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Racism, "Whitelash", True Diversity and The Episcopal Church

Racism, "Whitelash", True Diversity and The Episcopal Church

By David W. Virtue, DD
November 21, 2016

There are lessons to be learned in the recent election that saw Clinton lose and Trump win, and there are implications for the Episcopal Church and North American Anglicanism in general.

The rhetoric of diversity played right into Trump's hands. If aggrieved groups like African-Americans, Latinos, LGBT and women voters are played up while the rest of America falls into the category of "deplorables" then if you are a "deplorable" or feel you are one, or maybe just a white working stiff trying to make a living in the rust belt or some other impoverished area, or if you are a person with strongly held religious convictions like white evangelicals and some Catholics, then you are bound to feel excluded...and feel excluded they did.

Mrs. Clinton played to her base of millennials, women, LGBT, Wall Street Masters of the Universe, progressives of one sort or another and she hoped that the two coasts would coast her to victory. They didn't. She forgot the "great unwashed" and, like a Tsunami wave they washed right over her and she put the three-time married real estate and casino magnate right into the White House. (Please stop blaming FBI head Comey he had nothing to do with it.)

Some 80 percent of white Evangelicals took to the ballot boxes and the jig was up.

The moral is obvious, that you had better mention ALL groups in America if you want to win, and there is a lesson here for Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the church's first black Presiding Bishop. It's not just that Black Lives Matter, ALL Lives Matter.

In his call for Episcopalians to get on board with the Jesus Movement he is constantly beating the drum about racism without naming who the racists are. Screaming blanket statements in TEC about racism will only alienate, in time, the 95% of white men and women who pay the bills and who are decidedly not racists, unless he tells us who they are and he won't.

Mark Lilla writing in the New York Times said that Mr. Trump won in large part because he managed to transform economic disadvantage into racial rage -- the "whitelash" thesis. This is convenient because it sanctions a conviction of moral superiority and allows liberals to ignore what those voters said were their overriding concerns. It also encourages the fantasy that the Republican right is doomed to demographic extinction in the long run -- which means liberals have only to wait for the country to fall into their laps. The surprisingly high percentage of the Latino vote that went to Mr. Trump should remind us that the longer ethnic groups are here in this country, the more politically diverse they become."

Bishop Curry might experience his own "whitelash" if he carries on as he is doing. He might get the support of his bishops who long ago rolled over on diversity and inclusion, but the laity have minds of their own and for those who have not completely dumbed down on pansexuality and the modernizing '79 Prayer Book, they might rise up in revolt and leave.

The rise of the Anglican Church in North America should give him pause as to what happens when you abandon 'the Faith once for all delivered to the saints'.

If Curry continues to link the Jesus Movement with anti-racism training, he will only alienate the vast majority of Whites who feel he doesn't speak for them but who he insists must grovel at his black feet for enlightenment.

In the end it might be Curry and his bishops who feel excluded as White Episcopalians feel they are being dissed and will no longer take it. So far 120,000 Episcopalians have walked out the red doors and joined the ACNA. More could follow.


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