MSNBC commentator Joy Reid suggested this week American Christians — particularly those who are white and male — are willing to enact apartheid to “maintain power forever.”
Reid made her broad-brush comments while delivering a speech Tuesday night before a group of educators with the American Federation of Teachers union, according to The Washington Examiner.
“No country is an eternal democracy,” she said. “Democracy is extremely fragile, and multicultural democracy is so fragile, we’re practically the only one that’s pulled it off. This is a very difficult thing to maintain.”
The progressive host continued, “And when you have a very determined minority, in this case wealthy, white men and wealthy, white Christian men, and Christian Americans who are of the fundamentalist variety, who are very clear that no matter what happens, if they have to pull the South Africa model to maintain power forever, they will do it.”
Reid went on to claim “Christian Americans” are “not afraid” of enacting apartheid, arguing President Donald Trump is “merely the avatar” for a demographic of voters “increasingly open” to the idea of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination.
Regardless of the MSNBC commentator’s personal politics, or even her faith, it’s hard to find a scenario in which her rhetoric is in any way helpful.
By suggesting, like she did Tuesday, that all Christians “of the fundamentalist variety” in the U.S. will go to any length, including the egregious sin of apartheid, in order to “maintain power forever,” Reid is dismissing the valiant efforts of long-forgotten abolitionists and suffragists, many — if not most — of whom were inspired by their faith.
She is also dismissing the efforts of Bible-believing Christians, some white and some not, who today use their platforms to share the Gospel, setting aside any modicum of politicization, uninterested in using the faith, like many have over the years, as a cudgel for personal political gain, as well as those who have used their clout to call out the current administration when its actions and rhetoric don’t align with Scripture.
By suggesting all “Christian Americans” with whom she disagrees are fixed only on gaining total control of the country, Reid is shutting the door to bridge-building and compromise-seeking. She is walking away from the common ground found in our shared human experience in exchange for political point-scoring.
Demonizing “Christian Americans” as those solely responsible for the ills of our society is misguided and harmful. Reid’s anger is misplaced. Christianity isn’t to blame for our societal brokenness — sin is.
Yes, there have been plenty of Christians over the years who have used the faith, even the Bible, to justify their sins. And Christians will do it in the future, too, because Christians sin. So do atheists and agnostics and conservatives and liberals.
Our world is imperfect. We elect imperfect leaders who are embraced and abandoned my imperfect people.
The solution isn’t to vanquish Christian Americans or white men from society. Instead, we need to vanquish sin, accept with humility our own errors, acknowledge and seek reconciliation when another’s sin has hurt us and turn our eyes toward the Gospel — not some political revolution.
All of that starts by putting down the broad brush, listening, and then, with greater clarity and better understanding, picking up a fine paintbrush and getting to work.