Why do I keep returning to HuffPost like a dog returning to its vomit? It’s probably because I consider the site, as the epitome of Control-Leftist journalism (and a widely read media platform) to be a harbinger of social changes to come in the Left. Already “mainstream” venues like the New York Times and the New Yorker, as well as a vast number of American colleges and universities, are showing the C-L streak, which I detect not by their social progressivism, but by a certain hectoring tone of their discourse and by the demonization of our political opponents as somehow morally impure.
Mixed in with those elements is the overweening method that C-Ls use in their attempts to effect social change: guilt. Like the Original Sin of Christians, all of us—and I mean everyone—is supposed to feel guilty because they harbor some degree of “privilege”: that we have benefited from the oppression of others and thus must atone for it, or at least admit it. (Lots of people have equated privilege with Original Sin.)
And, one by one, groups previously seen as oppressed are now seen as privileged: the most obvious example is the pronouncement by Britain’s National Union of Students that gay white males didn’t deserve representation in the LGBT societies because they don’t face oppression. Ultimately, the end of this slide is when everybody is deemed privileged, and told to atone for it, save for members of the most oppressed class. At the same time, everybody save cis white males will eventually be convinced they are oppressed and act like it, including Asian-Americans, one of the most privileged groups in the U.S.
In the HuffPo article below (click on screenshot), the privilege belongs not to white people, or gay males, but—wait for it—to Christians. Yes, the very same Christians who themselves complain about being oppressed. The insanity of this article, in which its author, a black woman, tells Christians that they’re all privileged and must atone for it, must be read to be believed:
An excerpt (my emphasis):
Some of us buy a pair of TOMS shoes to give a pair away to a child in Africa but never want to own the Christian industrial complex that economically disenfranchises children abroad and at home. Essentially, Christians want to have their cake and eat it too. We seek to hold what is pleasant or noble about our history while rejecting the notion of our participation in oppression systems, structures and organizations by nature of our belief in itself.
The problem is that if you identify as Christian (a highly politicized social identity as much as it is a religious one in the U.S.) you must, in having the social privileges of being Christian, also carry the social weight of taking on defensive postures to seem like one of the “good ones.”
This all gets shrouded under the notion that it simply isn’t fair to lump all people into one label or category. This is is sometimes true; however, with an identity as systemically privileged as being Christian is in the U.S. and with the gravity of historical nonsense perpetuated in the name of Jesus, it is not enough to simply ascribe responsibility to individuals in the same way it wouldn’t be helpful to focus on individual white people in dismantling systemic racism.
Notice first that many Christians are black, and hence already members of an oppressed group. Further, at least half, and probably more, are women, also oppressed. To what degree does their Christian “privilege” mitigate their oppression? How guilty should they feel for being Christian?
Second, how, exactly, are Christians oppressed? What is the “Christian industrial complex” of which they are members? What kind of guilt are you supposed to feel when giving away a pair of TOMS shoes to African children but are told that you’re a member of the “Christian industrial complex” of which TOMS is supposedly a part? Is TOMS even a “Christian” company? If so, I can’t see how. And the only criticism of TOMS I’ve found in a short trawl of the Internet is that the company might drive small shoe-sellers out of business or monetize white guilt by making people feel better without doing much. Well, something is better than nothing, and the plight of a few small shoe merchants seems lesser than that of many impoverished Africans. Yet TOMS is doing something—and I suspect far more than author Brandi Miller, who hectors fellow Christians for their privilege (she’s identified as “a campus minister and justice program director from the Pacific Northwest”).
Christians must learn a posture of listening, and instead of trying to crawl out of critiques, to ask better questions that help them to own identity and, as a result, hopefully gain renewal. There is no need to be defensive and decenter a conversation on perceived individual Christian exceptionalism when it simply serves to make the conversation about that Christian’s feelings rather than a critique being made on behalf of the marginalized.