Sunday, December 20, 2009

My struggles with White U.S. Christianity

[image of Audre Lorde is from here]

I grew up in the U.S., which has always been proclaimed by powerful white heterosexual men to be "a Christian nation". I am a Jew, and I know Jews did not found this country. Christian-identified, Bible-reading heterosexual white men did, by enslaving West Africans and by committing genocide against the Indigenous people of the Americas, and by possessing and raping women of all colors.

I have never known a time where white heterosexual male supremacist Christianity was not the dominant religious tradition in the West. Most of the teachers in my early life were white Christians and they taught me horrible lies about this country, and about what this country has always required to exist. I was told it required democracy and "freedom for all" but found out as I grew up that this Christian-dominated country I live in, this white, male, and heterosexual dominated society, this anti-Semitic society, this anti-Muslim society, this anti-Indigenous society, has thrived by hating and killing people who are not Christian/white/heterosexual males.

My whole life I have heard white Christian people tell me that white = superior, heterosexual = superior, male = superior, and so I hope it comes as no surprise that I have no great fondness for a Christianity that, when spoken about and practiced by people, is heterosexist, racist, misogynist, and genocidal.

I have never really taken what white men say to be "the absolute truth" including when it comes to "G-d". I have my own experiences of G-d, which are not exactly theistic. And the G-d I know does not will racism, heterosexism, or misogyny. Or capitalism, or money economies, or the death of Life on Earth. The G-d I know isn't "willful" and cannot intervene in the matters of people. The G-d I know is Life and Being on Earth, and so is harmed at the hands of white heterosexual men who promote and participate in oppression. The G-d I know is the fight for Life and Liberation.

The G-d I know, that is not a Being but is Being, is therefore not patriarchal, is not white supremacist, and is not anti-lesbian or anti-gay. The G-d I know is not anti-woman. And never has that G-d been preached to me by any white Gentile man. Never, in any white church, have I heard that Christianity celebrates me as a Jew or a gay male. Never, in any white church or by any Christian brethren, has my pro-radical feminism and radical profeminism been celebrated, honored, or respected.

My white Christian family "tolerates" me being gay and me being Jewish and doesn't understand my interest in Buddhism or feminism at all. They will not speak of me being gay, except to joke about it, and use disparaging terms for lesbian women and gay men, sometimes thinking to apologise to me when they do so, but usually not. So, with great difficulty, I have had to separate from my family of origin, and now have very little contact with them. This is true of many lesbian and gay people I know: we create our own families, because we have been rejected or are condescendingly "tolerated" by those that raised us.

One of the women who is part of this blog's community is Black and a Christian. She doesn't live in the U.S. And Christianity is very important to her, and is central to her feminism. I respect that reality. I have great respect for many liberation-loving Christians, of color and white. As has been stated elsewhere, my radical feminist (wo)mentor was a white lesbian Christian woman. She was always Christian, and struggled with the meaning of that for her. She also worshiped and prayed to many Goddesses.

I know that Christianity is a powerful source of strength for many people of color, and that in the U.S. Black women, particularly, have held to a form of Christianity that is not what white men here preach.

And their experience is not mine.

So I have little to no respect the Christianity, and the Christians, who preach with alarming regularity, that my lesbian sisters and gay brothers are more sinful than heterosexuals simply because they are not heterosexual.

I have little to no respect for any Christianity that tells me I need to "find and accept jesus as my one true lord and savior". I have found the Lorde, and her name is Audre.

I hope that all who come here respect and honor what I have written above as my experience and my Truth.


Melanie said...

I wrote a post a while back about how the U.S. came to be so Christian. You might like it

Julian Real said...

Thank you, Melanie!


Because the link you sent, due to blogger comment receiving issues, isn't HTML coded, I'll put it here in code as a link:


I'd like to repost your post on this blog. Please let me know if that's ok to do. You can respond here and if it's just "to me" and not intended to be a published comment, just note that and I won't post it as a comment.

Melanie said...

Thank you. Sure you can repost it.

Anonymous said...

You write very well! I enjoyed reading this.
I agree with everything, but am bothered by your use of G-d. Does that come from a religious rule - to never speak or write the name of God? In my opinion, it's another form of religious control. Be a rebel, be radical, and write "God" .
"woodcut" - on Twitter

Julian Real said...

Hi woodcut,

I agree with everything, but am bothered by your use of G-d. Does that come from a religious rule - to never speak or write the name of God? In my opinion, it's another form of religious control. Be a rebel, be radical, and write "God" .

I believe writing "God" is a religious rule as well, is it not? So what to do? Being "a rebel" isn't my project. Being a radical is. And to know more about what that does and doesn't mean to me, read my post on radical profeminism.