November 15, 2019
  • 8:23 pm Orthodox Defense
  • 8:23 pm Meskel Zterekbelu Eritrea Orthodox tewahdo Church toronto,Canada
  • 8:22 pm Pete Mcee – O Ritual / Affluence Films
  • 8:22 pm Heroes of Terrinoth A Foul Ritual Part 2
  • 8:22 pm Identifying True Worship, Part 3: David Splane’s explanation of the Overlapping Generations doctrine
Populism through the Lens of Religion and Race



welcome so this is the religion and politics session entitled populism through the lens of religion and race so just from the title right off this is something that is right up there ripped from the headlines kind of session it's gonna be a fascinating session today we have four presenters each will have about twenty minutes we're going to take questions at the end so just kind of hang on to your questions we'll kind of make sure we move through so let me give you an overview of the session and then I'll introduce our very distinguished presenters as we go so this session is exploring the impact of religion and race on expressions of American populism and we're doing that across the ideological spectrum so papers here explore the interplay of religious and secular forces on the black lives matter movement including a theological exploration of the death of Michael Brown and an examination of how millennial activists are blurring the secular religious boundaries it also juxtaposed opposes these topics with examinations of white conservative populist expressions we have papers exploring the populist elements within the Southern Baptist Convention that laid the foundation for white evangelicals to throw their support behind Donald Trump and among tea party women whose rhetoric centered around a vision of white Christianity fighting the legality of abortion so should be a very very interesting panel with a lot of breadth and a lot of interplay between the topics so we will start with the presentation by Larissa Hawkins her paper is entitled the reproductive politics of evangelical Tea Party women and the afterbirth of trumps America and Larissa is the observing pakil tea fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies and culture she her research engages the intersections of race ethnicity religion and politics she received her undergraduate degree from Rice University and her MA and PhD from the University of Oklahoma so welcome Larissa good afternoon we'll have a PowerPoint presentation and as I've taught of course this summer revolving around these issues this summer this semester excuse me wishful thinking it's cold outside I have kind of refocused the title and two Trump Tea Party women and the rebirth of a white Christian nation it engages the same questions and topics but as a political scientist dealing with the intersection of these issues and questions the more I study the more I realize that this is more than just a political blip it's has consequences for nation is for statism and other things the 2016 elections harken back to the birth of a nation the film that asserts that for the Union to survive whiteness and nation s must be systematized in the US government ironically it affirms Union and excuse me whereas the Trump Tea Party and the Trump candidacy and white supremacist movements dis affirm union their anti status black Americans and others must be put in their proper place onward Christian soldiers marching as to race war white America first Christian America first but before we can talk about the rebirth and the afterbirth of Trump's America we have to talk about the birth of a nation this film is can sit from 1815 is considered by most accounts among the top 100 of all time it's a black and white it's silent but it's a cinematographic Marvel and in 1915 of course World War One is underway the war to end all wars Jim Crow ISM racial violence are at their height because you know during war citizenship is always contested what is intriguing about a film entitled the birth of a nation is its peculiar starting point free blacks are the anti citizen the lines of nation are and state are contested the Civil War amendments reconstruction our unenforced and even when enforced done so with impunity so the film depicts who is who and what is what and what Shelby who is N and who's out the starting point typifies Israel's own amnesia forgetting God's deliverance and making a king for themselves the film typifies the collective amnesia of the United States the rapidity with which whitewashing of history occurs one of the most interesting elements of the film is the assertion that the American that American political development begins and ends with the Civil War while one could call Griffiths choice anachronistic the film should be read as historical revisionism a statement about the Nason's of the American creed but why this film the first third of the film begins with an account of the Civil War from the perspective of two patrician families one northern and one southern the northern family of the stoneman's of massachusetts of good english stock in the southern family the Camerons of south carolina of irish descent note that resurgence of Irish owning scotch-irish in hillbilly elegy and other tropes of today one of the earliest quotes of the film says the bringing of the African to America planted the first seeds of disunion this racial triumphalist account but not merely from the south is of whiteness it's important to note that claims for state and sectional sovereignty sovereignty have always been conflated with racial exclusion in the United States then and now white Union not a union of whites and blacks is the political bill sold by the film and unapologetically so the film is a peon to Kiptyn ken Reed white bloodlines and emphasizes white solidarity and nationís from the beginning as contrasted with the farcical War of Northern Aggression slavery is typify Din the film as a coterie of black children in need of salvation from their white masters house niggers were often mulatto and very often the children of a master and one of his favorite slaves Reed Sally hemming and very dark black people cast as uncouth uncivilized children of course the casting choices made in the film include white actors in blackface a menstrual izing were making clowns of black folk those black faced whites portray the uppity negro swith dreams of freedom and ambition the blacks have one drop of white blood and they think they're equal but one drop makes you black according to hyper descent black extras are the regular field niggers they are uncivilized they play fiddle and clap and shuck and jive they're too picked it as magical Negroes the house help were portrayed as faithful Souls loyal to massa who has termed the kindly master and exemplified a st. Francis with a kitten in his lap and puppies at his feet if he treats his pet so well and they flocked to him like birds of st. Francis well slavery must not be so bad after all and it must be' fit blacks and not not only the fit blacks but also benefit them the Civil War is depicted in the film and problematized in the film but mostly problematized as dissolving a faux kind of white togetherness so the second part of the film highlights the perceived folly of reconstruction via the Freedmen's Bureau was skipping through a lot of things because I don't have a lot of time and then the KKK is utilized to rouse the white masses toward togetherness and also importantly to be the salvation of white women so the cult of sight white Southern womanhood is depicted in this film okay she party women tea party redux taking America back one of the most important things to note about and the historical line that I'm drawing between this film The Birth of a Nation and Tea Party women is the extent to which Tea Party women hearken on these tropes of whiteness and togetherness and defining citizenship over and against blackness in fact defining the first black president as a non citizen and the rest of black Americans as failed Americans so there he's just getting through a skipping through where you stand concerning this meme depends on where sit the left and the right interpret this differently but the potential subjectivity can mask an objective fact a legacy of racism and discrimination in this country where blacks donned white face to a leering public the attribution of white makeup to a self-proclaimed black man who as we know is biracial or mixed heritage should give us pause the existence of this meme is less problematic than its proliferation by Tea Party Patriots Obama is black but even in white face he is socialist and dangerous this actually this kind of portrayal of Obama you might note through his presidency leads him to distance himself from anything bordering on what we might call a black policy agenda so the framing of Obama is race it of like socialist birth or etc has implications the implicit racial trope and Palin's rhetoric for example is that American values are white values and citizenship itself is white so the Tea Party paints Obama is socialist in chief engaged in a racialized policy debate in spite of hid the fact that he distances himself from black issues since the advent of social security now TANF programs has selectively benefited actually middle-class whites and been reined is framed as race neutral nevertheless we know that there are racial implications and that trainings there are also apocalyptic implications but let me just give you a little bit of info about what's interesting to me about grassroots Tea Party women not these women per se grassroots Tea Party women while they're the face of the Tea Party and I think it's important to reclaim the notion that while the Tea Party has been presented as a muscular phenomenon it's really grassroots women who are preferring the narratives and they prefer different narratives than white men Tea Party women's narratives are particularly white intersection of whiteness evangelical Mis sexuality and reproductive rights so the Tea Party is more conservative than the average Republican Tea Party women according to Roberts data and other data are more Christian on average they count themselves born-again some 70 percent of Tea Party women compared to the rest of the population we know that white Christian America is dwindling but this is an example of Tea Party Texas tea party Republican women again the tropes of Obama as as not American picking his like Black Muslim back to Washington DC of course this is this comes out at the same time as Texas is considering seceding from the Union the question that was settled by the previously afore spoken about civil war but they explicitly explained in excuse me conflate republicanism with the Tea Party in their group so I just want to read you one quote from them concerning Obama um one of the officers of this group notes that beyond the political structural barriers that precluded women from the front lines of politics women and men have different motivations for politics many women had worked alongside their husbands and the other Patriots making the forming of the nation possible while some of their names may not be as familiar as some of the more well-known men of the time their roles in history of our nation are never less the less important as has always been true men and women tend to do things for different reasons men more for fame and fortune but women are motivated by wanting to make a difference a diverse group of ladies from colonial times made a difference in the founding of our country today women of Texas tea party Republican women have made and will continue to make a difference in the governing of our country what's interesting about these local grassroots groups is they tend to deviate from the narratives of folks like Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin about conservative feminism and reclaim the home a kind of domesticity and the home is the sphere of politics as opposed to politics itself so the local grassroots there are 80,000 women who are part of various Tea Party grassroots groups across the country this is not Tea Party Express we're talking about grassroots groups so minted and formulated in the wake of Obama's presidency about Obama they discussed his threat in this way the danger to America is not Barack Obama but they have this picture but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency it will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president the problem is much deeper and far more serious than mr. Obama who was a mere symptom of what ails America blaming the prints of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast Confederacy of fools that made him their prince the Republic can survive a Barack Obama who is after all still merely a fool it is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made them their President again think of the constituency who elected Barack Obama they also hate women like Wendy Davis you know stomping out some a Nazis so this is a New Balance running shoe with a WD like us tensed Lee Wendy Davis's own brand and of course boots in the color of Texas AM this group comes out of Houston so very close so what are the important effects the question that my research raises is then given this recrudescence of Tea Party women carrying the trope the tropes of rebirth and Birth of a Nation some most important questions arise for the political scientist and the scholar of religion at the intersection of race religion and politics one question is who counts as citizen so this is actually one of their flyers for an upcoming meeting but what you note on this flyer is a very close association with pamela geller groups like act for america this depiction of an Arab woman with a an American flag on her head and an association with mainstream Muslim groups like the Council on american-islamic relations with the Muslim Brotherhood so a major topic of the meeting is act is act for America a representative from that organization will be at this small meeting that meets at the Fox and Hound in Houston Texas and at the bottom you see that even though the Texas tea party Republican Women and the tea party are not explicitly Christian nor are they explicitly Republican although this group is across with a Bible verse right so there's conflation of these ideals about citizenship is really important to note here um so what's important some of the other themes regarding this conflation of citizenship with whiteness we see coming up in the election of barack donald trump excuse me non-college educated whites who scored high and racial resentment about 40% of the total of trump voters in the primary we're about 15 points less democratic in 2012 than in pre-obama in the pre Obama era racially resentful White's without a college degree or the most were the most likely to flee the Democratic Party during the Obama presidency before Trump they fled so what I want would have want to exploit in this research is the fact that these narratives were being profoundly party women since about 2009 Donald Trump inherits these narratives he doesn't create them he actually walks into them a mantle is presented to him like Obama's black socialist head presented to him on a platter as a way of making as a way of making America great again with the discourse attendant and the action occurring kind of before what we saw in 2016 visibly also the troops around Hillbilly elegy hawk shields strangers in their own land again these accident during and throughout the Obama presidency so again nothing new Under the Sun this has been broiling this kind of primordial soup as member oiling since 2009 also attitudes related to immigration religion and race were more salient to voter decision-making in 2016 than in 2012 this is remarkable in part because before 2008 with Obama and Hillary Clinton the race factor racial resentment as a factor in elections had never been so predictive of the vote outcome so for race to be more salient on the minds of voters essentially on the top of voters heads as they made choices in the 2016 elections is quite remarkable white flight from the Democratic Party also occurred concurrently with the Browning of America and Asian solidification of identification with the Democratic Party Tea Party voters Trump voters also events the least supportive and favorable attitudes toward african-americans in America and even as the public became more polarized in their views towards immigrants and Muslims Tea Party women were already there these are some of the ways that Islam is framed as the radical religious other white evangelicals like Franklin Graham the son of Billy Graham traveled the country warning of Islamophobia claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated government in the form of folks like keith Ellison and that God had an Oran anointed Trump to keep Islam out Jerry Falwell Jr who is Trump's homeboy evangelical Christian homeboy Trump announces Candace's candidacy there gave the graduation address there as president and said in December of 2015 we have to end those Muslims before they end us I've got a gun in my pocket you know you can get gun you know certified on campus here Michael Flynn former NSA National Security Adviser that the United States is at war with Islam these things you've heard before the spate of anti Sharia legislation at the local level and again one of the important reasons that it's incumbent upon us to look at these women is because the lok the local level is where politics occurs all politics is local even though we see this at the national level so finally we also see who counts as citizen not girls in his jobs defending white democracy which brings us to where I live and work today which is Charlottesville Virginia in Birth of a Nation the KKK saves the day by initiating the race war of the ages writing strong on their steeds clothed in white righteousness and the cross before them the white union of north and south but at the center of this is a cult of white Southern womanhood revisit today and embodied in tea party women now what did this have to do with the state of society and politics in the afterbirth of the 2016 elections everything including what we see here during the civil war there was an amendment to alter the preamble of the Constitution to add we the people of the United States recognizing the being and the attributes of Almighty God the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures the law of God is paramount rule and Jesus the Messiah the savior and Lord of all in order to form a more perfect union bla bla bla what we see in Donald Trump is not just a new form of white nationalism it's a new form of white Christian nationalism the appeal of Christian of the white Christian nation is that it appeals to a false sense of timelessness riah re the religious roots of the founding and the original P Tea Party the dangerous parts of what we see happening in white right Christian nationalism is it's actually anti status the belief that capitalism that government is essential fascism investment of authority in a single person in the body of Donald Trump and a nationalism again of a white Christian variety which first means for going into any anti foreign attributes as as endemically harmful to the country steve king hamad epitomizes this well in his statement and this is the last statement with majority-minority and immigration we can't restore our civilization the democratic this demographic transformation will lead to cultural suicide so I see the Tea Party as a third founding of the US the first being the American Revolution the second being the civil war and the Tea Party over and against Muslims socialists and other Americans seeing blacks and those who are in the country even as failed citizens not fit for a white Christian nation thank you thank you Larissa I think I was remiss and I said you were the visiting faculty fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies and culture and left off at the University of Virginia so make sure we get that in so next we have Adam Hankins his papers entitled populism in the Southern Baptist Convention Adam is a lecturer at DePaul University and an adjunct professor at Loyola University of Chicago and he was a Schmitt fellow at Loyola University where he conducted research on the Southern Baptist Convention so we'll hear the fruits of that labor here today his PhD and constructive theology from Loyola University in Chicago and a BA in philosophy from Roanoke College hello we will never discover a single unified cause for what happened in the 2016 election well the most startling aspects of the election was the 81% of the Evangel Christians who voted for Trump well concerning whether support was not the evangelicals voted Republican with the divided for this particular candidate whose coalition includes white supremacist Rust Belt laborers neo reactionaries and trawl armies whose personal values contrast so starkly with evangelicals own and his positions on the issues so far as they existed were largely indistinguishable from any of the other 15 options Wayne Grudem even joked with theologian michael anton contributing editor at the journal for American greatness raised essentially the same alarm in their support for Trump unless Clinton is defeated America will not survive although several attempts have been made to explain what brought this alliance together the primary strategy has been to reduce the coalition parties to one ideological stance represented with varying degrees of transparency by different groups I want to advocate for an alternate strategy accepting that the ideological disparities between the enclaves are real and identifying the alignment between these groups as a result of similar attitudes alien nations and anticipations that intensify in response of populist and directions and become enthralled by these insurrection to some degree independently of these groups ideological commitments these attitudes or effects have been cultivated in some groups for decades prior to them being activated in support of the Trump campaign this paper will look at one instance of a movement that fostered populist leaning attitudes among its members the Southern Baptist conservative resurgence throughout the 1980's conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention work to expel the more moderate leadership rallying around the doctrine of biblical inerrancy leaders of the resurgence and their successors assumed control of the denomination and seminaries dominate its institutions to this day and continue to shape evangelical thought in politics like a number of movements designated fundamentalist the resurgence both redistributed the theological significance the allotted two doctrines within their tradition and change the effective connection that adherents maintained towards those doctrines elevating the doctrine of inerrancy required generating certain attitudes towards the Bible status and towards its enemies but these attitudes were also prepared to embrace other movements that thrived on similar effects I will be discussing moral epistemological and mythic discourses from the three or surgence leaders in order to extract the attitudes that I think resonate most deeply with populism first I look at the polemical writings of Paige Patterson one of the architects of the resurgence second I will look at the book authority by James Draper who is offered by conservatives as a reconciliation candidate in the early part of the resurgence and third I look at the apocalypse term SWA Criswell the resurgence of patriarchal I don't have any theories only cuz not much to look at I'll conclude by briefly sketching the interaction of these attitudes Paige Patterson lay is at the central argument of the resurgence the nomination elites have no right to receive financial support from Baptist congregations while simultaneously undermining what those congregations believe protests about wolves being taught in the seminaries had already occurred during the genesis controversies in 1961 in 1969 where commentaries had suggested that parts of the book of Genesis were not historical fact attendees of the National Convention meetings in both instances called for the commentaries to be retracted but neither conflict was ultimately resolved to their satisfaction Patterson's polemics extend this existing frustration into a condemnation of the elitist double-talk coming from seminary professors and suspicions of their moral integrity Patterson routinely attacks liberal theologians were saying one thing a meaning another it compares them to pirates flying a false flag while they use the phrases and terminology familiar to Evangelic of faith they assigned to these terms meaning smuggled in from new orthodoxy or existentialist philosophy so while in public speaking before a church they sound like traditional Baptists in their classrooms speaking to their student initiates they freely elaborate their genuine opinions Patterson repeatedly points to seminary professors refusal to allow their tapes to be their lectures to be tape recorded as evidence of duplicity an honest professor maintaining their institutional commitments would never be concerned with our lecture being made publicly available liberal theologians duplicity use of language leads Baptists astray Patterson states his preference with liberal theologians of a previous era who would directly announced their unbelief making the hazards of their theories obvious like a bottle of poison clearly marked the skull liberals in the Baptist seminaries were like poison laced Thailand the poison laced tylenol that caused several deaths around Chicago in 1982 as a topical reference at the time they appeared innocuous but as toxic as cyanide despite their good intentions they inevitably deceived the faceball Patterson compares liberal theologians to the serpent approaching even the garden liberal theologians seem helpful and concerned about the intelligibility of the gospel but quickly move debating what God had said to denying God's Word outright liberals are both tylenol murderers and the devil Patterson characterizes the infiltration of liberal theology into Southern Baptist seminaries as a problem of integrity if liberal liberal professors had integrity they would state their beliefs in plain accessible language before denominational bodies they were not confused laypeople by confessing the Bible to be invaluable and yet filled with errors they present themselves as interested in offering the best interpretation the scholarship can offer but their methods are so specialized and complicated that the common believer can only trust their conclusions making them a human priesthood of interpreters mediating God's truth to the masses liberal theologians use their academic freedom as license to contravene the mission of Baptist seminaries and often even ridicule the conservative beliefs that students received from their home churches Patterson's polemics restrict the possibilities for demonstrating integrity to either capitulation to conservative theology or resigning from the seminary this is a solution for faculty refused to accept the view of biblical inspiration that represents the doctrine of the majority of Baptists quit and find work somewhere else which Patterson considers the final guarantee of academic freedom Patterson believes that the pervasive decline of traditional faith in seminaries was partially the consequence of increasing centralization in the convention in an article prior to the major 1985 convention meeting Patterson designates the denominational centralization calling World War Two alongside inerrancy as a primary cause for the resurgence he stated the growing alienation of the denominational bureaucracy from grassroots conservative values have promoted insensitivity towards the people paying for that democracy there are two concerns here relevant to the question of populism first Patterson's position on denominational centralization is close to the reaction that Baptist had against desegregation in 1956 Criswell would tell the Southern Baptist legislature southern care South Carolina legislature that he resented forced integration at the command of the Supreme Court when the North couldn't integrate their own cities and many Baptists agreed additionally the Baptist's that publicly supported desegregation often worked for the seminary as the denomination or the denomination Oh impress the bitterness from this previous we carried over into the resurgence ii a minor theme in patterson polemics is that the position of the Conservatives is being distorted by the Baptist press as the nomination center their decline he explains their institutional arms cling to power and the Baptist press has succumbed to this desperation by misconstruing conservative criticism of the denomination Patterson calls for future editors to be hired based not just on professional experience but also impeccable doctrinal integrity Patterson's aggressive moralistic tone was suitable for his role in their resurgence as a partisan bulldog James Draper by contrast was offered by the Conservatives as the reconciliation candidate between them and the moderates in Knight in the 1982 convention presidential election his short book authority the critical issue for Southern Baptists shifts the field of critique from moral discourse to epistemology in making the case for existing the spread of liberalism draper understands the resurgent controversy as a pista module dispute about authority in his account there are only three sources of authority the Bible the church or reason it should be noting here that under reason Draper also includes Sense experience and mysticism any epistemic claim grounded in a human source of knowledge operates from a basis of truth radically divergent from divine truth Draper argues that liberal theology constitutes a shift in authority from divine revelation to existentialist rationalism biblical revelation consists of propositions flawlessly communicated by God through the biblical authors refusing to accept as true the propositional claims made by the Bible requires an interpreter to substitute their own vaguely mystical encounter for an objective standard of truth Draper's book depicts the authority of the inerrant scriptures as absolute and yet astonishingly fragile if any of the Bible's statements are questioned its authority has been to throne and supplanted by human judgment slight and imperceptible even unda liberabit disagreements with any Bible proposition cost you the total abandonment of God's truth Draper insists we must submit to the Bible prior to being able to determine whether or not it is true he writes if we wait until all the evidence is in we will wait until the second coming of Christ by then it will be too late we accept the inerrancy of scripture not because we can reconcile every difficulty but simply because Jesus is Lord the criterion of Draper's epistemology is an act of submission that eliminates the risk of any challenge to the Bible's description of reality Patterson is similarly adamant when he says that the minimal condition for ending the resurgence is that denominational employees can never under any circumstances call into question any statement of the Bible even minor concessions by otherwise solid conservative scholars can be perilous students will always go further than their professors Draper accounts the time he took his children on the oil derricks slide at Six Flags Over Texas as they push his burlap bag over the slope gravity began to take whole news seized by visions of a crash he had the impulse to cling to the barriers and halt as a sin so his child wouldn't fly from between his legs any theologian who would dilute the historic Christian teaching of biblical inerrancy finds themselves in the same position by admitting the possibility of debate about the facts of God's Word these theologians have tipped themselves towards the edge of disaster and are bringing their denomination along with them liberals are a threat to historic Christian a Draper warns and along with any serious commitment to saving the loss existentialist theology is incapable of inspiring evangelist zeal existentialist theology rejects precisely those doctrines that drive evangelism substitutionary atonement and eternal damnation with an EM that without an emphasis on saving souls Christianity devolves into a moral code focused on improving social conditions liberal missionary and nurturer perpetuates itself by denying conservative theology any hearing in the seminaries light Patterson Draper takes seminaries to task for denigrating the beliefs of conservative students that they learn from their home churches and asked why academic freedom is only for liberals when do conservative scholars receive more than cursory attention in liberal courses in syllabi it is a common resurgence trope that the Southern Baptist denomination is the only denomination still growing in numbers is the best hope for the future of Christianity Draper asserts that the encounter of existentialist theology cannot survive divested from reveal biblical propositions for the sake of their phantom experiences and there artistic academic freedom liberals are risking the gospel of Christ and the souls the entire human race Draper's epistemological framing resurgence culminates with a dire prediction about the end of historical Christianity waa Kris well the celebrity pastor of First Baptist Dallas and the source of the resurgence is popular legitimacy casts his critique in the lurid prophetic symbolism of the book of Revelation especially drawn from the period of nightmare upheaval between the removal of the church and Christ establishing his millennial reign through victory in the final war the period designated by premillennialists as the tribulation Griswolds vision of the tribulation syndra centers what he calls the Satanic Trinity Satan is the anti father the beast as the Antichrist and the false prophet as the anti holy spirit Cruz well tells us that the laws governing the tribulation are this also the laws governing the present age if the Satanic treaty exists in the end times it must also exist among us now in limited form partially repressed by the Holy Spirit yet fitfully wreaking the same havoc now as it will then Chris will expound the work of these malign agents to his congregants so they can remain alert to their sinister influence in his 1983 sermon the fall of Lucifer Chris will explains that in this world age Satan is an angel of light accordingly Satan is the leading proponent of all forms of cultural enrichment Satan Chris Berg preaches that Satan supports progress and social justice he advocates for good government as a patron of the Arts Satan is the ally of every revolutionary struggle and he is the most religious of all God's creation Satan is naturally deeply involved in the educational system an advocate of scientific inquiry and cutting-edge research Satan supports all cultural achievement as long as it never mentions God nor preaches the hope of the gospel Criswell description of the Antichrist strikes a similar tone Griswolds beast is a charismatic and entrancing public figure and economic mind to the highest order an unrivaled political genius and a staunch friend of Israel he will have a career of unbroken success in a time of unprecedented chaos the Antichrist will deliver the human race into a political Golden Age peace will reign Marcus will surge and the beasts who have solved all social problems independently of the grace of Christ finally the false prophet or anti Holy Spirit builds a church around the magnetic appeal of an Christ the false prophet will be winsome he will in kind he'll have a gentle domestically about him the religion of the false prophet will dispense with the supernatural with the uninvolved and with anything aesthetically appalling to modern sensibilities like salvation by sacrifice the religion of the anti-soviet is a humanism and as paradise is the socialist welfare state the final goal The Satanic Trinity is inaugurating the Battle of Armageddon through unclean spirits that gathers the armies of the world in the Middle East for a bloodbath to consummate our era and melt history when they assemble Christ appears and crushes all his blasphemous enemies simultaneously Griswold preaches I want you to notice that things do not go quietly and gradually merge into the kingdom of our Messiah but they it seems come catastrophic Lee they come in blood The Satanic Trinity they haze like liberal Baptists do now they reject the supernatural and grotesque parts of Christian of traditional Christianity they focus on social justice rather than redeeming sinners and they cooperate with surrounding culture rather than insisting on biblical truth and since the laws of the tribulation of the laws of the present age Griswold warns that the influence of liberal Baptists on the denomination is just as destructive liberals he says shoo like termites on the institution's built by the blood of our Baptist forefathers they the curse of liberalism is destroying the convention as it has mainline denominations and can only be reversed by revival and resurgence and similarly as liberals anticipate the terrible iniquity of the tribulation period the judgment on that iniquity is anticipated as well charisma preaches the triumph and conquest of Christ over the Liberal parasites the resurgence was eventually successful al singer neutralized in the moderates but it lacked the finality promised by Christ in a seraph army invading in force Patterson will frequently call for the controversy to be concluded by a revival after which the Word of God will never be questioned again nothing like that occurred the resurgence certain was certainly a last hour but not the last hour babs are still waiting for the catastrophic end of descent to arrive these three were part of a decade-long operation to exercise selection on the Baptist population amplified particular effects and rhetorically constrained the possibilities were acting on those effects disparaging the integrity of seminary professors and denominational bureaucrats assumed a level of moral perception that divided the resurgence movement from the moderate Baptists they could perceive the flaws in the denominational structure and the curve the conventions decline is slow painful decadence as Patterson called it was clear at the same time that the resurgence was dislocating conservative congregations from their existing ecclesiological identity they offered the truth of an inerrant Bible as the sufficient basis for a renewed identity but by the same stroke this truth was shown to be deeply precarious and could only be maintained by drastic action Draper writes at the end of authority although we do not want to do anything intemperate fanatical or ill-advised we also do not want to be guilty of doing nothing it is not clear what type of drastic action would be necessary to finally resolve anxieties about the fragility of the truth accordingly premillennialism displaces the resolution into the mythical and believers are encouraged to fantasize about an instantaneous catastrophic gore soaked answer to the questions that disturb them at the end of the resurgence the Southern Baptist Convention was less capable of tolerating dissent and more antagonistic towards our surrounding culture the same movement that closed them to the mainstream opened them to rhetoric that promised to secure their culture and livelihood through dramatic intervention the resurgent was a complex event with ramifications still being felt today my goal of this paper is not to give a definitive account of what the resurgence was but to outline those elements that I think made Baptist most vulnerable to seizure by populist impulse in the recent election their moral certitude coupled with a precarious truth realizable only through catastrophic instance reacted to a rhetoric of political crisis independent of the theological or ecclesiological ideas that structured those attitudes and a real way despite their theological importance we see the same constellation of attitudes again and again in other groups on the trunk coalition the trolls confidence in their lulz weaponized against the normies the economic nationalist lucidity about the dying Republic proclaimed against the Davos set even the countless men and women in failing towns that voted for Trump just because they needed anything to happen and could tell that nothing had yet all echo the same impulsion instilled into the Southern Baptist Convention decades ago the populist passions driving Trump's campaign pressed into service any number of isolated right-wing groups groups with more or less ideological dissonance from Trump's rhetoric who are more or less today disappointed with the results of their adventure thank you thanks so much Adam next we will hear from Seth Gators his papers entitled critical complexities religious secularity or secular religiosity and black lives matter Seth is a PhD student in the Department of comparative studies at the Ohio State University and his research investigates the intersection of religion race and politics he holds a BA in Psychology from the Ohio State University and m.div from Trinity Lutheran seminary and a THM from Fuller Theological Seminary good afternoon everybody brings me great pleasure I'm grateful for this opportunity to be able to present to you today my presentation explores the complex and entangled relationships that dwell amongst religion and secularism and within that binary race as categories of modern social performance and collective identity formation and I hope to parse this out though from the Enlightenment onwards these entanglements have been obscured really they cannot be studied in pure and key word is pure isolation from each other because they are woven together to assume such a religion and secularism binary machine as constructed on a project of purity here it is again is problematic because it's reminiscent of the phantasmal racial categories and governance of master settler colonial practices of enslavement pure secularism is not only a failure but it's fantasy and religion as a pure on the other hand discrete phenomenon that's privately located in the individual is a peculiar modern creation or invention these fabricated purities again are not the free flowing reality of everyday people complexity and entanglement is reality and here the creativity of the everyday life occurs and erupts this dichotomy is known and it has been questioned but I would still like to push the conversation further I see that this critical conjuncture has severe political consequences what's at stake with in this social binary is a particular racial order and practice of sovereignty or government allottee race is obscured and consequently by extension organizing and broader coalition's for social justice at the fundamental humanistic level are obscure as well for instance do we find this problem lurking in the religious policing and categorical claims of conservatives that the black lives matter movement is heretical on Orthodox or perilously secular and contrastive Lee is this lingering in some on the other hand the secular policing working to eliminate religion entirely from the public or the political arena as a way forward I am utilizing the black lives matter movement as a conceptual window to complicate these dichotomies in between the religious and the secular asking such questions as what role does religion play if any in the black lives matter movement or such questions as does a justice movement have to be openly religiously affiliated institutionally or otherwise in order to invoke a sacredness or is the black lives matter movement an indication of the rise of secularism amongst Millennials and in our culture in general I perceive that an analysis of this critical conjuncture amongst black Millennials helps us to disrupt the governance and the sovereignty of social binaries their particular black praxis of anti anti blackness constitutes a performative critique which unsettles on grounds and D colonizers Western dualistic thinking that is grounded or settled in an aspiration for pure again pure difference instead there is rather a more creative interplay going on where the boundaries in between religion culture and politics are rather impure messy and very complicated and this is the complexity in the entanglement of which I speak what I'm after wherein each in flex or interpenetrates to the other watch this secular orthodoxies inhibit larger quest for liberation because they are racially underwritten as by anti-blackness modern secular discourse works to govern or master together both race and religion secularism has long reigned as a feature of the privilege of which I speak whites and men and elites and as a social privilege its configuration is deeply connected to class race and gender in the West whereas as indicated by vincent lloyd elsewhere from and i quote the margins the fact that there is a mixing of religion culture and politics is self-evident end of quote this is because race and secularism are entwined and whiteness characterizes the secular just as whiteness suffuses what is called and i will speak to this later whiteness suffuses the multiracial this racial order must be unveiled for without a critical stance up against it we may unwittingly be offering an endorsement the process of this in veiling of this particular Imperial pedagogy that is projected as secularity is what Shelley Fisher Fishkin calls and I quote the interrogation of whiteness end of quote it is hard to trace for some since it is an unmarked category but George Lipsitz calls this and I quote the possessive investment of whiteness end of quote operating as an unmarked category never acknowledging its role and therefore without interruption continuing its dominance ensuring white supremacy protecting property guarding interests maneuvering and seizing presidential elections and so on while imposing subjugated or oppressive roles upon non-whites now though this is hidden to some as fait accompli modern racial discourse lurks within these dichotomous operations and of which I speak our religion and secularism I want to pause for a moment tech team that PowerPoint presentation was right it's a blank screen all right thank you all right so just to repeat now though hit into some thats fait accompli modern racial discourse lurks within these dichotomous operations in between the religious and the secular this binary reifies a racial order around the white figure or western man or otherwise known as the human with a capital h and this particular racial imaginary that is hidden within this binary machine is what I'm after Ruth Frankenberg says this myth of whiteness is quote a location of structural advantage end of quote a standpoint a place from which white people look at themselves at others and at society and a set of cultural practices that usually go unmarked and unnamed in other words being invisible so since race and secularism are entwined and entangled note how on the one hand the unmarked racial category and on the other hand the unmarked religious category mark what in the margins is deemed as on the one hand racial others on the other hand religious others or put another way the Enlightenment desire to stand beyond religion which is in turn ideologically recasted as secularism and on the other hand the liberal desire to stand beyond race which in turn is ideologically recasted as multiculturalism or even colorblindness both of these desires to stand beyond or above right both of these are complementary delusions for the seemingly beyond is in reality the sovereign or in a pen optic fashion disciplinary power these tactics of sovereignty seek to control and exclude religion in the same way that race is controlled or excluded so in fact multiculturalism only exists in a constitutive relationship with race as does religion only exists in the constitutive relationship with secularism these terms are not chronological according to some Western narrative of secularity neither are these terms oppositional but they are Co constitutive Epis teams that are centralized upon again Western man the white masculine or the human with a capital H multiculturalism and secularism produce anti-blackness and are discourses of power that construct subjects in a particular way the same that the very same modern logics that that constructed Metropole to colony or Center to periphery the same modern logics that constructed whiteness to blackness are operative in the sacred secular split modernity theorize secular oppositional II to itself oppositional II to an invented religion and in this way it constructed itself as the modern secular but both of these ideologies are discourses of power and they symbolise or manage a crisis of social meaning guarding against the supposed and I quote threat of miscegenation end of quote as called by jared sexton and functionally they work to preserve the integrity of racial whiteness and the political economic order by producing and policing please watch this policing the color line just as much as the religious line is policed yet as ideologies of anti-miscegenation protecting purity again they have been imposed in the interests of the privileges of the status quo and thereby they are there shot through with an air of anti-blackness in our constitutive of the present social political and racial order contra distinctly in the margins and if I had time it would be able to list a retinue of these practices in the margins but we're focusing particularly on the black lives matter movement contra distinctly in the margins what we find is that there's a more creative interplay that accounts for the transgressing of religious and secular boundaries amongst everyday people ordinary people and these reach for possibility otherwise pointing to all sorts of interpenetration that help us to account for the various interconnections and their complexity in a non binary way and so consider more closely with me for a moment the black lives matter movement many scholars and activists have recasted this revolutionary era up against the black power movement of the 60s and 70s and each of these are touted by some to be secular movements black power movement black lives matter movement in the respective eras according to some sort of secular rubric and they're necessarily according to this narrative understood in opposition to the traditional or the standard religious institutions of black life market lead the black church whatever your understanding of that may be that was characterized as central to the civil rights movement yet aside from these dichotomous mischaracterizations they are really participating in a more transgressive dynamic being largely composed of black Millennials this movement has something to teach all of us in blurring the boundaries that prevent many from perceiving the broader conjuncture for social justice at the fundamental humanistic level for all human beings not just particularly those that may be categorized as black for the sake of freedom and justice working at the limits of modern secular discourse black social life or blackness performs and other mode of existence outside of that according to the liberal narrative beyond the simple opposition of the religious and the secular that is relational not racial that is ecumenical and not essential an alternative practice of the religious and alternative practice of the secular that is not reduced to this simple opposition of the sacred secular split and hence because of this this playfulness and flexibility it's excessive – and disruptive of the modern binary machines hegemonic constraints though often brutally injured its alternative praxis creates an opening and an outside world within this modern one not limited to the violent constraints of the religious secular divide and this sort of dynamic is is like in the world but not of the world so oppositional constructions of the sacred versus the secular or civil rights versus black power or spirituality versus social justice or you know politics versus religion and so on these these constructed opposition's are really rather entanglements of otherwise modalities that point to more critical and complex human experience that is also evident in black social life this debate reveals a particular discomfort that many share with entanglements that that cannot be governed by puritanical modern categories for instance though many attempt to dichotomize the civil rights movement versus the Black Power movement the latter movement Black Power movement is an evolution of the former struggle for freedom therefore to perceive one is merely religious and the other a secular is historically inaccurate and it's untrue attempted dichotomies created in between the two myths a more comprehensive understanding of the black freedom struggle that served as an attempt to undermine the practice of black emancipatory struggles as a discriminating technique of administration serving to secure the status quo really black activism is now largely uncharged and organizing outside of traditional religious institutions as opposed to the civil rights era when institutional religion was in a certain sense central right it is not a movement even though it may be expressing itself culturally in this particular moment this way the black lives matter movement is not it as far away from religion and spirituality as is thought to be by many outsiders actually with it these rigid dichotomies that we speak of are dissolving and collapsing in on themselves for example consider Kendrick Lamar's hip-hop track the Grammy award-winning hip hop track all right it also marks the significance of spirituality to the movement as it is considered an anthem of the black lives matter movement watch this the opening stanza of the song identifies the struggle of black life and I quote all's my life I had to fight end of quote it identifies the challenge of black life and I quote I'm eff up homie you effed up end of quote and it expresses a cry of lamentation from the biblical Psalter and this lamentation and I quote hard times like God end of quote it's directed to God in one breath while in the next it appears towards Jesus as he is intimated through the cry and I quote NASA with EFT end of quote poetically the artist conflates Nazareth ie Jesus and God as the ultimate source to receive his prayers and lamentation it then concludes quote but if God got us then we gon be alright end of quote which theologically posits the providential presence of God in black life such a claim is revolutionary as it is messily tangled up within the genre of hip-hop that is understood to some as secular entirely because of its nonconformity to traditional conservative religious forms or normativity yet secular to some and profane to others through song through hip-hop theology enters into the public or the political sphere black cultural production actually indicates an excess of spiritual forces that transgress these modern binaries furthermore on Orthodox Christian theological terms many have noted the quote unorthodox backgrounds of the three women often cited as movement founders as if they inherent no spirituality at all consider their spiritual language the three founders women number one though she claims Marxist ideology co-founder Alicia Garza uses the suggestive Twitter handle quote love God herself end of quote and mentioned on the black lives matters organization website guiding principles that state a commitment to and I quote intentionally build and nurture a beloved community end of quote which of course harks back to the theological guiding vision of the civil rights movement from dr. King himself to consider Patrice coolers she is an ephah practitioner which is a West African traditional religion of divination and therefore she is a religionists or spiritualist that has her own particular framework of belief three consider opal tometi she identifies with liberation theology moreover in a tweet on her Twitter page on the 28th of August 2015 Opel explained and I quote for the record dot-dot-dot I'm a Christian I'm anti capitalism and I'm for the dismantling of a two-party system that is doing nothing for us at all period hashtag that is all end of quote individually their respective spiritual commitments are presented as aberrations from an American Christian conservative norm and this may be true to a degree but it does not secularize or epithet eclis dichotomize demonize or trivialize their praxis and activism as illegitimate or problematic as the movement of the new generation black lives matter is more often than not understood as a strange alienated or adamantly opposed to church based visions of social transformation but one must sift through easy and simple bifurcating frameworks right to see rather confluence and connection for the fight against injustice this movement has sought a new idiom to render black life as significant and faithfully wed to the synchronicity of spirituality and social justice you can't separate the two so this movement sees that black social life is sacred and here there is no divide so hopefully this deepens the understanding that black lives matter thank you [Applause] thanks Seth finally we have Rima Thessaly fled her paper is entitled seeing Jesus in Michael Brown theological protests as the performance of purity in the black lives matter movement Rima is the director of peace and justice studies at Warren Wilson College and her first book racial purity and dangerous bodies moral pollution black lives and the struggle for justice was just published by fortress press in June 2017 Rima has a BA from the University of Iowa and m.div from Union Theological Seminary mm MI and a PhD from Union Theological Seminary as well I first want to say thank you to my co-presenters your papers are all amazing every single one of them I feel like I could spend hours just talking with you and I want to actually pick up right where Seth left off unbeknownst to both of us we actually are thinking about many of many similar things so this research paper comes out of the last chapter of the book I just published in June and I won't go deeply into the theoretical frameworks I employ I use a lot of Mary Douglas to talk about concepts of purity and pollution but due to time constraints I'm gonna focus really on the voices of clergy who were on the ground in Ferguson and really still are on the ground in Ferguson let me first say that the black lives matter movement challenges police executions of black men and women and youth it is a movement that furthermore illuminates the perpetual degradation of blackness and social and political spheres and thus illuminates racialized practices of violence and marginalization alongside black lives matter activists my own research argues that black men are killed because their dark skin symbolizes moral and physical danger several centuries of discourse on black bodies as moral polluting entities have resulted in perpetual subjugation and harassment by government officials the result is the erection of symbolic boundaries between black and white bodies between white neighborhoods and black neighborhoods between those who are protected by law and those who are violently subjugated to the whims of police officials so as I mentioned I'm primarily concerned in this paper thinking about the theological assertions that black lives matter and really the Christian narratives that are employed by clergy who have joined Vanguard activists and because I don't have tremendous time let me just first point out and Seth pointed to this as well that there is a kind of reference to the civil rights movement and the Black Power movement and especially in the civil rights movement clergy as well-known really assumed front stage center stage which is not at all true in the black lives matter movement so the clergy have gone and interviewed are on a certain level peripheral to the broader movement and yet have become mentors for many of the young people and who have opened their churches as sanctuaries and I think if we think about symbolic constructs of blackness and whiteness of pollution and purity it's important to privilege the voices of clergy who are working with symbolism and who are really bent on inverting traditional notions of power that Rhian first they reinforced rather than contradict the central assertion of the black lives matter movement so what I argue is that clergy members often offer important symbolic reconstructions of blackness they challenge historical images of blackness as physical representations of inner immorality and pollution for clergy in the black lives matter movement the criminalized body of Michael Brown and the crucified body of Jesus convey a theological assertion that criminalized black youth who are associated with moral pollution are crucified as was Jesus 2,000 years ago the theologians who've been active in the black lives matter movement interpret the birth of Jesus as protest against accepted first century of pollution boundaries for example the Gospel of Matthew narrates Jesus birth as in a stable surrounded by animals because quote/unquote there was no room in the end reverence a coup an ordained elder in the Church of God in Christ Theologiae Thea I'm sorry speaks theologically about the poverty and pain of Jesus's birth as significant for black lives matter and he says I understand the gospel of Jesus as a story about God choosing to become flesh in the body of an unwed teenager teenage mother among and unimportant people in an unimportant part of the world Jesus is as Palestinian Jewish peasant living under Roman occupation he is the salvation of the world God his flesh was subject of an empire similarly the Reverend Traci Blackmon who leads a congregation in the suburb next to Ferguson interprets the meaning of Christ's birth as a political confrontation between impoverished polluted Jews and wealthy elite Romans and she says and this is actually a fairly long quotation but please bear with me as I think this is really quite profound in the birth of Christ during the Roman Empire high militarization Mary and Joseph are in the midst of a system they are forced to comply with Jesus as God incarnate could have been born in wealth and royalty but God chose to manifest God's self among the poor and marginalized in society not even to just the poor and marginalized but a poor brown woman in an afro Semitic context among this Roman Empire in poverty in such abject poverty that it is highlighted there is not even a place for him to lie his head I think that if you can be born anywhere you want to be born which I believe about Christ and if you choose to be born among the lowly not among the high that the birth in and of itself is an act of protest you would choose to associate yourself by privilege of who you are and that elevates those who are not elevated in any other kind of way so for me that's an act of protest which continues throughout Christ's life and reign I can read the story of Jesus of Nazareth into all oppression but if you take this situation and read the story you know that after the birth of Jesus Herod mandates that all children are killed because he is trying to get to Jesus there is a slaughter of innocents that happens from the empire in this text these casualties are an attempt to keep this child from rising because the story has already been prophesied has already been told that story is very much rooted in the killing the assassination of men of color I think that the killing of Mike Brown too is a manifestation of fear of systemic institutional level and so we choose to kill that which we fear which we cannot control and the blackmail in our society has been categorized and depicted as someone to be feared so I believe that even in the killing of Mike Brown if you listen to the interview with Darren Wilson the white officer who killed Mike Brown he does not call him anything human he calls him The Incredible Hulk he calls him a demon fearing that certain bodies cannot be controlled such as Herod feared Jesus at his birth illuminates broader social practices in which identified groups are subjugated even killed with impunity to sustain powerful positions indeed liberationist clergy draw multiple parallels between the circumstances of Jesus of Nazareth births and the conditions of black people especially black youth in a society premise on white norms and institutions the white bodily norm is contrasted with the morally polluted black body despite the fact that Darren Wilson and Michael Brown were the same height six feet four inches Wilson observed in brown a menacing threat that justified murder the conditions of Christ's birth then illuminate the narrative of Liberation Theology those who are socially unimportant and feared are in God's eyes chosen to save all of mankind humankind those who are politically dispossessed have the capacity to be spiritually powerful the saviors of the world and privileges the status of the powerless Christians have the opportunity to meet God so this can also be extended to the narrow the narrative of Jesus of Nazareth poor Jew a carpenter a dispossessed Palestinian who ministered and this ministry is also central to liberation theology into the act of contesting racialized constructs of pollution liberation theologians identified Jesus of Nazareth as a nonviolent revolutionary who organized the poor in the face of occupation Gustavo Gutierrez a Latin American priest who penned the first texts on liberation theology in 1968 wrote but the poor person does not exist as an inescapable fact of destiny his or her existence is not politically neutral and it is not ethically innocent the poor are a byproduct of the system in which we live and for which we are responsible they are marginalized by our social and cultural world they are the oppressed exploited proletariat robbed of the fruit of their labor and despoiled of their humanity hence the poverty of the poor is not a call to general generous relief action but it's a mad that we go and build a different kind of social order what clergy in Ferguson argue is that in the first century Jesus of Nazareth uplifted those whose bodies were deemed polluted bleeding and invalid persons lepers demon-possessed men and women and in this way Jesus reached out to quote unquote the least of these reverend blackmon reflected i believe very strongly that there is a God who is a God of justice and of equity I believe very strongly that the intent of the Bible is to point to that Jesus so the Jesus who is the god of the oppressed a black Jesus that is representative of those who are marginalized and who are targeted and who are oppressed in every way and have always believed that about Jesus the clergy on the front lines of the Ferguson protest assert that to self-identify as Christian is fundamentally a political act that pushes against racialized pollution boundaries as Jesus himself challenged the marginalization of those who are deemed polluted furthermore to carry one's body into protest wearing a clerical collar is to proclaim affinity with morally polluted bodies clergy then challenged symbolic constructs of pollution by donning elite symbols embracing polluted bodies and facing police violence on the front lines these liberationist clergy have elevated Christian symbols to rebuke state inflicted pollution boundaries at the vanguard kneeling and praying taking communion and reading names of those killed by police officers they have used symbolic power to challenge the material power of the police Reverend sake who recounts clergy activism and the nights after Michael Brown was killed during their nightly protests in the ferg at the ferguson police station local clergy came out to support them and to bear witness and solidarity clergy knelt and prayed in front of a garrison of police representing I'm sorry repenting for our silence and supporting the young folks who we followed to the space of resistance and place of injustice after our spontaneous prayer meeting young folks asked us to step aside as they stood in the middle of the street willing willing to risk arrest the line of police wielding long brown wooden batons and donning riot gear marched lockstep toward the young folks in the street something got ahold of me I darted out in between the youth activists and advancing police I knelt and prayed I was promptly surrounded by police snatched up and placed in a blood-stained police van but the youth would not back down for almost two hours the youth sat down in the middle of the street and refused to leave until I was released captain Ron Johnson was ushered from his home and came out to negotiate with the youth and they were not having it I was eventually released from the police van on moral monday is a part of Ferguson October a group of faith key leaders were arrested as we prayed and called on the police to repent for being part of an evil system of policing as an act of resistance we created a memorial for the Mike Brown's of America the Reverend Charles Burton a local pastor and activist laid down on the soaked ground his body was traced with chalk and candles were lit pastors and rabbis read the unarmed those unarmed names of those killed by police clergy positioned themselves along the police line to take confession we then advanced toward the entrance of the police station police paced placed batons against a few of our throats swung wildly at others but we prayed raising our saw our voices and song and worship we moved again to enter the police station and many were thrown to the ground and arrested to self-identify as Christian than is to confront these racialized pollution boundaries with one's body following the Black Liberation Theology of James cone evarin sake who stated first and foremost the gospel is not a neutral term it is motivation to resist oppression thus we must resist in the way Jesus resisted must be present with the least of these as he called and be willing to go to the cross as he did these liberationists clergy have identified young protesters as carrying out the liberationist ethic of Jesus of Nazareth despite the fact that many of these youth resist the institutional church but the youth are adopting powerful symbolic rituals in preaching through non-violent direct actions demonstrations marches chants Dyanne sit-ins and vigils God is present with the youth and the clergy say that they pray / we have seen you in the faces Oh God we have seen you when they scream and yell and they are angry we have seen the very face of God in them these clergy see Jesus of Michael Brown because Michael Brown symbolizes the morally polluted black body the very body embraced by Jesus of Nazareth the lack of quality public education for example Brown lived in the sole unincorporated School District in the state of Missouri and disproportionate criminalization result in significant poverty institutionalization and hopelessness in the st. Louis area D etre wise Baker a chaplain for the st. Louis County juvenile detention center stated for all intents and purposes and the context that I serve in everyday Mike's body is still on the ground fellow clergy in the st. Louis area echo Baker's theological interpretation the length of time that Ron lay in the street which was four and a half hours along with the character assassination initiated by officials after his death sparked outrage and defiance the conditions further illuminated the desperate conditions underlying the chant we have nothing to lose but our chains in the wake of the August 2014 protests reverend blackmon along with Reverend Starsky Wilson the pastor of the st. John's UCC Church in st. Louis joined a Ferguson Commission to propose solutions to poverty early childhood care education and transportation and Ferguson Wilson who is the co-chair of the Ferguson Commission reflected what if Mike Brown is our Jesus Christ what if Mike Brown is the thing that pushed us to the point of doing God's true work that is needed to be done for these clergy the fundamental act of challenging racialized constructs of moral pollution of uplifting the same person's marginalized and outcast due to their bodies and their social status is the work of Jesus Baker to saw the Ferguson protests as a call to the community particularly the church to address the broader systemic injustice in Ferguson in the broader st. Louis area she said we're always talking about doing something but something about this movement forced us to be the hands and feet for the Christians and for Jesus and in fact clergy nationwide drew on the analogy of Michael Brown and Jesus Valerie Bridgman a visiting associate professor of homiletics and Hebrew Bible at Methodist theological School in Ohio reflected these Ferguson citizens screamed in the face of police who trained their military-grade weapons on the crowds wounded and Michael Brown became the symbol of a community's rejection of black communities not just in Ferguson but throughout the country being despised Michael was crushed and bore the punishment for being black in the United States for us all and we are left to ask of God why are the Michaels of our communities bearing all of our iniquities liberationist clergy have made explicit connections between the political tenor of jesus's time and the oppression experienced by black youth who are constructed as morally polluted today marginalized groups of women and of queer youth of young people like Michael Brown who are raised in communities with unincorporated school districts without access to affordable of transportation are linked to the polluted groups of Jesus's time socially elites then determine how persons without status are able to access institutional benefits on the Sunday after Michael Brown was killed Reverend Wilson preached the extreme poverty of Jesus's time feels like the poverty of our time with a chasm between the haves and have-nots the people who got and who get forgotten we call it the poverty tax like the lack of access to healthy foods the / ticketing for driving while black and the higher taxes for gas in the hood there were three warrants for arrest for every household in Ferguson when we say poverty tax we're talking about ticketing the targets people disproportionately and has them under the burden of warrants for the clergy then the youth were enacting a kind of biblical vision God was with the young people in the streets who would not back down a prophetic action was taking place God chose morally polluted black youth God stood against militarized police with tanks and machine guns God's people would prevail the youth were a persecuted people akin to the Israelites fleeing the Egyptian army in the Exodus story and the Jews were a disempowered under Roman occupation Michael Brown represented Jesus the Christ and furthermore by protesting his death the black youth and Ferguson represented the meaning of Christ the call to action to Christians nationwide stated explicitly just get on the streets come be on the streets come at least once get on the streets I'm telling you you're gonna meet Jesus there Jesus is on the street and you're gonna be transformed if you come to the street these liberationist the clergy then understand their commitment to the black lives matter movement is pushing against social boundaries that demarcate black lives is inferior morally polluted and socially marginalized to join the protesters is to reconstruct indeed to resurrect black skin hair phenotype and cultural expressions as symbolically pure these clergy play an important role in the root symbolic reconstruction of blackness because as clergy they ritualized notions of purity and celebrate a Gospel message that privileges quote unquote the least of these the liberation of clergy then interpret the dimensions of Jesus life his birth his ministry his crucifixion and his resurrection in the context of black oppression these clergy are challenging policing and imprisonment practices by claiming divine presence in the black bodies that are constructed as morally polluted and disproportionately criminalized God is present in the midst of suffering Jesus as God and body was persecuted as a member of an occupied territory within the Roman Empire and chose to minister to the morally polluted members of his community and thus to follow Jesus in a contemporary setting is to embrace the black bodies that are demarcated is morally polluted to walk with Jesus is to redefine the morally polluted outcast as chosen by God to resurrect Jesus is to engage in sustained protest to mentor and care for weary activists and to institutionalize racially just practices that acknowledge historical and contemporary racism and hold officials accountable to sustain racial justice protest is to perform purity in a context in which marginalized black people are constructed as degraded the black lives matter movement and all of its dimensions has directly and I would say strategically pushed against racialized pollution boundaries by insisting on the importance of black lives even the statement black lives matter says so much and this includes black bodies that are marginalized even within black communities these black lives matter protesters perform symbolic acts of purity on multiple fronts not just by confronting police but also privileged in queer including transgender leadership by engaging in new social media strategies as well as historic embodied demonstrations and finally by reconstructing the image of Christ in the slain body of Michael Brown and the fear Street protests that erupted after his execution thank you I hope you'll join me in giving all of our presenters one more round of applause really excellent set of papers great so we're gonna take about 20 minutes to take some questions we have two microphones down here at the front that we'll need to use because this room is so big no one will hear any questions so if you have a question feel free to come up to the microphones there's one on each aisle I'm here in the front at the end of the 20 minute period we are going to have the business meeting for the religion and politics section so if you're interested in helping us think through next year's call for papers and we also have two open slots on the steering committee so if you're interested in nominating yourself for nominating someone else to participate in the steering committee to help us shape the papers and panels like this for next year please stick around we're gonna meet just right hitting down here on this this side I know the you know the podium at the end of the question and answer period so let's start with questions and I'm gonna take them from sitting sing down but just come forward to the microphones if you have a question so it's a question for Adam hankins the figures you discussed were as you said then from the 1980s so I'm curious about whether you see any generational shift especially in light of the fact that according to some of the data I've seen Southern Baptists are beginning to see some numerical decline as well so that old argument that conservative you know conservative theology will be a bulwark against what happened to the liberal Protestant denominations that seems like that situation may change plus we're just just the younger people people know ministers in their 30s and 40s faced a different situation than the folks in the in the 80s but it wasn't your comment on that so it's correct this sort of a sort of a generational shift Paige Patterson is still he's still the president of a seminary so he still has exerting like direct influence I think in fact I think he canceled tenure there like three years ago so his own ideas are being implemented Draper is he saw a live here and the Southern Baptist publishing company LifeWay for a long time I think you just recently retired so the it's not there is a generational shift it may not be quite as pronounced and the same time right now they recognize the lack of growth they don't as far as I know they're not thinking that it's because of a lack of you know too much conservativism much like the Republican Party its conservatives have just not been tried hard enough right so I think right now that the conflict is over there's too much Calvinism Calvinism harms emissions because you do believe in predestination so do we need to keep Calvinism in denomination or should we try to drum them out as well hello so to make one quick comment on that I'm you're right about the the SBC data it's now ten straight years of a numerical decline in the Southern Baptist Convention which is fairly new for them but the the kind of chart edie Stetzer has been very good at LifeWay research about documenting this and kind of making it public every year so that's something we've clearly seen along and that follows the kind of decline in evangelical white evangelicals overall just over the last decade as well and one kind of notable fact is that as the median age is creeping up it's now about 56 or 57 years of age as the median age of white evangelicals in the country that one of the key factors actually has nothing to do with theology it has to do with evangelical women getting college degrees that happened about a generation later than white main liners and that is declining birth rates as a result of white evangelical women getting college degrees if I recall correctly what's their study that you had that showed that in fact the only religious denominational sort of block that was growing that was keeping its young people let's put it that way keeping its young people or in fact historically black churches historically back to nominations yeah the story so historically black denominations have been fairly stable they've been kind of holding on and there's being growth among Latino both Catholic and Protestant and also Asian Pacific Islander congregations are also growing but it's so the shrinkage is all within white non-hispanic denominations right both mainline and even just right in Catholic right good afternoon I really really enjoy the talks and they really had me thinking quite a bit about especially professor Gaither discussion about secularism in religiosity one of the things that occurred to me when you were speaking I was thinking about the sacrosanct 'ti of speaking about black lives as its own not just movement but idea right that goes back at least I think 200 years to Josiah Wedgwood am I not a man and a brother all right and one of the things that I'm curious about I think is is this idea of is this this the argument that you're making about the impurity of these two categories of the secular and the sacred was that already troubled maybe four generations prior to this to this to the situation because what we have I think with many of the religious black religious thinkers of the early 19th century and of the late 18th century were serious critiques about slavery and secularism 'z about the emergence of modernity about the emergence of capitalism and what it was actually doing to make bodies less sacred to make life less sacred to make these people sort of as I think it's the Marx term dead labor rather than living beings and I'm wondering if the idea that you are troubling now has a precedent and if that precedent could even further reinforce your argument in agreement with your comments this is not a new discovery and it's not something that was contrived in a Kadeem but of course this is something that has existed and and there's no there's no point I find in historicizing it just has been a reality in the practices of everyday life however those practices are coming up against the hegemonic and and so the interrogation is to disrupt the hegemonic to expose it to unravel it to see what sort of technologies and disciplines of power are operating upon particularly non-white subjectivities right so what what I'm trying to put the magnifying glass on which is already there is this thing which is another mode of existence and life that is outside of modern thought right modern notions of religion and this Western liberal narrative of secularity how are these discourses being used that's my question why why are people suspicious if we bring it to our contemporary context why are people suspicious of the black lives matter movement for what reason and of course those particular sorts of suspicions from a particular political inclination have reared their ugly head before right so I mean to to protest through the valence of black social life is violent not necessarily materially but that stance violently disrupts master settler colonial practices of enslavement right and so these courses are being used to manage to master to reign over particular subjectivity so my my point is to say these things are discourses of power these are sources of power and how are these sources of power being used to construct subjects that's that's the point now on the other end I mean that's the deconstructed piece but on the other hand there's this thing there's another mode of social life another reality beyond or outside of modern thought and the difficulty is that that we've been given a certain critical apparatus a certain critical vocabulary right you know in our our modern paradigm and it struggles to describe a manner of living that's beyond the very protocols of modernity right so the the challenge is how can we describe what we smell what we think about what we feel on the ground that's the difficulty right and and this thing this thing I'm trying to I'm trying to approach and trying to surface bring to surface you know as as something that is disruptive positive is is something that has existed from time immemorial and what I'm calling black social life but here's the thing I was trying to use this to speak to a broader audience because in the black lives matter movement there there's a strand of humanism what do I mean by that well we're approaching the universal through the particular the particular concrete experience of black Millennials and I said black money Millennials have something to teach all of us why because there's a universal content in there about humanity and about being human so the practice of black social life is not essential SEC you min ago it's not racial it's it's relational it's not according to our our diseased social imagination you know a phenotype and racialization there's another mode of social life right and black Millennials have stepped into a river a stream of liberation that has preceded them right it's the same thing that's happening same thing you know that was happening Black Power civil rights movement same thing that was happening you know within slavery and in the fields and in the Hall of the ship and you know before we even got here I'm not giving it a birth certificate it Jamestown 1619 right there's something there how would Thurman called it what what technologies of the Spirit caused you to survive right through the middle passage right there's something there which not only benefits black folk but benefits can benefit everybody right so yes I agree with you I choose very much appreciated that as someone who intentionally is living in Oakland which is one of the centers of black life movement and as a theologian and also I'm pastoring an african-american congregation but as a theologian with a lot of the quote white liberals around me trying to say there's something deeply theological going on here too so the way you've tried to you know say that the construct of the religious and the secular and the way we separate that it keeps us from seeing or from understanding I think it's very helpful because you know trying with working with these folks to understand dimensions of racism there in Oakland it's very difficult because they're operating under those categories in the black lives movements and in some of the leaders I met with help us to see and so I appreciate very much what you're doing my question are much different and maybe you have some it's about there we can talk later but I hope you're doing this is a bigger work that it's a part of I hope but I would like to hear in the remaining minutes a little bit of dialogue you know we got to two sets of very different kinds of presentations and I think how as we move in this highly polarized society we can move beyond what black lives matter where you know all of the things the last two papers were getting at and in fact what we're dealing with there are we dealing with a bifurcation where you see the Southern Baptists and the you know the the followers of trumpet cetera on two different wavelengths or is there some way of connecting that small question I actually had a question for our first presenter for my mate how do I see your name Louisa you talked about the resentments that have been broiling with the women in the tea party or that maybe not exclusively with the women and you talked about since 2009 but it's interesting in my own research I'm the penal system because I would actually historic as far as 1966 or even 1968 and I wondered if you could speak to the rise of Nixon the working-class or what do they call it the white working-class voters who are now making up the Republican base and of how that ties in to the rise of the Tea Party and the political thinking of these women because I think it is very related in terms of resistance to an integrated Society at the rise at the penal system the emergence of black lives matter all of that a lot of what you see in the white Christian nationalism of what I would say is I would just back up and say part of the purpose of the research is to locate what's happening now kind of back like locating the beginning of the you know Trump's rise Trump's ascendance with the Tea Party but particularly looking at the discourse of women the kind of gendered discourse and a lot of way that that is reflected is in these and and I thought I had five minutes left after I read three pages and so I was like rushing through so anyway part of that is located in a REIT when I'm going back to the kind of rebirth narrative she pretty women really focus a lot on birthing citizens not just the home as the sphere of politics and who's in and who's out and then part of that notion of raising citizens in the context of like white Christianity is a repeat of the dog whistle a repeat of the Southern Strategy so there's nothing new Under the Sun the new form that it's taken is it came in response to you know the first black president so it's a recruit essence of that particular formulation but you're right it's not in terms of the racial tropes they're not new they've just taken on like it's old wine and new wineskins if you will right so I was gonna ask you about this question it's right fits with this you named the Revolutionary War the Civil War and the Tea Party movement right and the Tea Party maybe as this you call it like the third founding and I was wondering where's the civil rights movement and that like it seems like that there's there are at least a reaction to the civil rights movement that was about this er shift from white Southern Democrats to white Southern Republicans right was all about that happened really with Reagan it was all about a reaction to the Democratic Party becoming the party of civil rights essentially and and like would you sort of ground or how would you link back up the sort of white nationalism we're seeing now to that initial sort of white flight from the Democratic Party and South to the Republican Party I mean this isn't like I don't think that that's unconnected from the historical narrative I'm trying to draw part of by a point of focusing on the three foundings was really thinking back to how black gains but this is where it's relevant black gains especially you know the threat of white citizenship the threat of black sovereignty the threat of black embodiment of the kind of Lockean ideal leads to these kinds of for trench myths both in public policy and then in terms of how that comes out in the form of statism government popular leadership so that would be something that fits in the trajectory it wasn't something I was focusing on it kind of at the macro level in a sense of like founding and the narrative of refounding America and taking America back but precisely in terms of party realignment and other kinds of trends at the level the micro level yeah so I was like kind of you know ratcheting out to a bigger theme but but absolutely it fits there back to is it Reema's question as well do we have one more question all right so we do one more question here yeah thank you all so much for sharing your work with us this is really really interesting and productive and I have I've been trying to formulate a specific question for a minute but I can't quite do it so I more want to raise a couple of themes that I saw across the papers that I think are really interesting is especially in the rise of the Religious Right right in the sort of co-optation of religious conservative ISM by the Republican Party in the marriage of those two things one of the foundational narratives in the spark moments of that was about change in the IRS tax system to go after de facto segregated Christian schools right and so as the sort of techniques and discourses of colorblind racism are being formulated language about taxation is used a lot in that in sort of discourses around taxation and around IRS policies and things like that in welfare system especially it become one way of using a sort of colorblind rhetoric to maintain power structures and within that though clearly within religious right discourses at least religious ideas about personal responsibility individual sovereignty and things are used to provide theodicies for the suffering of black people that is not going to be alleviated because of changes in the white in the welfare system so is wondering if you could if if in your research if any of you have seen some threads between the way that these discourses of Taxation and colorblindness and religious theodicies all weave together in in really interesting and subtle ways to preserve power structures I would say this is not something I'm deeply familiar with but I do think there are multiple ways in which that can happen so this is again not something I do research on but I'm thinking about some of my familiarity with school systems and how they're funded I'm thinking about the connections between what's called the school-to-prison pipeline and the maintenance of power by say passing the minimum sentence drug laws and keeping people in prison for very long periods of time and how there's a kind of political economy that results from that so again I'm not so versed in taxes but I think you're onto something in terms of thinking about the maintenance of political power and place or space and revenue guarding and and how certain bodies are associated with certain places how racialized that is I think there's a larger narrative or a larger picture to deconstruct that is as you say interrelated this join me in giving our presenters one more hand Klaus thank you so much so we're gonna have now we're gonna adjourn this actual discussion but we are going to have right down here on the front our religion and politics unit meeting anyone is welcome whether it's your first meeting or your veteran please come down if you really want to have a discussion we're gonna talk about the call for papers for next year and also said we have two openings on the steering committee so nominations will be welcome as well so just take six time to gather down here at the front and we'll kick it off in just a couple of minutes

Otis Rodgers

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