Dear Christian Americans: Christchurch was our fault. Here are 7 reasons why

I recently overheard a conversation at my church that made me uneasy. Two women were scoffing at the work of activists leaving water in the desert for immigrants, and the phrase, “Pshhh can you believe it?” was uttered. Surprised, I chose not to speak up. But that decision to do so has stuck with me in the weeks since.

I’ve now  realized that this belief that immigrants who are crossing deserve to die of thirst is the same belief that Muslims deserve to be shot while  they are praying. Although the latter is an extreme, they are rooted in the same privilege-fueled anti-immigration infection in our church.

And when I didn’t speak up for the lives in the desert, I didn’t speak up for the lives in the Christchurch Mosque.

Humane Borders. Man providing water to immigrants in the Arizona dessert.
Despite the persecution from the right, Humane Borders distributes water stations like this along commonly used routes by Coyotes.

The Unholy Union

It’s time to face the ugliness. MAGA hat wearing racists have one leg in the White Nationalism that killed 50 people in Christchurch, and the other leg in our Evangelical Sunday Church services. And us moderate, bible-believing Christians have clapped our hands in worship and kept our mouths shut as the church has gotten in bed with racists.

US President Donald Trump with close friend Evangelical Jerry Fallwell Jnr and his wife Becki Tilley.

The shooter lauded Trump, as our church does. 80% of Evangelicals still support this man. He had the names of Christian Crusaders painted on his weapons. He was possessed by the mission to save “Western civilization” from a foreign “invasion.” We have all undoubtedly tolerated similar rhetoric in our churches. We are complicit in the deaths at Christchurch.

7 specific ways Evangelicals have allowed White Nationalism to grow within its ranks.

1. The Muslim Ban

The so called Muslim Travel Ban and the Christchurch shooting were both borne from the exact same fear: of the Muslim invasion and that all arabs are terrorists. It was liberals who banded together, protested, and fought in the courts.

Where was the church in resistance to this? Where were we? The vast majority of Christians did nothing and thus we allowed both the ban and Christchurch to happen.

2. Children in Cages

Since this administration has taken power, children of desperate asylum seekers at our borders have been separated from their parents and many of them have been lost, drugged, and/or sexually assaulted.

This dehumanization of immigrants is something the church supports, nearly unequivocally, and we as Christians have not done enough about this.*

If you find it acceptable to cage up Honduran children then you also find it acceptable for Muslim children to be shot.

3. The Wall

The Christian perspective on the wall has ranged from passive support to outright direct financing. It is a physical barrier to remove immigrants.

The shooters bullets were a physical barrier to remove immigrants. 2 in 3 evangelicals support the wall. We are all responsible for Christchurch.

4. Charlotesville

A White Nationalist terrorist, borne of the same ilk as the Christchurch shooter, drove his car at full speed into a crowd of unarmed, peaceful protesters, killing one person.

Our President’s response was that there were “very bad people on both sides”, suggesting that it’s morally acceptable for white people to express themselves violently.

When the church stands by and does nothing, we are all complicit in Christchurch.

5. Every. Single. Shooting.

Where is the church’s unified stance against guns when our children are butchered in their classrooms? The fact that we as Christians have stood silent is complicit permission for these white men to continue use AR-15s in their temper tantrums. We are all complicit in Christchurch.

The statistical correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths. Source: Mother Jones.

6. Tax Cuts for the rich

To the great applause of Christians across America, Trump gave a massive tax break to the richest and most privileged people in the US, massively burdening our budget with a debt that the middle class and poor will undoubtedly shoulder. White Nationalism is a permutation of the even more wretched character behind it all: WHITE PRIVILEGE.

For those of us who know scripture, we know that this tax cut was an abomination against the Word of God (1 Tim 6:10, Mark 10:25), yet we stood silent.

When we allowed this we joined, in our silence, with the chorus of Christians who celebrate white privilege as an unchecked panacea to our problems. That same privilege pulled the trigger in Christchurch.

7. Do you still believe that Muslims are dangerous?

No matter how we look at it, white terrorism is now a global threat. The statistical fact is: White terrorism is on the rise while Islamic terrorism against Westerners has been in decline.

The easiest and quickest action point you can take is to reverse your preconceptions that Arabs are the greatest threat in the US.

In fact, it is white males, armed with privilege and loose gun laws who are the most likely to harm Americans.

My greatest accusation

I believe that the leaders of our church won’t outright condemn Trump and White Nationalism because of the simple fact that those who support Trump and White Nationalism are sitting in the pews next to us, throwing their money in to prop up the budgets of our dying churches.

Ironically, I think the lack of a unified statement against White Nationalism is an act of self-preservation for the church, and this sickens me.

We as, Christians, have the unique ability to do something about this.

A call to action: Humane Borders

Give to Humane Borders.

A bottle of water dropped off in the middle of the Arizona desert may seem a far cry from the slaughtered in Christchurch, but they are one in the same.

Do you believe that the fallen in Christchurch had the right to live, work, and worship in a free Western country like New Zealand? Then you must feel the same way about asylum seekers toiling in the desert.

The main point

White Nationalism is on the rise in the US, and when it’s on the rise here it’s on the rise everywhere. We are the most influential country on Earth and we export both the best and the worst of our ideals.

I am literally waving my hands in the air as I write this: we as Christians have the unique ability to do something about this.

If we speak up, demand from our pastors, friends, and family to not only reject White Nationalism, but to reject those who don’t.

If we do nothing, we are complicit in Christchurch.

Author: Kaiping Liu

Professional educator, musician, world traveler.

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