Learning the Language of Lament

The words of communal lament, the words we need to rediscover in this dark time, begin with the plea: “How long, O Lord?”—which is a way not only of expressing our distress, but of being honest about the fact that the world feels too much like God has abandoned us, like God has left us to reap the harvest of violence and hatred that have been sown while we remained silent.

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You Can Be a Racist without Being a Bigot

You can be a racist without being a bigot.

I can hear the tortured cries of indignation: “Why does it always come back to race?” 

The communicants of the White Saints of the Church of the Perpetually Aggrieved raise their protestations of umbrage to the heavens. From the perspective of the affronted, having their motives so regularly questioned justifies their reflexive sensitivity on the subject. (Their defensiveness about being called racist, however, seems to outstrip their outrage at the existence of racism itself. But, you know, whatever.)

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A Modest Proposal: For Preventing the Children of Foreigners from Clogging Up Our Immigration System, and for Making Their Children Beneficial to the Publick

And the last step, the pièce de résistance? Get as many white evangelicals as possible to chime in: “This is what God wants. God put this president in office. And God is blessing his efforts. If you want a r̶a̶c̶i̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶p̶u̶r̶e̶ God-fearing country, you’ve got to be willing to s̶a̶c̶r̶i̶f̶i̶c̶e̶ ̶b̶r̶o̶w̶n̶ ̶c̶h̶i̶l̶d̶r̶e̶n̶ make some sacrifices.”

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Kentucky's Governor Might Be a Christian, but I Don’t Think Much of His Christianity

Look, I don’t care how many Jesus fish you’ve got on the back of your car, or how many times you’ve sung Shine Jesus Shine, or how stirringly you can talk about orphans in foreign countries, if you refuse to help the people you have it within your power to help, then the Jesus you’re so publicly selling doesn’t have anything to do with the one found hanging out with lepers, giving sight to the blind, and holding the hands of the untouchables in the Gospels.

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Remarks for the Poor Peoples Campaign

If you have power, you can either use it to safeguard the interests of the rich and powerful or advance the interests of the poor and powerless. If you happen to follow Jesus (a man executed by the state as a threat to the interests of the rich and powerful), as most of our politicians in Frankfort claim to do, you can’t pursue the former at the expense of the latter and still believe Jesus is smiling down on you.

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Not everybody can take the same things for granted

People like me can afford to go through life taking for granted that because we’ve never been harassed or profiled that maybe other people are just making it up in their heads when they say they have been. Because for one thing, we almost never understand other people’s motivations—and so we often project our own motivations onto others, supposing them to be about the same. And for another thing, if we’re wrong, and people actually are the target of racist, xenophobic, or sexist motivations, it doesn’t have much affect on us personally.

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Dear White Evangelicals: An Intervention Letter

And the understandable reaction when you’ve been the cultural homecoming king and queen forever—but then start finding yourself repeatedly stuck at the “wrong” lunch table—is to feel like dark forces are conspiring against you. These dark forces get filed under the heading, “political correctness,” which is really just that state of affairs in which it’s no longer safe to disparage people you feel are undeserving of your respect.

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