Over at the Texas Observer, I interviewed groundbreaking lesbian feminist theologian Rev. Dr. Carter Heyward. Her new book unpacks the deep historic and modern ties between Christianity and white supremacy, and explains why Christians—and everyone who benefits unconsciously from white supremacy—needs to act more.
One thing that jumped out at me while reading your book is a lot of times you’ll see, especially on social media, Christians acting very defensive when another Christian does something offensive. “That’s not who we are,” they’ll say. I appreciated your approach, which is a bit more nuanced and asks Christians to take responsibility.
Yes, I think that’s exactly right. My hope is that people in general, but Christians in particular, might take a look at this book and talk with each other about the issues it raises. My thesis is that all Christians are involved in the problem, not just right-wing Christians, not just left-wing Christians. I’m very progressive and that’s clear from page one. Fine with me. I’m also saying I hope you won’t dismiss it just because you’re more conservative than I am.
My big complaint about the liberal church I grew up in is that it’s been so silent on matters of social justice. I’ve known since I was a teenager, maybe since I was a child, that the teachings of Jesus to love thy neighbor really needed to apply to a lot of stuff in our society, beginning with questions about race relations. Why were the churches, the predominantly white churches, so quiet on that? And that would still be my question today: Why don’t liberal churches speak up? We can’t blame stuff on the conservative churches if we’re just going about our business. And together with our more conservative Christian brothers and sisters and siblings, we probably could find some ways, maybe not all the time on every issue, but on many issues we could find ways of giving and taking and compromising more than we do.