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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Medgar Evers and “Christian America”

I did an earlier post about my fresh concerns with the whole concept of “Christian America”, we approach the 50th anniversary of his assassination on June 12.  I really do wonder if white Christians who speak so passionately and certainly about how America’s Christian character is being threatened by culture war events of the last thirty years really have any conception of how deeply violent and profoundly anti-Christian America’s racial history was in the hundreds of years prior to the cultural upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. Evers’ assassination is particularly powerful reminder of that history because it happened so very recently and was such a poignant example of that terrorist mindset that so captivated vast sectors of White Christian America for decades, even centuries.
particularly as understood by my fellow Christians who are deeply convinced that America has been forced from its Christian roots over the last forty years. While my last post focused on how America’s nuclear program, and its particularly idolatrous name “Trinity”, should give pause to Christians convinced that America’s fall from Christianity is a recent phenomena; now I want to ask how the assassination of Medgar Evers in 1963 fits with the conception of a supposed Christian America. It is an appropriate time to consider this as

The realities of White Christian America’s racial violence is spelled out powerfully in Amy Louise Wood’s Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940. Particularly relevant is Wood’s chapter “A Hell of Fire on Earth: Religion” where she spells out in vivid detail the ways that Christians “defended…lynching…in spiritual terms” but also “infused the performance” of racial violence “with Christian tropes and rituals.” (page 47) This was Christian America at work in the decades before the sexual revolution and Roe v. Wade and Barack Obama. Simplistic appeals to the virtues of that era should not go unchallenged and the historical amnesia that such appeals rely on should not be listened to.

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