Rusell Moore, the President of the policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, has called on Christians to openly condemn all elements of white nationalist thinking.
This comes after a self-described white supremacist shot dead 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. In the wake of the carnage, Moore pointed out that Americans have “a responsibility to ask what is the ideology behind all of this,” and to identify any racist or discriminatory attitudes within themselves.
The Atlantic’s Mike Giglio called the El Paso shooter’s 2300-word manifesto a “racist and anti-immigrant diatribe” which expressed “the fear that white Americans are being replaced by foreigners.” It was clear that this sick individual’s motives were, as Moore put it, “from the satanic order.”
Indeed, white supremacist thinking finds its very roots in the demonic.
“White nationalism is not just another ideology, in a world filled with competing opinions. White nationalism is a manifestation of an ancient evil that we as Christians, of all people, ought to recognize immediately,” Moore explained on his website. “White nationalism emerges from what the Bible calls “the way of the flesh.” This is a form of idolatry that exalts one’s own creaturely attributes, making a god out of, for instance, one’s ancestral origins or one’s tribal culture.”
Moore, who does not pull any punches when weighing in on the most pressing and controversial issues of the day, declared that there was “no gospel apart from the exposure of sin,” and implored those who harbor even the slightest of racial biases to engage immediately in a season of repentance.
“To confront such sin is no distraction from the gospel,” he advised. “To the contrary, to not confront it, silently allowing it to sit in the psyches and consciences of the people, is not just a distraction from the gospel but a contradiction of it.”
Concluding his piece with a powerful invitation, Moore urged Christians to “work together to stop such atrocities from happening in the future.”
“Let’s also, as Christians, be very clear about what this ideology is,” he added. “White nationalism is on the rise, and is headed for a confrontation with the gospel of a crucified Rabbi from Galilee.”
Indeed, when the two eventually collide, “the gospel will win,” he declared.
In his statement following the two mass shootings that have gripped America’s media in recent days, President Trump also denounced white supremacy and racist ideology.
“In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” the President said at the White House Monday, according to the New York Times. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated.”
Is there any evidence of “Christian” white supremacy?
In a historical sense, absolutely. The early Klu Klux Klan held firm to what can only be described as a “Protestant Christian terrorist ideology” — a pseudo-theology that saw other religions and races as inferior, but looked to Jesus, who they believed to be Aryan white, as the “first Klansman.”
Though extremely niche and mostly only peddled among little-known fringe groups, fragments of this type of warped theology can still be found being spewed out by some of the remnant KKK cells still active in the United States today.
Indeed, after a KKK group threatened to kill those participating in the Ferguson riots of 2014, the racist organization was once again thrust into the mainstream media spotlight. As such, many flocked to their websites to try and understand how these nasty factions were still functioning, and in order to understand just what their beliefs were.
The twisted theological undertones contained within their manifestos and mission statements shocked and sickened Christians across the United States.
Founded by David Duke in the 1970’s, the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan declared on its website that their burning of the cross, commonly depicted at Klan gatherings, “is no different than the average church that has a lighted cross either on top or in front of their church building.”
“The light of the cross symbolizes the Light of Christ dispelling darkness and ignorance. It is the fire of the cross that reminds us of the cleansing “fire” of Christ that cleanses evil from our land,” they say. The “evil from our land” to them, of course, is anyone who is non-white.
However, far from being in any way spiritual, author Rian Dundon noted that the KKK’s burning of crosses was done simply to scare people. “Cross burning has become nearly synonymous with the KKK—its primary purpose being that of intimidation,” he wrote at Timeline. “But incorporating religious iconography can add a bit of mystery to menace.”
With these ghastly sentiments in mind, it is important to completely disavow every part of this racist thinking and ultimately sever it from the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why? Because “bad theology is dangerous,” notes activist Shane Claiborne at RNS, because “bad theology gets people killed.”