The following video, where I give a short talk on racism and the church, was produced in June 2016 by the General Commission of Religion and Race of the United Methodist Church.
As a committed liberationist-leaning Christian, I may have no choice but to say the Shahada and convert to Islam if I wish to be faithful to my beliefs. One of the bedrock principles of any liberative faith tradition is “solidarity with the oppressed.” I discover my own salvation when I cast my lot with the poor and wretched of the world. The persecution Trump is unleashing on our Muslim brothers and sisters requires faithful Christians (and faithful Jews, and faithful Hindus, and faithful Buddhists, and faithful Humanists) to take a stand against persecution of anyone due to their faith, or lack thereof.
After prayer and discernment, I have decided if this administration attempts to update and reintroduce a screening and tracking system of Muslims, I will join former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and several prominent Jews in placing my name on the Muslim registry. I stand ready to register as Muslim in #solidarity.
Since the start of the twentieth century, Christian religion scholars from the dominant culture – specifically ethicists – shifted their focus on how to live the Christian life via praxis toward the nature of ethics, wrestling more with abstract questions concerned with what is the common good and/or which virtues to cultivate. An attempt is made to understand the world, but lacking the ability to differentiate within disenfranchised communities between a “blink and a wink,” à la Geertz, their final analysis lacks gravitas. Teaching religion has become a process which [de]liberates not liberates. While abstract deliberations at times might prove sympathetic to the plight of the oppressed, the first casualty of abstract thought is rigorous academic discussions concerned with how to construct a more just social structure based on faith claims.
The 20th century has been defined by the rise of the U.S. Empire. President Theodore Roosevelt introduced “gun boat diplomacy” and “speaking softly but carrying a big stick,” policies which laid the foundation for the development of today’s multinational corporations. Roosevelt’s foreign policy described how the full force of the U.S. military, specifically the marines, were at the disposal of U.S. corporations, specifically the United Fruit Company, to protect business interests.