The Truth is Powerful

White Evangelical Racism Has Always Been a Political Power Grab

Illustration: Paul Spella Evangelicalism is having a moment of reckoning. What once seemed like a conservative, Christian way of life became so baldly entangled with President Donald Trump, and so obviously detached from its espoused morality, that many followers are now leaving their churches. Those still on the inside are trying to see a movement they still love for other reasons, more clearly. And those on the outside are trying to grasp why Christians were willing to excuse Trump’s speech and actions against women and immigrants and his easy embrace of racism.

While evangelicals defended the movement by pointing to those in their history who were abolitionists or by painting portraits of a color-blind spreading of the Gospel, the movement’s broader history and powerful influences are far from innocent.

Anthea Butler’s new book, White Evangelical Racism , shows how racism is original to the fabric of evangelicalism. She draws lines from Biblical references used in defense of slavery, through Reconstruction when Black men were framed as a sexual menace against virtuous white women, and evangelical believers and churches engaged in lynching. Butler demonstrates how political organizing by the Christian Right in the 1970s (prior to Roe v. Wade ) was actually […]

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