White Christian Privilege?

On April 5, 2016, there was an Excellence in Leadership Seminar at George Washington University:

Christian Privilege: But our Founding Fathers Were All Christian, Right?!

How do Christians in the USA experience life in an easier way than non-Christians? Even with the separation of Church and State, are there places where Christians have built-in advantages over non-Christians? How do we celebrate Christian identities and acknowledge that Christians receive unmerited perks from institutions and systems all across our country? Let’s reflect upon ways we can live up to our personal and national values that make room for all religious and secular identities on an equal playing field. All are welcome!

Learning Objectives:
• Participants will be able to describe what is meant by privilege overall and white privilege specifically.
• Participants will be able to describe the role of denial when it comes to white privilege.
• Participants will be able to differentiate between equality and equity.
• Participants will be able to list at least three examples of Christian privilege.
• Participants will be able to list at least three ways to be an ally with a non-Christian person.

Presented by Timothy Kane, Multicultural Student Services Center (MSSC)

First, how about some context. Who is Timothy Kane? According to his LinkedIn profile, he is The Associate Director, Inclusion Initiatives at The George Washington University, [I] Direct the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center and oversee Religious Life since April 2011. He has Graduate Certificates from GWU for Islamic Studies, International Education, and HIV-AIDS Studies; A Masters of Theology, Justice and Peace Studies from the Maryknoll School of Theology; Master of Divinity, Justice and Peace Studies from Harvard University; Bachelor of Arts, Religion/Religious Studies from Hamilton College.

He is also the President and Co-Founder of Niche2Norm Consulting which deals in “LGBT, Interfaith & Civic Engagement.” Also, on his LinkedIn page, he displays videos of presentations made to a couple of US Embassies on the topic of LGBTQIA – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer, Intersex, Asexual. I suppose topics of interest to the State Department.

According to The College Fix:

“Kane also hosts the “heterosexual privilege,” “cisgender privilege,” “abled-body privilege,” and “socioeconomic privilege” workshops. White privilege is a specific focus in each of these training sessions, according to the multicultural center’s website.”

The College Fix also points out that his online Bio states he is a “proud gay member of the LGBT community.” I’ll have to take their word for it because the link to his online GWU Bio currently brings up page not found. Isn’t that typical?

What are peace and justice studies. According to Creighton University’s description of their program:

The Justice and Peace Studies Program uses theology and the social sciences to explore the systems, structures, and policies that can advance justice and peace in the world, and helps students discern how to live their vocation as men and women for and with others.

According to Harvard Divinity:

The walls of HDS are porous. The worlds within them flow from and to the worlds beyond them. Throughout every academic year, the desire to redress systemic injustice and to ease its myriad sufferings lives vibrantly in the projects and concerns of our student body. While religious conviction fuels this desire for some of us, our common human hope for a world of integrity and peace often provides enough common ground for us to make common cause with one another. Peace and Justice Studies Harvard Divinity School

That almost made me swoon.

I tried to find the Maryknoll description for peace and justice studies. All I could find was they canned their program in 1994.

Peace and justice studies sounds a heck of lot like Liberation theology to me:

Liberation theology, religious movement arising in late 20th-century Roman Catholicism and centered in Latin America. It sought to apply religious faith by aiding the poor and oppressed through involvement in political and civic affairs. It stressed both heightened awareness of the “sinful” socioeconomic structures that caused social inequities and active participation in changing those structures. …

… Because of their insistence that ministry should include involvement in the political struggle of the poor against wealthy elites, liberation theologians were often criticized—both formally, from within the Roman Catholic Church, and informally—as naive purveyors of Marxism and advocates of leftist social activism. By the 1990s the Vatican, under Pope John Paul II, had begun to curb the movement’s influence through the appointment of conservative prelates in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America. Encyclopedia Britannica

We looked at all of that to surmise that Mr. Kane is a subsidized social justice warrior at an institution where the undergraduate 2018-2019 tuition and fees is estimated at $57,533. Shoo Lawdy! As they say over here in the hills.

Once upon a time, I asked a trusted member of the clergy about Liberation Theology and other variations one encounters, like peace and justice, in the new age. His response was clear and concise. To paraphrase him, Theos is God. A good way to remember it he said is The One. Logos is the study of God. Theology is the study of the one God as learned from Biblical scripture. Adding to or taking away from that is false theology. Simple enough for me.

Some years ago, I read David Limbaugh’s book Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christians. It is a thoroughly sourced account providing example upon example of how In America Christian exercise of religious liberty, especially any public exercise, is routinely challenged. If you want to have a view from the other side of Christian Privilege, or more definitively “White” Christian Privilege and in some articles that nearly made my eyes bleed further defined down as “White Male Christian Privilege”, this may be a good place to begin. If you prefer to remain close-minded on the topic, just type Christian privilege into your favorite search engine. There you’ll find a plethora of one-sided Christian privilege offerings. In the days of liberally controlled Internet search engines it is not surprising that a critical look or opposing view cannot be found on the first five pages of search results. It’s an effective way to suppress conflicting views as most look no further than the first or second page. Want to be the next billionaire? Figure out how to get around Google, Facebook, and Twitter and provide a tool and space to people who want to hear everyone’s view – equally. As I read the various takes on the topic, there remains burning questions. Are non-white Christians also privileged? My non-white Christian wife demands an answer.

Can we just remove the façade? This is not about Christian privilege or any of the other “privileged” groups Mr. Kane speaks about. It is just another war front in the decades old attacks on our national culture and heritage. It is also further attempt to eradicate the Moral authority that directly opposes everything Mr. Kane supports. Mr. Kane and others who share his views are given platforms at our nation’s most prestigious universities. They prepare students who with their impressive academic credentials will move far up the socioeconomic chain including politics and government. If a prominent opposing voice attempted to speak at one of these institutions there would be riots.

According to Mr. Kane, everyone is privileged except the groups he defends. For him and others like him, what is boils down to is in the United States of America you are disadvantaged unless you are a white male heterosexual Christian. Interesting to me how a white homosexual working at a prestigious university is disadvantaged. The Supreme Court says he can get married and if the Christian baker or Christian photographer refuses to promote his homosexual wedding he can successfully sue them into oblivion. Are there any white heterosexual Christians at George Washington University given the platform to provide reasoned opposing views?

Is this stuff dangerous? It is interesting to read that the Jews of the day discounted Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kemph and particularly his views toward the Jews.

Letter to Adolf Gemlich, September 16, 1919:

Anti-Semitism as a political movement should not and cannot be determined by factors of sentiment, but only by the recognition of the facts. These are the facts:

To begin with, Jewry is unqualifiedly a racial association and not a religious association. . . . Its influence will bring about the racial tuberculosis of the people.

Hence it follows: Anti-Semitism on purely emotional grounds will find its ultimate expression in the form of pogroms. Rational anti-Semitism, however, must lead to a systematic legal opposition and elimination of the special privileges which Jews hold, in contrast to the other aliens living among us (aliens’ legislation). Its final objective must unswervingly be the removal of the Jews altogether. Only a government of national vitality is capable of doing both, and never a government of national impotence.

Source: Jewish Virtual Library

I do not mean to imply that Mr. Kane is a NAZI or Adolf Hitler. But according to his views, a large part of American society is privileged and this case white and Christian. What then is his ultimate objective? What is his solution to the white Christian privilege problem? Is it “legal opposition and elimination of the special privileges… in contrast to the other(s)… living among us” or is it the removal of the [white Christians] altogether?

I’m betting he favors gun confiscation too.

© 2018 J. D. Pendry

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