In the last blog I shared some feelings about the theological and social issues with the construct of white Jesus. In it I included a screenshot of Vicki Yohe’s Instagram where she posted a meme of a very white Jesus with luggage making his move “back” to the White House.
I can’t even begin to say all that is wrong with that sentence. As a product of Word of Faith/Demi-Pentecostalism, there’s a theological, therefore social positioning that lays claim to counterculturalism as a marker of true faith and sanctification. The intent is good, but the message is ultimately bad: if you don’t believe these things, you don’t really have faith and believe in God. The crossover appeal of white Evangelicalism, in my opinion, is based on the ease with which cultural appropriation takes place in worship spaces.
Vicki Yohe, Martha Munizzi, and Paula White are voices which, influenced and supported by Black dollars and talent, have found themselves as equals amongst Black gospel artists and preachers for Black folks. This has as much to do with style as it does anointing. If we like you, you’re good. If you can preach to us like we’ve always been preached to, you’re good. If you can kinda sing like us, with just enough diminished chords, riffs, and a Black guy backing you in the Hammond, you’re good. Black worship expressions have been appropriated and then sold back to us. How crazy is that?
All of this plays a critical role in why Vicki Yohe’s post was both sad and damaging. Black folks (excepting that 13% of Black men who voted for Trump, but that’s another post) overwhelming do not like Donald Trump. The Black hermeneutic of suspicion does not allow for us to like him. He lies. He cheats. He crude. He’s unfaithful. He’s a sexual predator. He’s immature–adolescent, if you will. He’s unprepared and unqualified. He’s ableist. He’s sexist. He’s racist.
Let us not be deceived, plenty of Black folks are all of those things to, but for those qualities to be packaged as a change-agent for the United States is insulting to the intelligence of all people, but especially oppressed people.
Many of us have read Trump. We don’t trust him. He’s proven to be untrustworthy. So, when you take it upon yourself to insult our intelligence and faith by insinuating that the outgoing President was faithless and that Donald Trump upholds some iota of a Christian value, you done lost your damned mind. Vicki, you missed it. BAD.
Some claim that support for Trump doesn’t make you a racist or anything else. I simply do not believe that. Anytime one is willing to sign your name to a platform of bigotry, you, by virtue of association, are responsible. Worse, however, is being silent in the face of bigotry. Silence is violence–and it kills.
Vicki Yohe is a prime example of how one, confronted with the sin of association, is still incapable of seeing the wrongs done.
I don’t buy it. “…a government that will protect Christianity.” Ma’am. Your faith is not under atrack. Progress happens with you or without you. If anything, your Jesus is being challenged, cause he’s surely not the man in that meme; but no one is attacking your faith. This is my exact problem. When privileges of varying sorts support each other, but both are beginning to crumble, the cry is always “persecution,” when really it’s change. White power and white Jesus are slowly crumbling. When that begins, the influence of whiteness changes and the challenges to its authority grow in number and scale.
Black folks were not about to let Vicki get away with this. It seems that the saddest thing she’s confronting is the cancellation of ministry dates. The money. When Black dollars dry up, things get scary. The reality is that in her haste to post the next most pithy Obama jab, she managed to alienate her fanbase and to bring about her own demise. No one is really trying to destroy you, Vicki; you’ve done that work on your own.
The opposition to you and to your President is not because you’re standing for the right things. Righteous anger rises in the face of injustice. There are people genuinely disappointed in you. And while it isn’t pleasing to us, it certainly displeases God.
Power prevents repentance.