White imperial Christianity

Fast forward to the age of the United States of America. While the nation was not technically founded as a Christian country, nearly all of the founders came from the British Empire, where Christianity was privileged and any other version of religion was eschewed. Christianity has enjoyed privilege from the very beginning of the nation’s history – when the colonists arrived on the eastern shores and immediately began a genocide on the indigenous peoples of these lands, using Christian language and theology as their justification. In fact, early European colonizers received the official blessing of the pope to conquer and lay claim to “new lands” that did not belong to Christianity, which became part of a larger legal code known as the Doctrine of Discovery that has been used up to the modern era as legal justification for the colonization of the North American continent.

Can anyone truly look at the life and teachings of Jesus and also look at brazen imperial conquests done in his name to establish the modern American empire and not be profoundly disturbed? At the same time, can anyone be truly surprised that after more than 1,500 years of imperial Christianity as our inheritance, American Christianity has completely normalized and embraced holding the dominant and privileged position of power in this nation, whose stated values are to be a land where there are “no law(s) respecting an establishment of religion”? And is it any wonder that in our era, we see a rise in violent white Christian nationalism at the very moment when white imperial Christianity is quickly losing adherents, influence, and authority over the political and societal institutions? White imperial Christianity is desperately grasping to maintain the power it has held for nearly two thousand years, with little hope of maintaining the undue privilege that it has had. 

From “Filled to Be Emptied: The Path to Liberation for Privileged People” by Brandan Robertson – Westminster John Knox Press