The NAACP and Rev. Dr. William Barber called out evangelical Christians who back President Donald Trump’s family separation policy, and called the policy racist.
“We see this happening,” Barber said, “and this attack on children we know it’s brown children, it wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t brown children at the southern border is white supremacy, white nationalism, being implemented in our public policy right in front of our faces.”
Barber is co-chair of the new National Poor People’s Campaign, and president of Repairers of The Breach, an activism group, which declares “that the moral public concerns of our faith traditions are how our society treats the poor, women, LGBTQ people, children, workers, immigrants, communities of color, and the sick.”
Barber called family separation, “a sin of the highest order.”
“I’m a Christian evangelical, I grew up in the Christian faith, and one of the most clear public policies that you’re supposed to engage in as a just society is fairness toward the strangers, immigrants.”
He called the religious right, the “religious wrong” and said they were guilty of theological malpractice because they are not on the side of “the poor, the stranger, the sick, the least of thee.”
The fear of changing demographics in America, voter suppression, healthcare cuts that have disparate impacts, division and hate have seeped into public policy.
Barber called it “policy racism.” And he says it’s being used to fool white Americans into thinking Trump is helping them, when the majority of people losing their healthcare, and the majority of poor people, are white.
Barber is not alone in his assessment.
“Sociologically, the principal difference between white and Black evangelicals is that we believe that oppression exists,” said Lisa Sharon Harper, a Black woman and president of Freedom Road, an evangelical activist group designed to train religious leaders in social justice.
In 2015, Michelle Higgins, a Black evangelical leader from Ferguson, spoke out in front of thousands of young Christians at a conference against white evangelicals for their concerns about abortion, but showing little concern for the young Black men being killed by police officers.
Trump’s election in 2016, where white evangelicals overwhelming voted in his support, showed Black evangelicals that diversity was not a part of the moral framework of the white church.
Michael Emerson, the author of “Divided by Faith,” a Christian study on race relations within the evangelical church said, “The election itself was the single most harmful event to the whole movement of reconciliation in at least the past 30 years.”
The study points out much about how white evangelicals have not spoken out again the system issues that have impacted people of color, historically and present day.
“If you’re poor and you can’t pay your light bill, we’re all Black in the dark,” Barber said.
Barber offered a solution that utilized racial reconciliation and policy change, using Virginia Governor Northam as an example.
“We cannot allow political enemies of Virginia’s governor to call for his resignation over a photo when they continue themselves to vote for the policies of white supremacy,” he wrote in The Washington Post.
He said, to repent, Northam should give a talk about how racism is contributing to policy disparities, and then begin to institute new policies to counter the racist policies.