Of course these people emerge endlessly throughout history with apologist contortions for their faith and in every society. In the US they are the same ones who used religion to justify or even advance Native American genocide, slavery, witch trials, Jim Crow, lynchings and Japanese internment. They had no problem bombing children of colour in Iraq or Afghanistan to “liberate” the Muslims who would later be demonized and banned in US immigration policy. No problem when our “allies” do it now in Gaza or Yemen. They didn’t bat an eye when the US carpet bombed Laos or Cambodia, or doused Vietnamese children with napalm or Agent Orange because that was a “noble war” to defeat “godless communism.”
They give no thought into the egregious effects of US foreign policy that have migrants fleeing north in the first place. The support of violent regimes like that in Honduras, ushered into power via a US supported coup, or the “drug war” that has fueled hideous cruelty in El Salvador, or environmental and economic injustice via defense of mining companies or Big Oil.
These adherents of the Christian faith bear no resemblance to those of the Abolitionist Movement, or later in Liberation Theology, or the countless clergy who struggled (and died) alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other people of colour in the Civil Rights Movement or marched against the Vietnam War. They lack the integrity and courage of people like Father Daniel Berrigan or Sister Megan Rice or Jim Wallis, because they have wedded themselves to nationalism, xenophobia and militaristic hubris.
And so the mental gymnastics and empathic anemia needed to defend such gross contradictions in faith must at the very least be exhausting, but I think it ultimately takes a costly toll. A faith that can be twisted to defend atrocity and barbarity against the “foreigner,” the “alien,” the “outcast,” or “other,” can be easily twisted against you in the end. And the odds are you will be so blinded by social hatred that you won’t even see it coming.
Kenn Orphan June 2018