Joshua DuBois, President Barack Obama’s former head of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, tore into Christians for seemingly remaining silent on the post-election “wave of hatred” that he fears is “a seismic crash of historic proportions.”
In his column for The Daily Beast, DuBois writes that after the violence in Charlottesville, everyone now knows what Donald Trump meant when he said we have to “take our country back.”
“It means back to a place where whites have continued superiority in every part of American life,” DuBois stated. “Back to a place where Blacks, Jews, Latinos, Asians, and immigrants, Muslims, women, gays and more live in relative subjugation.”
And while many are speaking out against these small pockets of white supremacy flare-ups, DuBois said Christians and churches are remaining worryingly quiet:
Deafening silence from the pulpits in Orange County. Telling quiet from the mega-churches in Atlanta. Nashville, muted. The folks at Liberty University—the president and his activist friends—on the careful moral sidelines of this fight. Wheaton and Manhattan and Chicago and more, tentative and couched. Perhaps they'll echo Trump's ambiguous condemnation. Perhaps we'll hear nothing at all.
These evangelical pastors and Christian activists, authors, and leaders are fearful. They are fearful of sanction from congregations where people in the pews may have voted for a morally problematic candidate because they did not like the alternatives. They're fearful of losing their platforms, book sales, positions if they stray too far. They are fearful of having their club membership revoked. But as they stand in fear they are also slowing ceding moral authority. They stand while the nation—even the world—simmers and threatens to burn.
DuBois fears that because Christian churches took far too long to condemn slavery and Jim Crow, that history is going to repeat itself. And so, he has a few suggestions on how to handle church business in the coming months:
“[I]t means sermon series on the dangers of white supremacy, the reality of privilege, and the importance of empathy for those who do not look like you. It means using podcasts and books and voices to lift up morality and condemn immorality, whether that immortality is found in the streets of Charlottesville or the Oval Office of the White House. It even means admitting with humility that they don't know what to do, but know they should do something, and then showing an openness to take action.
“The world is watching American Christians,” DuBois closed. “Many who need the Good News of the Gospel are disgusted and pushed away by the bad news of a quiet church.”
Even more dramatically, DuBois concluded that the “floodgates of hatred” were “kicked wide open” with Trump’s election and he urges Christians to example Jesus and step out onto the water in faith instead of “tremble in fear, as the country drowns in the flood.”
Perhaps DuBois just didn’t have enough patience, another biblical virtue, because Christian leaders, pastors, and authors have condemned the racial violence and bigotry:
The real question is: Are those full-throated rebukes good enough for DuBois? Perhaps he will speak to Obama about it. After all, he still sends him daily devonationals via e-mail; something the former president said "mean the world" to him.