THE BLOG
11/18/2016 04:18 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Defense Of White Conservative Christians

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Seriously.

What is it about white conservative Christians that makes some people lose their freaking minds? It’s like everyone wants us to believe that these people are the next coming of the Nazi party.

It’s gotten ridiculous.

Is it possible that most of them aren’t the evil, racist monsters people think they are? I think so.

This post is a response to an article written by John Pavlovitz entitled “White, Conservative Christian Friends --- I Wish You Really Were Pro-Life.”

In this piece, he excoriates white conservative Christians. He unfairly attacks these people and labels them as bigoted, close-minded folks who don’t care about people who don’t look like them.

The main point he’s making in this piece is that white conservative Christians only care about the lives of people who look just like them. They don’t want lives snuffed out in the womb, but they don’t care about these same lives after they come into the world.

As a black conservative Christian, I don’t buy it. And since the this type of vitriol is so popular, I was compelled to write a rebuttal.

Why?

Because most of the things he says in this article are untrue, but they’re accepted as fact because most people won’t bother to take a closer look. I’m writing this to give you the other side.

I’ve actually read some of Pavlovitz’s material and I don’t disagree with a lot of the things he says. But in this instance, I disagree strongly.

By the way, I’m not a Trump supporter. I’m not writing this for political reasons. I just don’t think it’s right to demonize a group of people just because you don’t agree with them.

This post is going to show you why Pavlovitz is dead wrong about white conservative Christians. I’m going to address the main points he makes in his article and show you why they’re not accurate.

Read on...

 

Islamic Terrorism

Here’s what Pavlovitz has to say about the treatment of Muslims...

“Because if that life you say you so treasure, one day converts to Islam, you label it dangerous, you see it as a threat, you applaud suggestions of its expulsion, you deny it open worship.”

Hmmm. Okay. So are the vast majority of white conservative Christians labeling ALL Muslims as dangerous?

Is this really happening?

As far as I know, we’ve not heard stories of white conservative Christians preventing Muslims from doing their daily prayers, attending mosque, or participating in other religious activities.

Here’s the reality: Conservative Christians don’t care if someone converts to Islam. They don’t care of someone practices Islam --- as long as their practice of Islam doesn’t drive them to kill innocent people. Call me crazy, but I don’t think anyone of any race or religious belief is okay with radical Islamists detonating bombs in their neighborhoods.

Are there people who hate Muslims? Sure. Wherever there’s ignorant people, there will be bigotry. But the notion that most white conservative Christians hate Muslims is absurd. Muslims enjoy rights in this country that Christians wouldn’t be allowed to have in most Muslim countries. It’s a fact.

Our constitution guarantees that we have the freedom to practice our religion. White conservative Christians are not denying that right to Muslims.

 

LGBTQ

“If that life eventually comes out as LGBTQ, you condemn its soul, harass it in your workplace and church, try to prevent its marriage, tell it where and when it can use a public bathroom. You bully it and drive it to suicide.”

Wow.

I had no idea that large numbers of white conservative Christians were running around condemning the souls of homosexual and transgendered folks. I didn’t know that white conservative Christians were harassing LGBTQ people en masse.

The fact is, this isn’t happening.

Yes, there are horrible people who bully homosexuals and transgendered people. It’s tragic. It’s wrong.

The few who do engage in this type of behavior are NOT reflecting the values that Christ teaches. They’re reflecting their own hateful values.

But most white conservative Christians who disagree with the lifestyles of homosexuals and transgendered people are NOT responsible for driving these people to suicide. Pavlovitz is blaming the majority of white conservative Christians for the actions of a few hateful people.

Black Lives Matter

“If that life has brown skin and wears baggy pants and gets gunned down during a traffic stop, you not only have little grief over its loss, but readily blame it for its own execution.”

This is obviously a huge issue right now, isn’t it? I've written about this myself. There is some truth to this. But not in the way most people think.

When a police officer shoots a black man, there’s a knee-jerk reaction on both sides. Police supporters automatically assume the officer was justified in the shooting. On the other side, people automatically assume the officer unjustly used deadly force because...racism!

Pavlovitz argues that white conservative Christians are not pro- all life. But here’s the thing: both sides are pro- all life. One side is concerned about the life of the police officer. The other side is more concerned with the life of the victim.

It’s understandable.

I think the real problem here is that both sides are failing to look at each of these incidents objectively. They end defend cops who commit unjust shootings. They defend the victims who acted in a way that got them killed.

There is faulty thinking on both sides; not just the white conservative Christian side.

 

Death Penalty

“If that life is strapped to a prison gurney and pumped full of drugs that will cease its lungs from expanding while its terrified mind comprehends it all, you celebrate the occasion as justice being served—after a last meal you resent having to pay for.”

As someone who is against the death penalty, I’m almost inclined to agree with Pavlovitz on this point. But here’s the thing...the point he’s making in his article is that white conservative Christians only care about the lives of people that look like them.

But it isn’t true.

Here’s a fun fact: since 1976, 55.6% of defendants who were executed were white. If white conservative Christians only cared about people who look like them, wouldn’t they be against the death penalty?

According to a report from the Death Penalty Information Center, 59% of white evangelical Christians support the death penalty while 34% oppose it. 52% of white mainline Christians support the death penalty while 40% oppose it.

So, the majority of white Christians do support the death penalty. I’ll give you that. But there is still a large number of white Christians who oppose it.

 

Poverty

“If that life has to endure its formative years in overcrowded, grossly underfunded public schools, you tell it to “pull itself up by its own bootstraps”, while nestled in the cloistered, privileged gated community of a Suburbia where bootstraps come with a birth certificate.”

You can easily see that this point is false if you actually take the time to find out what the conservative position on poverty is. The fact that conservatives don’t believe that government entitlements are the answer doesn’t mean they don’t care about the poor.

Conservatives have their own ideas on dealing with poverty. They just involve solutions that are different from the liberal position. Sure, you can disagree with their solution, but you can’t characterize them as unfeeling people who just think that the poor should just “pull themselves up by the bootstraps.”

By the way, most white people aren’t living in the lap of luxury. A lot of the people living in poverty are actually white. I’m sure a lot of these are conservative Christians.

Healthcare

“If that life needs healthcare because its undeveloped heart can barely beat on its own, you’re suddenly empty of empathy and low on generosity—unless it can pull its own weight and pay the premiums.”

This is disingenuous.

There’s no reason to believe that the majority of white conservative Christians are “empty of empathy and low on generosity.” Like I was saying before, the fact that conservatives might have a different opinion on how to deal with health care doesn’t automatically mean they don’t care about the sick.

Conservatives believe that people should have health care. They just don’t believe that healthcare should be run by the government. They believe that if someone can afford to pay for their healthcare, then they should. Those who can’t pay should still be able to get health care.

Pavlovitz seems to imply that white conservatives believe that those who can’t pay for health care should just be left to die. That’s simply not true. It’s just another attempt to demonize white conservative Christians.

 

Sexual Assault

If that life is sexually assaulted you want to blame it for its promiscuity and immodesty, and wonder why it didn’t just keep its legs closed and why it can’t just move on and why it is so easily offended by “locker room banter.”

I'm not really sure where this even comes from. I haven't seen a whole heck of a lot of white conservative Christians take the position that sexual assault victims should just “keep their legs closed.” Have you?

Yes, of courses there are jerks who blame the victim. We know this.

However, I have no reason to believe that the majority of white conservative Christians do this. Honestly, I’ve never met one who does. I don’t think I’ve even seen one on TV?

Where are these large number of horrible white conservative Christians that think rape is the fault of the victim?

Here’s the thing...these people are more likely to want to throw the book at people who sexually assault women. They’re probably more likely to want harsher punishments for these criminals, so I’m not understanding where Pavlovitz is coming from on this.

 

Military

If that life is one day sent overseas to defend liberties here; separated from spouses, children, and parents and placed directly in harm’s way, you’re far more cavalier exposing its vulnerability and far less concerned about whether or not it is sacred.

Okay, last time I checked, the draft has not been reinstated. Although I haven’t checked in awhile. Hold on while I check again...yep, there’s still no draft. So every person who is serving in our military is doing so by choice.

The fact that white conservative Christians support the military doesn't mean they are somehow not pro all life. The very idea is ridiculous. If someone wants to fight for our country, most Americans support that.

And it’s not just white conservative Christians.

As a black man, I support our troops. I respect what they do. As a matter of fact, it seems to me that most Americans support the troops regardless of their race, religion, or creed.

 

Illegal Immigration

If that life doesn’t reside in the continental US or speak English and comes here fleeing oppression, poverty, and war you’ll never understand, you ask it to go back and “go through the proper channels”, instead of the barely sea-worthy makeshift raft or the stinking, stifling storage container it nearly died in trying to get here.

Interesting.

So when white conservative Christians say we need to enforce our immigration laws, it means they’re not pro - all life?

Every country has immigration laws. It’s part of being a country. We’re not the only country who has these laws. As a matter of fact, most other countries are far more aggressive in enforcing their immigration laws than we are. If you don’t believe me, take a look at how Mexico treats their illegal immigrants.

Does this mean they’re not pro - all life too?

I’m not for rounding up every illegal immigrant and sending them back to their home country. It’s not feasible, and it’s probably not right. Guess what? Most white conservative Christians feel the same way.

However, there’s nothing wrong with making sure that we’re preventing as much illegal immigration as we can. In 2014, we had 1,016,518 legal immigrants who were granted citizenship. 13% (the highest) were from Mexico. Nobody has a problem with that. Not even white conservative Christians.

The issue isn’t whether or not we should allow immigrants to come into our country. The issue is whether or not we should ensure that immigrants are entering our country legally.

 

Conclusion

Look, I totally get it.

It’s fun to make white conservative Christians sound like bigoted, sexist, islamophobic, homophobic, racists morons. If there’s one group that it’s actually okay to slander, it’s this group.

So much for tolerance, right?

Are there white conservative Christians who are bigoted jerks who don’t care about people who don’t look like them? Of course.

Guess what? Other races and cultures do this too. Some even more so.

But you can’t take the attitudes of a small number of people and then pretend as if it represents the majority of the group. It simply doesn’t work. When it’s done to a minority, it’s called racism. When it’s done to white conservative Christians, nobody bats an eye.

If we want real change, we need to be able to have an actual exchange of ideas instead of just trying to find ways to make the other side look like awful people just to avoid having to hear arguments you don’t agree with. The only way we can move forward in this country is if we choose to engage with one another in a way that is productive.