brown university pantip Preaching at the crossroads of faith and justice rev. miguel de la torre argues christians must remove the scales from their eyes inland 360

“A lot of us, including myself, were not surprised with the result of the election. We did not have the anxiety or shock. It’s always been there under a veneer of political correctness. What trump has done has torn away that veneer,” said rev. Brown university providence rhode island usa miguel de la torre, an ordained southern baptist minister and nationally recognized scholar and activist.

De la torre was born in cuba months before the cuban revolution. His family migrated to the united states as refugees when he was an infant. Today he is a professor of social ethics and latinx studies at the iliff school of theology in denver, colo. He’ll speak in pullman for the 38th roger williams symposium sponsored by the common ministry at washington state university and the foley institute.

De la torre’s talks and sermons come with controversial titles like “was jesus a racist” and “the death of christianity.” before his visit, inland 360 talked to him about his work, which flies in the face of what many of his evangelical colleagues preach.

“one reason I remain (a southern baptist minister) is that it provides me an avenue to speak to a segment of the population that normatively would not want to hear from me. In a way, it’s a subversive act to stay with the southern baptists,” de la torre said in a phone interview.

“the death of christianity” stems from an op-ed I wrote last november. Since then I’ve written a book based on that op-ed, “burying white privilege: resurrecting badass christianity,” which comes out dec. 7. The thesis of the article, lecture and book is, no. 1, this country never had christianity. From the very beginning it was this religiosity that justified killing indians, enslaving blacks and the stealing of lands from other countries. The god they worshiped had nothing to say about these atrocities. To quote my friend (theologian) james cone, this is a satanic god. It is not jesus.

I wonder if there ever was a christianity on these shores? Even if there was, even if I’m totally wrong, with this last election in which the vast majority of christians — not just evangelicals, although they were the majority, but also catholics, protestants, mormons, white christians — overwhelmingly voted for trump, how does one reconcile an individual, an individual whose life messages have been race-based and sexist-based?

I should explain, when I say white I am not speaking about skin pigmentation. Brown university transcript I am speaking about an ideology that embraces a white supremacy. So, in a very real way, a supreme court justice clarence thomas is very white, regardless of skin pigmentation. In the same way, people with white skin pigmentation are really worshiping the god of the oppressed:

When they hear this, they are challenged by it and they wrestle with it, and that’s the hope of any author who is trying to convey these ideas. And then there are those who simply dismiss me as an angry latino and, as long as I’m described as angry, everything I say can be disregarded. Address for brown university that’s a way of silencing me.

I basically argue that the first thing is to reject white christianity, ontological whiteness. This is important for people who are marginalized, who have been so colonized they see themselves through the definitions of the dominant white culture. The first thing for those of us on the margins is to decolonize our minds.

For example, from a gender perspective, women who respond to god as he, thus reinforcing the patriarchy that oppresses them. By literally giving god a penis it submits everything to the patriarchy. Understand god beyond gender or by embracing the feminine god, the god that gives birth, the god that nourishes creation, the things that men cannot do. That’s what I mean by crucifying or rejecting.

While in pullman you’ll also present your documentary, “trails of hope and tears.” you wrote the screenplay and your son was the cinematographer and you traveled to mountains and deserts along the U.S./mexico border to detail the current immigration crisis.

How we have responded with a policy where, literally, every four days, five brown bodies perish in the desert. We have to stop and think about it. We have a policy on the books that literally creates a genocide where brown bodies are perishing. It’s similar to the jim and jane crow policies of the last century.

When NAFTA was signed it developed operation gatekeeper. It militarizes the border, forcing people to the most hazardous lands dividing both countries. We literally said, yes, we know they’re going to die, but that’s OK because it’s going to deter other people from crossing the border. It’s a deterrent policy.

When we separate children from their parents we make it so horrific for the immigrant that they won’t come. The deterrent policy not only creates a policy where every four days five people die but now we have revised a past policy of separating children from parents. We separated black children from slave mothers and sold them. We separated indian children from their parents and sent them to boarding schools. Brown university scores now we’re continuing the same policy, as if we’ve learned nothing from history.