Adam Joyce is the assistant director of the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management and has written for a range of publications, including Christian CenturyABC Religion & Ethics, as well as other publications. His forthcoming book, No More Pharaohs: Christianity, Racial Capitalism, and Socialism will be published with Cascade Books.

Posts By This Author

The Church Isn’t Anti-Fascist ... Yet

by Adam Joyce 04-03-2024

Flowers and cranes folded from paper lie around five Stolpersteine that were laid there in memory of the Rosenheck family. Stolpersteine are ten by ten centimeter concrete blocks with an embedded brass plate in which the names and biographical data of the victims, the date of deportation and the place of deportation are engraved and are embedded in the ground in front of the former homes of the victims of National Socialism. The Rosenheck family had fled from there in 1933 from the Nazis to France and then via Belgium, Luxembourg and France to Palestine. A total of 19 Stolpersteine are to be laid in Magdeburg during the course of the day. Credit: Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/dpa via Reuters Connect.

In 1935, across the river from where my family lived, the Nazi-run parliament unanimously passed the Reich Citizenship Law. A deepening of the already emerging racial regime, this law categorized who was a German citizen, initially stripping those of Jewish descent of their citizenship. Proof of Aryan descent became essential to maintain or gain citizenship, and this was done primarily through both ancestral birth certificates and ecclesial baptismal records. This use of sacramental records meant that, according to historian Kyle Jantzen, “Churches became the most important site for the implementation of Nazi racial segregation.”

With their citizenship stripped from them and sensing the deadly direction Germany was headed, my great-grandmother acquired forged baptismal certificates and the family fled. Initially escaping to Palestine, they eventually made their way to the U.S. I was raised Christian. But I still struggle with this, now being a part of the faith that inflicted displacement upon my family. I lack a coherent emotional grasp of this story, but I can feel the rough shape of the loss. That loss is unexpectedly present, something I stumble over. But in this stumbling is a small, personal grace that has transformed my faith, bringing me to worship a God who is not simply for the oppressed but engages in the work of liberation.

You Can't Relationship Your Way Out of Racial Capitalism

by Adam Joyce 10-25-2021

Capitalism and racism are united in their reliance on hierarchies of social difference; these hierarchies act as sites of exploitation where conflicts surrounding race, gender, or even borders all reinforce our current political economy. Also, the very acts of living and working, which are structured by capital, place you in conflict with yourself and others. Everyone is impacted by the relational flow and material forms of racial capitalism. And while it is true that everyone is impacted, it cannot be understated that those who are disproportionately impacted by this system are Black and brown people.

We Can't Surrender Our Sacred Worth at Work

by Adam Joyce 05-17-2019
A Q&A with Labor Organizer Rev. C.J. Hawking

C.J. Hawking Speaks To YMCA Workers On Unfair Labor Practice Strike. Image via Youtube

Rev. C.J. Hawking, Executive Director of Arise Chicago, has worked at the intersection of faith and organized labor for over 30 years. Arise Chicago helps organize religious communities in support of union campaigns and advocates for workers’ rights and dignity in the workplace. For Rev. Hawking, the co-author of Staley: The Fight for the New American Labor Movement, this activism is an essential part of her faith and the church’s call to be faithful to the gospel. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Rev. Hawking about Arise Chicago’s work, and how churches can support the labor movement in their fight for workplace democracy and a more equitable economic order.

Civility Policing Obscures Our Political Reality

by Adam Joyce 01-11-2019

Detroit, Mich. - June 26, 2018: Congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib speaks in protest against the supreme court's ruling on the Muslim ban. Shutterstock / Stephanie Kenner

Today, civility policing is just one more layer of rhetorical fog which obscures the truth of our political reality ─ how poverty and cruelty are manufactured and sustained by the policy regime of America’s ruling class. In reality, the Trump tax cut is uncivil, the American support of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen is uncivil, the prison-industrial complex is uncivil, ripping families apart at the border is uncivil.