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European colonization of America opened the door to the development of a societal structure built upon skin color and ancestry. Europeans placed themselves on top of a God-ordained pyramid of humanity.

The created hierarchy developed in orchestration between business ventures and theological support from the Christian church sustained oppression for centuries. The church worked hand in glove to promote, permit, and proselytize white supremacy through colonization. To many, this may be an inflammatory view based on personal encounters. However, if we further explore the historical record, the actions paint an alarming image that cannot be sanitized or "white-washed.”

The doctrine of discovery, enacted by many Papal Bulls during the 15th century, provided a legal and ecclesiastical framework in which God had uniquely blessed white, Christian Europeans. The doctrine gave Europeans the legitimate right to oppress all people into their religion and, at the same time, take the land and be the “new administrators.” In this way, European invaders, first Catholic and later Protestant, brought the sword and God's Word to a new land given to them by God for their conquering. This is a far cry from the story of brave discovers or refugees looking for freedom of worship is taught, and so begins the collaboration on all levels of power to instate racist systems.

There is no biological basis for any human being's superiority or inferiority based on the amount of melanin in their skin. The race is a social construction exploited by and for Europeans to enslave native Americans and committed genocide without remorse.

Centuries of execution and oppression brought the development of the ideology and theology of white supremacy. This idea of superiority found a willing participant in the church, which used Genesis 9:18-21 to validate its actions. In the biblical story, Noah curses Ham, who became the father of Canaan and represented the earth's darker people. This biblical curse provided a useful framework to justify unspeakable cruelties.

As slavery became institutionalized as a standard practice, the church aided in the Biblical narrative's accommodation to support white people as a master and indigenous people and Africans as servants.

Comfort over Conscious

The economic boom of enslaving other human beings led to a growth in wealth in Europe and throughout the colonies. For many Christian leaders, enslaved African and indigenous people's monetary value was worth more than any potential soul saved in following the gospel. In their quest for riches, enslavers separated families – children from mothers, husbands from wives, and brother from sister, believing that human beings were chattel - of similar value as livestock or cattle. The church's actions and its leaders were contradictory and hypocritical, for it was the same church that taught the family's value to their white parishioners.

Both the Protestant and Catholic church essentially choose comfort over reflection and ignored whether or not the society was living out the message of Jesus Christ. The comfort in maintaining systems of oppression provided ease for creating a community based on white supremacy.

The Civil War did not topple the pyramid structure based on fealty to white supremacist ideology and theological practices; legally defined oppression only morphed. Indeed, 528 years of building a society based on a false hierarchy of race continued in the Jim Crow era and continues today. The church developed the theology needed to maintain a way of life.

White people continued worshiping in their sanctuaries and preaching what they believe was the gift of God - whiteness. Their worship of God-given whiteness made their practice of superiority outside the church the other six days of the week much more comfortable. As such, churches were part and parcel in developing laws that conserved the power structures mainly in silence with only a handful of objections. Christians saw no contradiction between their faith and the racism they practiced in subtle yet ubiquitous ways.

The practice of racism in this country depends on political, social, and religious cooperation and unity alongside the church's complicity– White Supremacy. Christian faith has been so corrupted in the United States that it saw bondage by their own hands as morally right and, as a result, show the lack of moral grounding of these institutions and it's practitioners.

Still to this today, we continue to suffer and struggle with the impacts and practice of racist ideology created over five centuries ago. The large movements in the last decades for liberation and freedom still carry the heritage of centuries of brutal oppression and separation based on our skin color.

How can a country's built-in blood and pain produce something useful? This story is the same in countries throughout the continent. Reflections are the necessary steps to reconstruct a more just church and society. The church can choose to lead for justice as opposed to justifying oppression. As an active member of the Christian church, our mission and God-given command denounce the church’s role in supporting white supremacist ideology to bring real healing.

The church worked against the message of Christ and worked in concert with a doctrine of white supremacist ideology. If we want to return to the message of Jesus of Nazareth, we must deconstruct and de-entangle Christianity from these evil roots.

Yenny Delgado

Social psychologist and contextual theologian and Board member of Interwoven Congregations. She writes about the intersections between faith, ethnicity and politics.

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"Can I still participate in this if I'm not Christian?"

That's the message I received from a person last week. And so we realized it was time.

We always knew we were going to go this way. Begun out of Presbyterian roots, we knew that as 'Interwoven Congregations' we would be reaching out to Methodist, Lutheran, A.M.E., Catholic, Baptist, LDS, Quaker, Mennonite adherents and other friends within the Christian tradition. But we also knew that our call was to reach out beyond the Christian sphere to join hands with Jewish, Muslim, Baha'i, native American communities and people of other spiritual / faith traditions. Because the blight of racism affects us all in this nation, we need the wisdom and light, the heart and the hope, the energy and the imagination, the humor and the humility, the convictions and the compassion, the strength and the service of people of all faith traditions.

And for those who may not profess any particular faith tradition, we welcome your views and voice too.

So today, we officially extend our hands to those of all faiths, and invite you to join us -- or we'll join you! -- in efforts to promote racial justice and healing in our nation.

Peace be with you. שָׁלוֹם سلام hodéezyéél

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For decades woman activists and academics have advocated for equal rights:

· The right to vote

· The ability to work outside the home

· The possibility of staying single or marriage

· To study more than just teaching and nursing

· Graduate as an engineer, science, and another career considered masculine

· Participate in politics be a lawmaker and congresswoman.

As a result of these battles, women have won increased rights and access to opportunity, leading to greater autonomy in society. Women have made history; however, these achievements have not always been well received.

This year commemorates 100 years since white women from across the United States could vote. Later, due to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which removed many discriminatory voting practices, Black and Indigenous women around the country won the right to vote. Despite having the right to vote there has never been a female President or Vice-President.

On November 7, 2020, the news was finally official. The United States elected Joseph R. Biden as President and Kamala Harris as the 49th Vice-President (VP). Since the United States’ creation, there have been 48 Vice Presidents, and all were white men.

Vice-Presidents have all been European descendants, including: slaveholders, grandchildren of slaveholders, abolitionists, segregationists, Protestant Christians, defenders of patriarchy, conservatives, Catholics, moderates, Republicans, Democrats, but all 48 were men.

The arrival of Kamala Harris as Vice President is not only symbolic but historical. Kamala is a woman, a mestiza woman, with a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, identified as an Afro and Asian descendant in a country that rejects mix and blackness.

She was born at the end of segregation and the beginning of the integration process. She knows firsthand about discrimination, not only for being a woman but for being a woman of color in a society that values and measures you not only for your professional career but above all for your skin color.

Kamala is not white. She is not a descendant of Europeans, which breaks the mold that has guided the United States. VP-elect Harris’ election is symbolic in addressing the white supremacy ideology and patriarchy preached by the powerful for centuries.

Kamala said, full of hope and much honesty “I may be the first woman to hold this office. But I won’t be the last.”

Today we have the first female, black, and Asian American vice president in the United States. In reading numerous comments from white women on social media, it is clear that the sting and hurt from the loss of Hillary Clinton in 2016 is still very much present.

Has the loss from 2016 lead to paralysis to celebrate other women’s accomplishments? Perhaps some women believe having a woman as the 2nd place on the ticket is only “second best.”

This reaction of hurt – pain – suffering does raise my suspicion as it tracks incredibly well with what Robin DiAngelo writes in White Fragility in terms of why some white people find it hard to talk about racism. I imagine that for many white women and feminists, the work in building bridges and opportunities perhaps was not intended for women of color to cross over first.

Maybe it is also the shock that the daughter of immigrants, a mestiza and color woman, is the one who broke the patriarchal mold of white male Vice Presidents; and laying the foundations for women in the future. Not to mention that the VP-elect Kamala Harris might run and potentially become the first female president of the United States.

Are white women ready to support Kamala Harris as the VP of the United States?

Yenny Delgado (she/her/ella) Social psychologist and contextual theologian and member of the Board of Interwoven Congregations. She writes about the intersections between politics, race and faith.

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