From yesterday’s Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice press conference (Detroit, MI) in response to the white Christian “protest” at the Capitol in Lansing.
My name is Bill Wylie-Kellermann. I’m a United Methodist pastor in Detroit, recently retired from St Peter’s Episcopal Church, and a member of Michigan Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
I speak as a white male Christian outraged at the public display of white supremacy in these demonstrations against the health requirements of Michigan under COVID 19.
White supremacy is always violent. That’s true whether it’s institutionally embedded, as in the present moment, in health care access, water shut-offs, evictions, homelessness, and “essential” minimum wage jobs without benefits, OR whether it is signified by nooses, flags, and assault weapons. The contempt for human life embodied in the threatening open carry of those weapons, is really one and the same with the willingness to risk the deaths of others, so disproportionate in Black and Brown communities.
White supremacy is a spiritual disease which creates anxiety and fragility – for which such weapons and violence are a need and compensation. We’ve seen that again in recent weeks with the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery. Frankly, this racism is a demonic possession, which also expresses itself as indifference to the lives and deaths of others. It dulls the capacity to empathize or care for other people, a trait the President himself evinces.
That President Trump should encourage and mobilize such forces as he’s done repeatedly, on behalf of his election and re-election, is truly outrageous. It is the politics of terror. That white supremacy should be covered over so often with a veneer of Christianity further compounds the horror.
For these reasons, it is incumbent on followers of Jesus, especially I believe white male Christians, to resist and rebuke such forces. That is why we call upon faith leaders, of all traditions, and on elected officials to speak out against this violence and to encourage safety, health, and life for all. Thank you.