This is an example of what Willie Jennings called as white epistemic imperialism, whereby the perspective of the whites becomes the gold standard from which we must perceive and make sense of the world (or, in general, epistemic imperialism is an insistence to see things through our own eyes and unwillingness to learn from other perspectives). Writing on the church of the black Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, the authors wrote as follow:

“The black church has long been a paradox. It is one of the most politically liberal but theologically conservative institutions in the black community. Cain’s house of worship embodies some of these contradictions.”

The problem is it is only a “paradox” in America. It is never a paradox for the black church, or for that matter for the church in the rest of the world. Political liberalism and theological conservatism are only contradictions in America, where political conservatism weds with theological conservatism, particularly since the rise of the Christian Right from the second half of the last century. So, it is big time for right-wing evangelicals to learn from their peers in the rest of the world, that to equate political conservatism with theological conservatism is not the norm which governs how conservative Christians should construct their political ideas, but precisely an exception that is rarely shared elsewhere. Who is the paradox now?

(For disclaimer, I think I have become like Wright. I like to slam America just for the sake of slamming it.)


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