Paul L. Caron

Sunday, November 6, 2022

NY Times Op-Ed: Black, Christian And Transcending The Political Binary

New York Times Op-Ed:  Black, Christian and Transcending the Political Binary, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Compassion (2020)Justin Giboney is a lawyer and political strategist in Atlanta who grew up in the Black church. He says his theological foundation came from his grandfather, who was a bishop in a Black Pentecostal denomination. Giboney is also the president and a co-founder of the AND Campaign, a Christian civic organization meant to represent people of faith who do not fit neatly into either political party [and co-author of Compassion (&) Conviction: The AND Campaign's Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement (2020); see also The Faithful Voters Who Helped Put Biden Over The Top].

I’ve written before about how I’m intrigued by people and movements that defy our prescribed ideological categories. The AND Campaign, which is based in Atlanta and has 15 chapters across the United States, is one of those. Led almost entirely by young professionals, artists, pastors and community leaders of color, the group advocates voting rights and police reform, leads what it calls a “whole life project” dedicated to reducing abortion and supporting mothers, endorses a “livable wage” and champions other issues that break left and right, in turn.

As we approach the midterms, Giboney graciously agreed to speak with me about the state of our politics from the perspective of a person of faith who is also a person of color — what it’s like to embrace traditional Christian theology while also opposing the political stances of many white evangelicals, and what it’s like to be committed to social justice in ways that differ from those of many secular progressives. ...

Do you feel like Black people of faith are politically homeless today?

I absolutely do. I mean, you look at somebody like Fannie Lou Hamer or William Augustus Jones. These are activists who fought hard, but because of their beliefs on some social issues, they wouldn’t be accepted into leadership or given exposure within the Democratic Party today. Fannie Lou Hamer was pro-life and William Augustus Jones promoted a Christian sexual ethic and family values in general. These are civil rights legends who in today’s iteration of the party would not be accepted based on their more moderate or traditional values on social issues. ...

What is your hope for politics?

My biggest hope is that people of faith who want to engage in politics faithfully would find the AND Campaign to be a place where they can find resources to do that and have on-ramps to getting engaged in that way. And that we would — even though we’re coming from this Black church context — be able to bring the church together, to work together and put partisanship aside.

And lastly, that we would be able to promote a sort of civic pluralism. To say: “Hey, it’s not just about Christians winning. It’s about human flourishing in general.” How can we work with others while maintaining our convictions? How can we work with others to do democracy better?

Christianity Today Podcast, ‘Can Politics Be Saved?’ with Justin Giboney:



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Other New York Times op-eds by Tish Harrison Warren:

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