A group of Christian theologians and activists recently created a statement entitled: “Theological Declaration on Christian Faith and White Supremacy,” regarding the incompatibility of Christianity and white supremacy. The authors particularly note the basis of white supremacy in its “Christian” form on colonization of the land and the harmful theological premises that go along with the assumptions of an imperialist culture. Ched Myers, Randy Woodley, and others who are part of the watershed discipleship network helped form the original statement, and others have since signed on. They are thinking of this statement as analogous to the Barmen Declaration in 1934, when the German Evangelical Church spoke out against anti-Semitism. I’m inspired by this document, and grateful to hear a message spoken to combat white supremacy in a way that reflects the love of Christ. Here is an excerpt from the declaration:
As a diverse group of theologians, activists and ministers of our respective parishes, congregations, networks, churches, faith communities and educational institutions, we here declare that we are bound together by the confession that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Church.
We publicly declare that what we hold in common in this confession is threatened by the festering infection of Eurocentric white nationalism and white supremacy. Fueled by flawed interpretations of Old Testament purity laws and conquest, churches and denominations in the United States have been deeply shaped by and at times created to sustain European purity and colonization of land, people, and culture. The colonizing spirit declares the self to be uniquely fully human—to have the exclusive right to rule the world. It’s strategy is the creation of racial and gender-based human hierarchy—forsaking God for the idols of domination and control. Eurocentric Christian churches have often been the prime creators, carriers, sustainers and protectors of this malevolent force, which manifests overtly in acts of racial and gender-based violence and covertly in systems, structures, principalities and powers, both beyond and within the walls of the Church.