By Andy Hale
They say that you should never meet your heroes. Generally speaking, I have had a good run of meeting people I admire. But I’ll spare you the list of my childhood heroes since you’ll probably have a hearty laugh at my expense.
We tend to iconize and exaggerate the character, achievements, and qualities of the people we admire. In reality, it is a projection of our inner psyche of the desires we wish we embodied or possessed.
And that’s why so many people have a hard time coming to terms with the countless historical and contemporary figures experiencing a social reckoning for their views and roles in systemic racism, bigotry, sexism, and xenophobia. In a sense, recognizing and denouncing such acts by people we have admired requires us to come to terms with our viewpoints and actions. The last time I checked, the overwhelming number of human beings willing to admit they have gotten wrong is fewer than we care to admit.
In her book, White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America, Dr. Anthea Butler gives insight into the unfortunate history of such atrocities within the Evangelical movement.
“For evangelicals, ‘Christian race,’ America, and belief are synonymous. Christianity is whiteness as well as belief. It is this conflation that causes evangelicals to ignore racism,” said Butler on the CBF Podcast.
We sat down with the Professor of Religious Studies and Graduate Chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania about the historical trajectory of Evangelicalism, in which the vast majority of White Evangelical Americans support a political engine fueled by hatred, power, and racism.
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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy