There are consequences when Christian people try to make accommodation with political power that coerces compliance. In our country right now those consequences are killing black people.
In a difficult to read, but profoundly prophetic piece, William Lamar explains what is happening and lays the blame at the feet of the white evangelical Christians.
Political systems require a theological system. Constantine glommed onto Christianity to strengthen Rome. The French, British and Dutch empires all used the signs and symbols of Christianity to plunder and to pillage. Norman Vincent Peale and Billy Graham were largely quiescent in the face of American warmongering abroad and racialized violence at home. (Integrating revivals is hardly enough.)
From what I can see, their purpose was access to power, not its conversion to the ways of Jesus. Even Vladimir Putin deploys the deep, symbolic well of Russian Orthodoxy to strengthen his dictatorial machinations.
The political order that presides over the United States would fall overnight if white evangelicals withdrew their support. But they will not.
The Center for Reconciliation here in Providence, a ministry of the Diocese of Rhode Island is working on responses to the killing of George Floyd and the resulting civil turmoil. There’s much hard work to be done. But it really has to start with a whole lot of us repenting of bad theology and its consequences.