Jesus, Guns, Babies, and the shallow sewers of racial stereotypes
· · Feb 22, 2022 ·

I suppose if you're in a Georgia gubernatorial Republican primary race against two heavy-hitters, incumbent Brian Kemp and the state's former Senator David Perdue, you have to make a splash in order to draw media attention to your campaign. If so, count it as mission accomplished for educator-turned-candidate Kandiss Taylor, who made waves all over social media with the election slogan tattooed to her campaign bus:

"Jesus, Guns, Babies" is certainly unique enough to draw interest from around the political spectrum, even if the majority of it was critical. As a Christian myself, I wrote my own reaction to co-opting the name of Christ in an effort to advance our own agendas in a recent Memo, but have also been amazed by the outlandish responses emanating elsewhere, like this:

And then there have been those reactions that remarkably, even if predictably, managed to find a racial component to the slogan.

I like Vischer and appreciate what I believe are his earnest efforts to encourage faithful Christians to consider the perspectives and conditions of others within the Church whose experiences in American culture have been different from our own. I don't mind being challenged in my thinking or being asked to consider a theological assessment that is new or different. Test everything against the Word of God, keep what is consistent, and discard that which conflicts. That's biblical discernment 101.

But part of good discernment is to be aware of those statements or rhetorical bombs that seem intended to divide the body of Christ and provoke disunity rather than inform and engage. I think Vischer's observation, bizarrely injecting a race-based generalization in an effort to poke fun is a questionable way to "spur one another on towards love and good deeds" as the writer of Hebrews tells us to do.

I'm not ignorant of the reality that it is common to refer to "black Protestantism" or "black churches," and therefore acknowledging the existence of predominantly or historically white congregations isn't inappropriate. But I'm not persuaded that these sociological distinctions with which the world make sense of things is the best model for Christians to adopt when interacting with one another.

There are certainly black Christians who would support a candidate that acknowledges the sovereignty of Christ, the sanctity of life and family, and the value of the 2nd Amendment's protection of self-defense, even as they cringe at the tacky sloganeering. Simultaneously, there are more than a few of us white Christians who have no use for any candidate spouting QAnon conspiracies, especially when they tie the Savior's name to it. It seems a commentator of Vischer's stature would better serve the Church by noting that unifying reality as opposed to offering some lazy, ham-fisted indictment of a supposedly monolithic "white church."

Again, I don't object to Christian critique of bad candidates. And any office-seeker who presents themselves as "the one" we've been waiting for likely possesses the same disqualifying narcissism as the last guy who did:

But playing into collective racial stereotypes that the world uses to divide surely should not be the impulse of a Spirit-led believer anxious to fulfill Christ's call for unity in His Church. Not only is it counterproductive to our larger spiritual mission, it also facilitates the very demeaning disregard for individual uniqueness that so frequently manifests in worldly corners like the Washington Post:

Christians should and must be better than to play in these shallow, ungodly sewers of race-based stereotypes if we have any hope at coaxing worldly people out of them.


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