The White Privilege and Colonization of the Deconstructing Movement

I have spent the past several years on a spiritual journey as a white cis gendered male. Like so many Americans who where raised or joined the Evangelical Movement at some point in their lives and walked away, I’ve been sifting through the wreckage of the certainty and purity culture that was foisted upon us by those who had been in power.

I think, often, of the way I was brought into salvation via this methodology. “Freddie, would you like to know 100 percent, that if you were to die today you’d go to heaven?” my father asked me while we sat at the kitchen table. I was seven years old, it was the late spring, and of course I said, “Yes.”

Mostly, I said yes to please my father. I was a child at the time and was not yet quite afraid or, to put it more plainly, aware of my mortality they way I am now as a forty year old man.

Along the many denominations of Evangelicalism be they Baptist, Pentecostal, or otherwise, we were all sold a product prepackaged and delivered to us with a sales pitch so enticing, so marketable and shiny, that it allowed the sellers to bypass all of the humanity of the Christian faith, the compulsion to do good, to uphold the Beatitudes, to do the work so to speak that Christ laid out for us, and shot straight for the rewards of heaven.

It’s been several years of reading books by authors like Nadia Bolz Weber, Rachel Held Evans, Phyliss Tickle, Rob Bell, and lately, Kristen Kobez du Mes’ work Jesus and John Wayne as well as Sarah Ruden’s Paul Among the People and If God Can Still Breathe, Why Can’t I? by Dr. Angela Parker to realize just how terribly blind we were all made to the suffering of the world around us.

Or, at least, that was the attempt.

But we’ve suffered. Oh, how we’ve suffered.

I can’t help but think of the African-American Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “The Mask” when I think back on my life. Especially when he says:

“….We smile but Oh Great Christ our cries, to Thee from tortured souls arise. We sing but Oh the clay is vile beneath our feet and long the mile…We wear the mask.

We’ve suffered because #wettoo are the world. We are they. They are us. We are them.

One of the constant themes throughout the entirety of my research for both my personal life and for the project I am working on with director of 1946 — a documentary about how Homosexuality became part of the Bible via a mistranslation of the text, is the constant appearance of the word Empire. And within that context, as Du Mes points out in Jesus and John Wayne, we’ve been absolutely saturated, especially in the last 100 years of American History, with power brokers within Cultural Christendom whose will was to dominate and subjugate the masses and bring them under heel.

These, mostly white men, have bent this country and our faith into indiscernible shapes to seize control of just about every aspect of our lives and they’ve stopped at nothing to ensure this level of authoritarianism.

While, according the Religious News Services, Evangelicalism is in decline, including a bottoming out of the Southern Baptist Convention (a group infamously and historically formed for the protection of Slave Owner’s ‘rights’ to maintain chattel slavery) as they hemorrhage members, the “Deconstructing” movement is in full swing.

And yet, on Social Media and beyond, so many of these voices are white people whom still maintain the political/ sociological view of the people (mostly men) who abused them.

And they’re maintaining that power as a way to turn the conversation toward their suffering and theirs alone.

If a part of your DECONSTRUCTION isn’t ripping down the Patriarchy nor the barriers that African-Americans and other people of color have had to endure since those same men who abused you colonized Christianity then all we’re doing is participating in a white privilege echo chamber event at the Trauma Olympics and nothing is going to change.

Tear it all down.

When the world saw the death of George Floyd at the hands of a man who stared into the cellphone camera and wasn’t shamed to get off of him because of his belief that he was in the right, you were witnessing the effects of this colonization.

As we all watched in horror the events of Jan. 6th as men and women stormed The Capitol with the “Christian Flag” in their hands only to shit and piss their way through the Sacred Halls of Congress as they physically assualted police officers whose job it was to protect members of congress, you were witnessing the effects of this colonization.

As you watch the death toll of Covid-19 surpass the death toll of the 1900’s Spanish Flu — you were witnessing the effects of this colonization.

Faith without works is dead. And death. And destruction. And Disenfranchisement of the vote. And Denial of Climate Change. And denial of asylum seekers. And the Denial of Civil Rights of Minorities and Women.

Evangelical power swept through our nation like a Tsunami and all it’s left in its wake is endless destruction and bodies of those who didn’t make it out in time.

So many of us are sifting through the aftermath of this terrible event and are trying to take stock with the best of our ability of what remains. For some of us faith is a beacon still of hope for better days and for some of us faith and religion and church are all the things they’d like to forget.

But we have a duty to each other either way we look at it.

The shock of George Floyd was a white shock. Black people have been going through this since the first black foot stepped onto this rock we call The United States. The advent of new technology stripped away the rumors and whispers and denialism and allowed us all a front row seat to the truth and consequences of unchecked, unfettered, power.

I’ve said it before in previous blog posts, The Slave Master isn’t dead. He’s shifted industry. He’s a preacher. He’s a politician. He’s a cop. He’s an abusive husband. He’s an abusive father (or mother). He’s a deacon. And we’re all his victim, now because his authority goes unchecked.

The product we were sold is garbage. Basura. Toss it. It and all of it’s excessiveness and will to dominate.

It’s all connected. We’re all connected now in with a terrible understanding of what happened when Christianity and Capitalism had a bastard child who went mad with power.

There is no certainty of the future left in me. Everything is being called into question. That seven year old that prayed the “Prayer of Salvation” as he wanted more than anything to please his father who himself was a victim of this Amway like Pyramid Scheme called Evangelicalism, is now looking at the world, and the people, and the mess left behind by a waning power structure wondering, “What do we do now?”

Well, it can’t be what we’ve done before. That didn’t work. But what does work, what we CAN learn from these powerbrokers, is that there is power in numbers.

Hold space. Unite. Undo the damage done to us all and work together to fix it.

Originally published at http://deconstructingthedread.wordpress.com on September 30, 2021.

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Queer AF Author. Poet. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Human Being.

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Frederick E Feeley Jr

Frederick E Feeley Jr

Queer AF Author. Poet. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Human Being.