christianity (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2018). Dr. De La Torre will be the keynote speaker at ECM’s Annual Celebration on June 11, 2019.
“My colleague Vincent Harding would often say, ‘I am a citizen of a country that does not yet exist.’ I would add that the country that he envisioned is a just and compassionate country thwarted from becoming reality by a pervasive Christian nationalism that needs the final nail hammered into its coffin before we could ever hope for the resurrection of Christianity. To dream with Vincent Harding of being citizens of a country that we must bring forth is to give meaning to the abeyant and unfulfilled rhetoric concerning ‘liberty and justice for all.’ Our noble 225-year experiment with democracy--stunted by genocidal racism--has the potential of being the balm to a hurting world. Blocking our path to a country based on liberty and justice are the continued attempts of Euro-American Christians to reconcile the message of the prince of peace with a nation whose global and domestic policies have historically been more aligned with the prince of death, who revels in wars and bloodletting.
Rather than being, as Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us, ‘the greatest purveyor of violence in the world,’ this nation has the ability to replace the bullets sold globally with the ballots denied domestically and abroad. We can never be the country we dream of being as long as we continue to worship a militarism that provides more death-causing weapons to the world than any other nation, while supporting an armed force greater than the military might of the next fourteen largest nations combined. We can never be the country we dream of being as long as we continue legalizing and legitimizing voter suppression, dismissing the voices of those whom this country has historically attempted to silence through electoral colleges, gerrymandering, and roll-scrubbing, and demanding photo identification cards while at the same time closing the Department of Motor Vehicles offices in minority neighborhoods.
Let us dream of a new nation by awakening from the nightmare of the nation in which we currently live--a nation that Euro-American Christianity christened as supposedly holy and pleasing to the Lord. Questioning the goodness of the United States can be deplorable and unpatriotic. But whenever patriotism replaces justice, we are in mortal danger of idolatry. If we believe the United States can be a force for good in the world, then the ultimate act of patriotism is to confront and challenge the country’s current grievous race-based sins by demanding it lives up to the rhetoric it avows. True patriotism is proved by the tangible, transformative actions its citizens take to bring forth a justice-based social order. This yet-to-exist country upon which we place our hopes of one day being citizens will never come into being as long as it continues to embrace white Christianity with all of its racist, sexist, and imperialist manifestations. The demise of such a Christianity must be hastened, because no other global worldview has caused more death and destruction. Think of the religious wars, the crusades, and the genocides. The body count at the hands of so-called Christian conquerors outnumbers the grains of sand or the stars in the heavens. So let’s permit the God of this white Christianity to bury itself.”
--Dr. Miguel De La Torre, Burying White Privilege: Resurrecting a Badass Christianity, p. 115-117