(Originally published elsewhere on November 12th, 2016)
TO MY WHITE EVANGELICAL FRIENDS IN THE US
To my white evangelical friends–especially those who have so lovingly raised me.
Please hear me out.
What are you doing?
I think I’m losing my mind.
The (it must be intentional) dishonesty and (supposed) inability to see why people are scared and angry? The fixation on “rioters” and refusal to even acknowledge the THOUSANDS of post Election Day experiences of minorities of every kind in almost every city experiencing the very gloating and abuse that Trump endorsed, many times with the abusers loudly and joyfully declaring president Trump’s campaign and behavior as endorsements of their brutality?
Friends, I’m feeling so sick and so, so angry–specifically at white evangelicals.
My “people”. My “roots”.
My old friends–you who have raised me with such kindness and love, and are now ridiculing the responses against Trump’s victory.
I’ve got questions. Big questions. And as a family member who loves you and thought I understood you, I am really in need of answers.
The responses, by yourself and your religious leaders (like Franklin Graham this week, for example) to this “victory” of ignorance and hatred has been far more telling and frightening to me than Trump’s victory. I hope I’m wrong, but your responses and your silences are confirming what I’ve feared for a long time: you didn’t get tricked, or pick Trump out of ignorance, or even misplaced anger at fundamental injustices against you from “liberals”. You chose him because you are embracing religious bigotry, and you really do believe in and long for a white supremacist “Christian” America.
Please show me this is not the case.
I know many of you are poor. But I know you well enough to know based on your own passionate declarations that for most of you, your vote for Trump wasn’t about poverty or a broken economy. The liberal media doesn’t get your religion and worldview. I get it. Because I gave my life to it fully for more than two decades.
And I never quit Jesus. It’s more accurate to say that memorizing all those verses, chapters and even a few books from the bible and believing so strongly that the Way of Jesus is what I am called to follow is what led me here–on the other side of your fence.
So I want you to please tell me how as a Christian you could say Trump is part of God’s plan to save America–and tell me what makes Trump God’s choice. And then tell me (I think I already know) exactly what it is that God wants to use Trump to save us from.
I’m not belittling you. But I’m 100% serious. And as part of your family, as someone who has almost always felt love from you rather than mockery and hatred, I need to know. And so do my friends that are not from this “family”.
Actually you aren’t so kind anymore to me. Many of you, any way. I usually try to not take it personally, but it still hurts. But is this connected? Is this part of why you could be so good to me my whole life, until I started to question tenets of our shared system and more proudly identify openly with my indigenous roots and identity, and stand in solidarity with minorities? Am I right? I hope not. Please convince me otherwise.
I also no longer feel safe around many of you. But not super unsafe, more just unliked. I seriously don’t feel safety, however, for my closest friends and loved ones who are not White/”straight”/evangelicals around you.
Honestly I feel betrayed by you. And now I want to protect my brothers and sisters, from you. And I’ll do it.
I love you, old friends, and that’s why I’m asking you for answers. Because from here, your behavior and general comments are outrageous, hateful, reeking of white privilege, scaring me in a huge way.
Despite being poor and rural, I grew up so privileged and insulated from the daily realities of people in this country who are not defacto inheritors of white power, male power, and Christian power.
I never really felt like like maybe I could be oppressing others with my life and views until during the Bush years, after I actively supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because I believed as you said that it was about protecting Christianity and America from the forces of Satan. It was very difficult to accept that that was a lie and that I was/am partly responsible for the murders of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
Then the anger and dissonance and questioning and recognition deepened through studying world history and traveling abroad, and further intensified in me while living with friends and in neighborhoods that are not “white” or evangelical–in the US and overseas.
And now it’s hitting on an even deeper and more obvious level.
And it makes me sick.
White evangelical American friends: You’ve almost always been kind to me. Why is that? And why are you mocking or complaining, or remaining silent, about the fears and the documented abuses of thousands at the hands of openly “pro-Trump” abusers?
Please answer me.