Nearly 40 years ago now, I wrote, and BJU published, a brief monograph refuting the alleged biblical evidence that white people—specifically Anglo-Saxons—are God’s chosen people. After a brief shelf life, it went out of print, for the sole reason that hardly anybody bought it. (That’s kind of how publishing works. 😊)
I wrote on the topic because I had a relative who espoused the view. But eventually I lost interest and moved on to other things. The recent talk about “white nationalism,” however, has gotten me thinking about the topic, and it has occurred to me that it’s worthwhile to address it again, both because of recent emphases in the news and because we can all see that racism lives on in the human heart.
I’m a fan of listening to people who know what they’re talking about—and its corollary, ignoring, or at least devaluing, the opinions of people who are just shooting their mouths off—of which the percentage seems to be growing every day. As one of my daughters commented just recently, “People who say stuff often don’t know stuff.”
Which means that I should stick to areas where I have expertise. So let’s start by defining some issues, so I can safely set aside those where I’m ignorant and should consequently keep my thoughts to myself.
The dominant term today, the one I’ve used to title this series, is “white nationalism.” That’s technically the view that whites should preserve majorities and control in one or more nations. Hence resistance to immigration (legal or illegal) by nonwhites. Usually aligned with that is the idea that white culture is superior to other cultures, and therefore white culture should be preferred as better for the future of the planet. That view we call “white supremacism,” which of course is just one form of racism. It’s a modern descendant of the American practice of slavery before the Civil War and segregation in the years that followed.
A quick side note: My experience leads me to believe that the primary reason for disdain of other cultures is unfamiliarity: you think a practice of some other culture is “stupid” because you don’t understand what’s going on behind the practice. I note that cross-cultural ignorance tends to be a particular feature of Americans because we have oceans—big ones—on both sides. Lots of Americans have never left their country, and I think this is the primary reason for the overseas stereotype of “the ugly American,” who thinks people are stupid because they don’t speak English—and who thinks that they’ll understand if he just speaks more slowly and loudly. All the “ugly American” does is proclaim his own ignorance to everyone around him. Travel more, people. And listen.
Back to my main point. Though a great many racists, including white supremacists, are secular in their thinking, some integrate religious arguments or themes into their position. It’s at this point that my ears perk up, because while I have no professional expertise in anthropology or sociology or psychology or politics, I do know something about religion, particularly Christianity, and I have some facility in tools for research and thinking in that area.
So I’d like to spend a few posts addressing some of the religious arguments for white racism, specifically the ones allegedly based in biblical exegesis. While these posts won’t apply to all “white nationalists,” I’d like to think that they might direct well-intentioned Christians away from distortions of the biblical material, mainly by demonstrating the perversion inherent in the alleged biblical interpretation.
The bulk of these posts will address the arguments of “British Israelism” or “Anglo-Israelism,” which teaches that the Anglo-Saxons are the “lost ten tribes of Israel.” A more recent popular form of British Israelism is the Christian Identity movement, which holds additionally that other white Europeans are descended from the biblical Southern Kingdom of Judah. While the former group would recognize modern Jews as descended from Judah and therefore included in God’s covenant with Abraham, the latter group holds that all modern Jews are impostors and so is aggressively antisemitic. I hope to say some things about that view as well.
See you next time.