Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Problematic Sin of Straight Christian Privilege (Matthew 7:15-16)

The Reclaiming Jesus Proclamation is just one more frustrating incidence of the oppressing and soul-crushing sin of heteroarchy.

"Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep, but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruit. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?" 
Matthew 7:15-16

Recently some well-intentioned christian leaders gathered for an Ash Wednesday retreat to discuss and reflect upon the current state fo affairs in the US society. This gathering produced the Reclaiming Jesus Proclamation ( A confessional document which mirrors the Barmen Declaration by leading church figures, theologians, and leaders to oppose the evils of Nazi Germany. Already you can tell the rarity and importance of such a document for they only appear when the "soul of the nation" is at risk.

As it was for the Barmen Declaration, so it is for the Reclaiming Jesus Proclamation - leading church figures, theologians, and heads of denominations and national councils prayed and discerned and brought the profound wisdom of the christian faith to bear upon the current attitudes and conceptual systems at work in the American cultural landscape. For what it's worth I find it a useful document with depth, critical theological reflection, and prophetic insight. I applaud the Proclamation's sensitivities to the six areas of sinfulness which it raises up: racism, sexism, xenophobia, deceitfulness,  autocracy, and nationalism. The Proclamation speaks boldly to the abuse in all these areas and the sinful oppression which flows from them. It is a document which, no doubt should shape the course of American christian discussions.

However, for all the wrong it strives to correct, the document fails to raise to the distinction of a defining declaration. This failure lies in its silence toward issues facing sexual and gender diverse people. We must insist that:
  • the continued harassment of transgender people who suffer violence and death, 
  • the continued struggle of queer youth to find safe places to just be themselves, 
  • the continued invasion of lesbian lives for the voyeuristic needs of straight men 
are the results of the continuing silence of large swaths of "christian" America toward gender and sexually diverse people. The Reclaiming Jesus Proclamation is just one more frustrating incidence of the oppressing and soul-crushing sin of heteroarchy. This document could transcend. But unfortunately it is mired in straight christian privilege and muddies us all.

I have reached out to the group in hopes that this oversight will be corrected. But until it is, I will heed the words of Jesus and understand that wolves are in our midst.

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