Perhaps we have been blinded by the illusion of progress and an assumption that democracy will always prevail. Perhaps we have convinced ourselves that people are generally coming around to accepting differences and it will be enough to tip the scales on the side of justice and equality.
What we continue to ignore is that systems of injustice do not care if a majority of the population disagrees – those systems have always been disproportionately controlled by a relatively small, but enormously wealthy and influential elite. Even when we make gains, we are only one election cycle from having them reversed.
The weaponization of religion has proven time and time again to be resistant to arguments based on reason. I have come to this conclusion:
Unless we collectively acknowledge faith is not fact and enshrine the scientific method in our practice of government, I do not believe we can ever achieve lasting justice and equality for anyone other than white Christian nationalists.
It may seem impossible, and I won’t argue that the outcome is uncertain. But I do have faith and I believe there is a path.
It is a path well worn by those who marched and sacrificed for the Black Freedom Movement. It is a path that wound its way through black churches and supportive white churches. It is a path that continued on despite the deadly bombings of those churches and the assassination of its leaders.
The path to ending the weaponization of religion and dismantling systems of injustice will reach an impasse if we do not have the support of those churches today. White supremacists have been emboldened by conservative churches and a GOP that now embraces Christian nationalism. We can expect more violence.
It is difficult to hold onto a dream. As Dr. King shared in a 1967 interview, in some ways his “dream had turned into a nightmare,” and “some of the old optimism was a little superficial, and now it must be tempered with a solid realism.”
That’s where we are today. Our kids’ lives depend on every inclusive church using the power of their platform to counter Christian nationalism. There’s only one way out of this nightmare, and it’s to keep marching down that path, but with a solid realism.
We have the knowledge, do we have the will?
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